Gay Hamam and Hamam Culture In Turkey
Gay Hamam is a very common keyword for many tourists in Turkey and also around the globe. The interesting thing is that it is also a Turkish word and Googled pretty often by gay men. In this blog, this is the first post ı write in English. Because I thought you should be informed about what you are looking for and be careful about where you go! In Turkey, Gay Hamam’s description is neither an official word nor the Hamam owners wish to be called Gay Hamam. Because that would be officially illegal and quite notorious for the owners of the business. Top it all, if they are not gay, they wouldn’t like to be referred with anything gay. And in most cases, they are not!
In Turkey man-to-man sex is not recognized and strictly not allowed in public places like in Hamams or parks. But it doesn’t mean that it is forbidden either. Most of the time, business owners, fortunately, tolerate or turn a blind eye to this confidential relationship. This is of course for the sake of their very own business. So try not to put what you do in their eyes and just be natural. Gayly flamboyancy or super feminine attitudes are not welcome in these kinds of places either. You even can not enter some of the gay bars if you are super feminine in İstanbul. And yes that’s not a good attitude but it’s a fact. And besides, we don’t have officially recognized gay bars either 🙂
Hamam culture in Turkey
Since the Ottoman and Roman Empire, Turkey has a large Hamam culture and understanding. Hamams are a part of our historical culture as well. There are even Hamams built on the remainings of very ancient roman Hamams. You can find Hamams nearly in all the cities, towns, and neighborhoods of Turkey. This is such a strong culture that it also inspired the opening of many Turkish Baths in Europe as well! But nothing compares to the very classical ones which have a navel stone (central massage platform in a Turkish bath)
What makes a Hamam gay Hamam?
That’s a very hard question to answer. But as you know, every society creates its own simplicity in the struggle of life. That includes gay men as well and it is not written on their faces that they are gay. So, when you go to a men Hamam you can’t know if there are other gays inside right? If you run such a business (gay hamam business) in an area where there are lots of Lgbt around, you wouldn’t like to lose customers. You shut your eyes to what people do where you are not inside. Customers probably won’t put what they do in the owner’s eyes. (If that’s not a gay party 🙂 occurred haphazardly in the Hamam)
Every Hamam is a gay Hamam if you are there
You probably know what to do where do to in the area you live in! I mean you know what are the dos and don’ts of the area where you live. As a tourist, it might be a little bit difficult to distinguish things. But if you are good at shapeshifting between being a straight man and a gay man that’ll keep you safe :). And you’ll know what to do when the right time comes. You might meet a curious guy anywhere but meeting them in a Hamam might make them more curious. So that might be the right time to wink an eye or give an irresistible welcoming smile
Some Hamams are nearly only gay Hamams
Especially in İstanbul, some Hamams like, Cihangir Hamam, Firuzağa Hamam, are located in a very gay populated area. Yes, most of them don’t like to be called Gay Hamam. But this doesn’t actually change the fact that their customers are mostly gays. Inside the Hamam is another story if there are other gay guys there. You might meet someone handsome and have a great date who knows? But before starting to cruise guys around the Hamam, you might want to be clean and ready to be liked. For that, Kese would be good. Many of those Hamams have ‘KESE’ (rub with a coarse bath-glove) and massage services. KESE pictures are below.
KESE: Traditional way of cleanig
Kese actually is a very traditional way of cleaning in Turkey. It is a great way to purify your body out of dirt which is intrinsic to Turkish culture. After waiting in the steam room or in the sauna, your skin lets the dirt loose. After a while, Kese man calls you for the Kese (scrubbing). This means you waited enough to soften the dirt of your body in the Hamam. Although you might be disgusted with yourself when you see dirt cylinders rolling on your body when the Kese man scrubs your skin with Kese, It makes you feel super clean that you’ll want to have it done again.
After that super cleaning an oil massage will be a real therapy for your body. If that’s a known gay hamam masseurs might be prepared and well-tranied to relax you. Nobody has to know if something private has occured between you and the masseur. You’ll probably be pleased of the service.
That was the story of how Hamams are gay hamams in Turkey. If you have any questıon or need recommendations you might comment below the post. Here are the images from some of the gay hamams in Turkey, istanbul and Adana
Click to see more pictures of Firuzaga hamamı in İstanbul. If somehow if you have visited Adana city and need to go to a Hamam. You have a very traditional but less gay-friendly option than Firuzağa. To see the post and check the pictures of Irmak hamamı click the link. Irmak hamamı has interesting energy and ancient architecture. It was founded on the remainings of a Roman Hamam in 1594 which makes it one of the oldest Hamams