My German partner at the time first introduced me to the naked German sauna, when I was visiting him from Canada. You can read all about that terrifying experience here. I swore it would be my last visit to a German sauna. And it was. For a couple of years at least. When we were invited on a skiing trip that would inevitably involve seeing 15 of his male friends and their wives naked, I bailed. I mean, hello, how awkward would that be? Not so much for my husband as it turns out. Do you want your guy friends to see me naked? I asked my husband in disbelief.
What to wear
We have just returned from a great weekend in Amsterdam, before our trip I came across the website for Sauna Deco and as it was only ten minutes from our Hotel I decided it would be a nice place to visit. When I mentioned it to my wife I thought that she would be against the idea, especially as she would have to sauna in the nude - apparently these are the only rules! I was very surprised however that after a little persuasion she agreed to go. We attended Sauna Deco on a Friday evening, on entering we were given keys to our lockers which was in a mixed changing room. There were three or four men in various states of underess - some completely nude. My wife seemed nervous at having to undress in front of these men but I assured her that everything would be fine and nobody was really watching so there she was undressing - jumper, jeans and then knickers and bra off. With towels wrapped around we ventured in to the main building which was fabulous and as mentioned in other reviews it is a fantastic Art Deco building hence the name Sauna Deco. We decided to try the sauna first of all and as we entered we found three males completely in the nude, we sat down and my wife looking a bit nervous dropped her towel - she later told me that she felt quite uncomfortable as one guy in particular stared at her nether regions for the whole time we were in there. Anyway moving on then to the steam room, this actually is a very small room which looks bigger on the website than it actually is. It is customary to enter the steam roon completely naked and leave all towels outside.
What if you’re new to this?
And so, even with centuries of history behind them, these rooms can inspire sweatier palms than foreheads. Luckily, editors Scott and Rebecca are here to help. According to Scott, many guys try and prove their toughness by staying in as long as possible or trying to outlast their friends in the sauna. First off—this goes against the chief principle of sauna-ing: relaxing and letting go. And nobody looks tough when they're dehydrated or passed out. Light stretching overhead is fine, but floor-quaking calisthenics distract other people in the sauna, and slippery floors can make it a dangerous game. Saunas are part of a tradition that could stretch back to the Native American sweatlodge, the Finnish lake-side sauna, and the Russian banya.
Or that spas in Austria are pretty much all whip-all-your-clothes-off naturist spas. The spa had mixed sex nudist saunas and as people went between them and the different steam rooms there was a lot of naked flesh around. I only saw two people wearing costumes and they actually stood out as a bit of an oddity. For my part, I take quite a liberal view of social norms and conventions, so I was content to remove my clothes and go with the flow. However, as I sat among my fellow naked sauna users, I started to think about social norms in different countries and wondered if people visiting from different corners of the world would be comfortable going au naturel. So what was it about Austrians, which differed from many of their fellow Europeans? Over the next few days, I stayed in a number of hotels and as I love to let off steam in the sauna, I also went to a lot of the saunas and spoke with fellow bathers. How come Austrians were so relaxed about nudity at the spa? Were other nationalities equally unperturbed? According to a succession of Austrians I spoke to using the spa in this way was simply a way of life and completely natural.