22 May DC’s Crew Club is the Gay Bathhouse Every City Needs
Get naked, make friends!
I’ve been to Washington lots of times without ever edging up the nerve to take myself out to Crew Club, DC’s last remaining gay bathhouse. I’ve always come up with lots of reasons to avoid it, but the bulk of them always (often secretly) boiled down to “I’m probably not hot enough.“
As much as I talk about public naked places and groupsex activities, there’s always a process of building myself up to those situations that involves me looking at myself too much in the mirror and trying to imagine what other people might see; catch whatever flaws might be present before anyone else has the chance to.
I don’t know that my process is any more or less accurate or useful than anyone else’s, but after some marinating on the complexities of being simultaneously fat and too skinny (which is how I most often describe my own body type in my internal monologue), I can usually muster up the courage to at least try something for the first time. What’s important to remember (and easy to forget) with things like bathhouses or jack off parties, is that it’s all optional. And if it totally sucks, or just isn’t for you, you can just leave! It’s really that simple!
This trip, after checking out of my rental apartment over by Union Station, I had about four hours to waste (and some luggage to haul around) before landing at my friend’s home near 14th and S NW for another couple of days. I decided that since I hadn’t booked anything for that afternoon or evening, today was the day to join the Crew.
I rolled up to the Crew Club doors about 11 AM on a Saturday, with my suitcase in tow, and found myself in an ultra generic lobby area with a small porthole I was to pass my ID through, in order to be buzzed in. I rang the bell, the window opened, and I handed in my ID to be buzzed into a second area where visitors were checked in, and offered upsells on poppers, lube, and the like.
After receiving my key, I was buzzed into another door to the main facility. I asked to stow my rolling bag behind the counter. “We can’t be responsible for anything like that, but you can keep it here,” said the bespectacled man behind the counter, which I agreed was acceptable since I couldn’t imagine rolling it around with me while I was naked and trying to touch butts. I popped my cash/wallet/watch into the lockbox downstairs for safekeeping and moseyed up to the locker area to strip down.
In any type of bathhouse situation, my first stop after getting naked is always the shower area, and I was pleased with how clean and well maintained their open/group shower area seemed to be. I like starting with dry sauna action first, and while the facility was quiet (just me and two other dudes) when I arrived, I was soon joined by a couple of guys who were eager to masturbate with/for me, which is always a nice start to a Saturday.
The dress code was described to me at check-in as “naked, towel, or underwear,” and almost everyone opted for towel (although I spotted one guy in a tiny stringer bikini and another in a brought-from-home bathrobe). Once entering the sauna or steam room areas, towels primarily became seat covers and everything guys had was put on display for anyone who might be interested.
It’s hard to describe the atmosphere or vibe in situations like this, especially to people who are entirely new to the experience, but it almost never has the forced interaction feel that so many people fear and wrongly associate with orgies or group activities.
Everyone I got to meet was cordial and friendly, open to allowing others to touch, and glad to jack off a bit if you wanted to watch. But there were also others who kept covered, and just enjoyed the sauna or steam rooms for their intended purposes. Nobody seemed pressured into doing or touching or being touched when they didn’t want it, and virtually everyone could take the hint when it just wasn’t going to happen.
I quickly made friends with a beefy guy who was determined to spend his morning poppering up and choking on big dicks, and he took to sucking mine openly in the dry sauna area. Two guys to my left jacked their own penises while they watched, but another man seemed unconcerned with our activity and stayed covered and enjoyed the heat.
That’s exactly how these settings should function. If you want to play, the play is there. If you like to watch, you’re welcome to watch. If you’re not into it, nobody makes you do anything, or looks at you funny for keeping to yourself. I believe that this is one of the great, undervalued joys of male sex, regardless of what the specific activity might be taking place: the freedom to engage as much or as little as you want, without anyone getting upset or offended.
Eventually my new buddy convinced me to visit his private room (a sparse, closet-sized cabin, with a slatted door and 2/3 of a twin sized bed) where we got a little better aquatinted. I’m always into men who know exactly what they want and how to ask for it, and this late 50s chin-dimpled military dad had come to Crew Club this morning to chug some cock. And he was great at it. Bless.
It should probably be reiterated that what you get out of these adventures is very often only what you put into them. If you come into a setting scowling, silent, and maintaining a closed off, uncomfortable-looking body language, nobody is gonna wanna be your buddy. Not even if you think you’re really really hot. So act like a normal human person: say hello. Uncross your arms. Smile at people. Make eye contact with other guys. Be clear about what you do and don’t want to do. And don’t act like any of the bros outlined here.
Crew Club is a clean and safe setting for men who want to have sex with other men. They have art on the walls, leather furniture in the lounge, and everything I engaged with (from steam to sauna to shower to toilets) functioned perfectly and had been freshly cleaned. Nothing about it is openly presented as seedy or naughty or dark (although there is a technically pitch-black play area that I didn’t spend more than a few minute in), so if that’s what you’re up for, I’m sure the DMV’s got a back alley somewhere that would better suit your methy fantasies.
But if you’re after a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening, meeting some new friends, or making better friends with people you already know, Crew Club is a perfect destination. You can scrub up, take in some steam or heat, unload with buddies in one of the many private cabins and rooms, and then cool back down with CNN on the enormous tv in the lounge area. There’s even a mini gym and tanning booth on the ground floor (which I didn’t have the sense to make use of while I was there, as I got distracted by the penises)!
People mistakenly assume that facilities like Crew Club encourage dangerous or damaging behavior, drug use, or disease spread, but the truth is that they work to prevent all of those things as much as any business is legitimately able. Condoms were prevalent (and free) and it made me happy to see condom wrappers on the ground in the showers or sauna area (although they were quickly swept up) because it meant that guys were using them. Places like Crew Club also provide a setting where men who may not be out or may be engaged in more ‘traditional relationships’ at home to explore their inner feelings and spend some time with men who make them feel desirable and sexy.
Men are gonna fuck and penis with each other. That’s just the fact. Having a comfortable place where they can meet and play as safely and anonymously as they choose, away from a bar or a seedy motel, or threat of exposure, harassment, or arrest is arguably a public service to the MSM world. While not cheap (my Saturday morning admission was $32), Crew Club isn’t prohibitively expensive and offers a necessary setting for men to engage in the behaviors they’re going to engage in, regardless.
10/10 – Recommend.
Just go. Even if it sucks, it’s still better than clicking around on tumblr alone.
If you live in DC, lucky you! Go get a full membership. You’ll use it. I promise.
If you’re just visiting like I was, it’s worth your 30 bucks to go and maybe lose some sperm (or gain some, depending on what you like!) and meet some new friends. Even if you have the worst possible time while you’re there, you’re still gonna be treated with respect by the staff, get some good sauna heat, a great shower, and leave feeling a little more refreshed (and brave) than when you arrived.
And like anything, if you find it sucks or just isn’t for you, you can always just leave 😉