Some people may find the idea of going nude in a sauna unthinkable while others may find it acceptable. How you feel about nudity in a sauna depends on which part of the world you come from.
You don’t have to be nude in most saunas. But it depends on the country's nudity culture. For instance, in European countries like Germany and Finland, going nude even in a coed sauna is normal. But in Morocco, a strictly religious country, coed saunas don’t exist and nudity is banned in all saunas.
In this article, we are going to take a deeper look at the culture of nudism at saunas, its history, and the benefits of going naked in a sauna.
Table of Contents
- Why is There a Culture of Nudism at Saunas?
- Benefits of Being Naked in a Sauna
- Nude Sauna Étiquettes
Why is There a Culture of Nudism at Saunas?
Thousands of years ago when humans were still hunters and gatherers, the need to cover human bodies arose from the need to protect oneself from natural elements like cold and sunlight.
Over time when humans became psychologically adept and were capable of self-reflection and feeling self-conscious, humans began wearing clothes as we do in modern times.
Even today, nudity is practiced in many cultures, for instance, hippies embraced nudity as part of their daily life, Indian mystics utilized naked asceticism to reject worldly attachments in Kumbh Mela and many naturist beaches allow people to bask under the sun without any clothes on.
Partial nudity has been a norm in public saunas and bathing houses. In the 20th century, countries like Germany, Finland, Poland, etc were embracing nudism as a way to "go back to the natural way of living" which some researchers conclude was a reaction to rapid urbanization.
As a result nudity in these countries is fairly normal and it’s not regarded as something sexual.
If you want to know how people who are not used to the nudist culture feel going into a sauna naked, here’s a first-hand experience from a journalist.
Benefits of Being Naked in a Sauna
Whether or not you like the idea of going naked in the sauna, there are a number of benefits of a nude sauna.
First off, you no longer have to worry about what to wear in a sauna! There’s no need to carry anything other than a towel. In several nude saunas, they give you a bracelet that'll help you buy snacks, and drinks, and help you keep a track of the time you spend in the sauna.
Nothing feels better than taking a cold bath following a sweaty sauna session. If you go naked in the sauna, then you don't have to deal with the hassle of taking your swimsuit or whatever you were wearing. Sauna etiquette dictates that you don't take a whole lot of time in the shower.
So as soon as you cool down you can leave without having to worry about putting your clothes on.
Not everyone likes sweating through their clothes. Going sauna naked means you don't have to sit sweating through your swimsuit or whatever you usually wear. No need to leave the sauna drenched in your own sweat. Just take a towel and wipe off sweat before heading to the shower.
Swimsuits or sauna suits need to be kept clean otherwise it comes infected with bacteria. You can be sure to keep your suit clean but when you are visiting a public sauna, there's no way to figure out how hygienic other people are. So in that sense, using the sauna naked is more hygienic.
Nude Sauna Étiquettes
Whether you visit the sauna naked or semi-naked, there are certain etiquettes you need to follow so as to not offend others and to not make a fool of yourself.
Close the door after you enter the sauna because if the door is open, it will affect the temperature in the room.
Don't take your phones in the sauna. The phone might get damaged and smartphones in the sauna are generally frowned upon.
Basic sauna etiquette involves never taking any photos, not even selfies. People might be comfortable being nude in a public sauna but that doesn't mean they want to be seen by everyone on the internet.
You should always consider the space you are taking up. As people come in through the door, move around to make space. Also, keep your voice low so as to not disturb anyone. A sauna is a place where come to relax.
It's a given that nude sauna are not placed you can flirt or have sex. So don't even think about it.
Other etiquettes include taking off all your jewelry before you step into the sauna. The high temperature will not only wear off the jewelry but it will also become hot and you could end up burning yourself.
Needless to say, you need to carry towels and take a shower before entering the sauna. Be sure to clean yourself using soap. That's just basic hygiene. And carry two towels, one to sit on at all times and the other to wipe away your sweat.
Also, drink a ton of water. You would be sweating a lot and therefore losing water from your body. If you don’t want to be dehydrated by the end of the sauna session, then drink a lot of water.
It's worth noting that if you feel uncomfortable being in the nude, you don't have any obligations to stay. Just leave.
These are the basic etiquettes you need to follow at a nude sauna. We have a separate article covering sauna etiquette in more detail. Please check that out.
No, you don’t have to be naked in a sauna. That said, it really depends on the sauna you are visiting. In nude saunas, being naked on expected but not always mandatory.
And in a normal sauna, being naked is prohibited. Be sure to check with the sauna regarding their rules about nudity.
(Featured image by Dylan Sauerwein from Unsplash)