I grew up in a small Southern town so conservative, even a two-piece bathing suit at the pool was a rare treat. I was an awkward and shy teen. To boost my self-esteem I took up weight lifting. By my senior year, I was kind of buff, and I'm pretty sure it was those muscles that suddenly had girls talking to me that had previously ignored me.
As I grew older, I spent less time in the gym and more time at a desk. By the time I turned forty, I was once again invisible to women. Since I was married, it wasn't a big concern. But, I have to admit that sometimes I missed the smiles.
A year ago, I was transferred to Europe, and for three months I lived out of a hotel. The first night there, someone suggested that a sauna would help me get over the long flight. I was a little apprehensive because I had never been to one, and I didn't know sauna etiquette. Fortunately, the hotel sauna was empty, and I was able to enjoy my first steam bath without scrutiny. It was such a refreshing experience, I started spending most of my spare time using the pool and gym and finishing my workouts in the sauna.
For the first week, I might see one or two men in the sauna, but no women. The locals were always nude. The tourists, like me, usually wore a towel or swimsuit. After a while, I adopted the locals' dress code, figuring it was no big deal since we were all guys. That changed the second week. While I was sitting comfortably in the buff, I heard the door to the outer room open and close. Looking out the glass door, I saw woman walk by in a robe. She started putting her stuff on a lounge chair, and I knew she was about to come into the sauna. I thought she was going to be surprised when she opens up the door and sees a naked man sitting in front of her. I started thinking I might should throw a towel over my lap as a courtesy, but as it turns out, I worried for nothing.
When the woman returned to the door, I could see that she was in her mid-twenties. She had blond hair and a pretty face. She also had a very trim figure, which was easy to see since she was completely nude. She carried only a hand towel at her side. As she opened the door, I could feel my pulse quicken. This was the first nude woman I had seen since I got married, fifteen years earlier, and she was beautiful. I was hoping my astonishment wasn't as obvious as it felt.
When she came inside, she gave my a polite greeting and sat down. It was very much like two strangers sharing a bench while they wait for a bus, except they're both naked. After a few more minutes, I left, more addicted to the gym and sauna than ever before.
Over the next few months I stepped up my workouts. There was little else to do, and I really enjoyed getting back into shape. The sauna was still mostly male, but women showed up occasionally to make it more interesting. One day I opened the door to find three young flight attendants using it. Two were sitting topless with towels draped over their laps. The third was stretched out on the front row, completely nude.
All of them were pretty, but the one lying down was a knockout. She could have gone toe-to-toe with any swimsuit model in Sports Illustrated. The only place left to sit was the corner bench on the front row, just inches from the prone girl. As I sat down, she continued to lie outstretched with her hands under her head. The position was meant for comfort, but the pose it produced was very much like that of a centerfold from Playboy. I managed not to gawk, but in that tiny room, everywhere I looked, I was greeted by some form of feminine beauty. After a few minutes, they said their farewells and left.
Of the dozens of women who I saw nude in the sauna, all of them seemed to be at least very attractive, if not stunning in some cases. I wasn't sure if that was because only the prettiest women had the confidence to bare all in a public area or if they were so attractive as a result of using the gym and sauna routinely. Or perhaps I simply had gotten so old that anything as young as these women would look good to my tired eyes. In any case, I was enamored by the way they showed no reservations about me (or anyone else) seeing them. It was almost like everyone there extended a mutual respect for each other that allowed total strangers to be totally exposed without feeling self-conscious. It was a strange and wonderful diversion from the surface world.
I was afraid it was over when I started working nights. During the day, the hotel had pool and sauna sessions for the neighborhood women. I figured that it was off limits during those times, but there were some gaps between classes where I could at least get a few minutes of solitary steam bliss. I'd go to the gym and workout and count the women going in, and when the last woman left, I'd knock on the door. If nobody answered I knew I had 30 minutes until the next session.
This worked well for almost a week. On Friday, I was particularly beat and after setting the timer, I stretched out on the bench and closed my eyes. I must have dozed off a little, because the next thing I head was the sauna door opening and there was a woman in a swimsuit from the next class coming in. I grabbed my towel and sat up and apologized for overstaying my time. She laughed and said that her class decided to skip the swim portion and go straight to the sauna that day.
As I got up to leave, she surprised me again when she told me that only four other ladies were coming in so there would be room for me to stay. I suggested that someone might not like a guy being among them. She said she'd ask them and went out the door. In a couple of minutes she opened the door and said it was okay. This time she wore only a towel, which she let slip down as she took a seat on the back row with me. The others filed in, but only one was topless and the others either had swimsuits or large beach towels.
We chatted for a while, then I got up to go to the outer room to rinse off. Directly across from the sauna door is an open shower area that sprays jets of ice cold water. I had used it before, but usually the sauna was less occupied and by people equally nude. It felt awkward taking a cold shower in front of a class of mostly dressed women. The dark sauna made the glass door act like a mirror in the brighter outer room, so I couldn't see them, but I knew they could see me...as I had seen a couple of women douse themselves on previous visits.
After a little hesitation, I hung up my towel and turned on the water. I thought I heard giggling from inside the sauna, but the cold jets made it hard to be sure. I finished quickly, not wanting to demonstrate the effects of cold water on male anatomy any longer than possible. As I was drying off, the first woman came out. She was smiling and said that was the fastest shower her and her friends had ever seen. Then she tossed her towel aside and turned on the water. Watching her turn slowly under the water, I forgot what I was doing and just watched. After several turns, she looked over at me and said "I think slower is better, yes?" I felt like an idiot when I realized I was standing there naked, with the towel on my shoulders, nodding my head in agreement.
I got dressed and went back to the gym, but my mind relived
that shower for most of the day.