This is a tale of two gay saunas who cater to two wildly different factions of the queer community in Ireland. One attracts the 25 and under crowd. While the other is on its last legs only attracting older gay men. Sometimes with only five customers at a time.
The two in question are the Boilerhouse and The Dock Sauna. Says one bathhouse regular
Kevin, who is 32, has been going to the Boilerhouse several times a year since 2012. He came out in 2010, and he says the sauna gave him a unique opportunity to have anonymous and frequent sex with multiple partners. His experience has been overwhelmingly positive, he says.
“It’s an alternative to getting sex from apps or websites, or the old-fashioned way of going to a gay bar. I would go there mainly for sex but also because you somehow get an enjoyment out of it. I went there on New Year’s Eve and had a fantastic time. Normally I go to the Outhouse, which is a local LGBT community centre, on a Friday, and if I want sex badly I will go to the George for a bit of alcohol, or any gay bar. After that I end the night on a high.”
Saunas have a reputation for being used mostly by older men, but Kevin says this has changed. “When I first went there I thought I was the youngest. Some people did warn me in advance that it was a bunch of old men, but I said to myself, ‘I’m just going to go and see what the story is.’ Back in those days it was a bit of an older gentleman’s place. But these days it’s more my age. I went there on my birthday last year, and the lads were about 18 or 19. The age range is from about 18 upwards. The eldest, from what I recall, would be in their late 70s.”
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