My first bathhouse experience in Florida, 1996, when I was single:
I found it online, so I drove over. Nondescript entrance door, barely marked. Inside I found a bare, stark rectangular room. At the far end was a single little opening on a wall with a counter extension, like a ticket window. Quite a bit intimidating. When I answered that I'm not a member but wanted to join, the guy sitting there shoved me a bunch of papers to fill out on the little window counter extension.
Which were basically confirming I'm gay, and not law enforcement and undercover. And asked for a pretty hefty 6-month membership fee. But OK, I can afford it.
He also asked if, for another varying daily fee, I wanted a small or big locker, or a full private changing room. For this first time I asked for small, and got a plastic coil wristband with a key. I later learned the wristband color matched the kind of locker or room you have, a private room color making you especially desirable.
Completing the process, the attendant pressed a button and a loud thunk drew my attention to a windowless, solid metal green fire door to my left. I held my breath, not knowing what to expect on the other side: immediate rape, orgy, dirty old men, what? I pushed it open, and found... Heaven.
I entered directly into the full gym. Completely naked and half-naked guys in jocks, underwear and tight gym shorts were working out in a very extensive & competent facility, with first-rate equipment. One wall was all glass, with a view beyond of the outdoor swimming pool, where everyone was naked or wearing towels. WOW! Good decision, Bob!
I found my way to the locker room, where I stripped and draped a provided white towel around my waist, the standard attire, when attired at all. I checked out the elegant TV room showing gay pornos, with leather armchairs & sofas, and walked past the open gang shower, with a half-wall of glass blocks. I saw the entrances for the steam room and sauna.
Outside under the palms I found a recliner that I spread my towel on. I watched the naked guys swimming and drifting on floats, and saw the other nude guys sunning all around me. Does it get any better than this?
After a while I went back inside, to try the steam room. An elaborate multi-room maze, made to resemble a cave, the walls all curving and irregular, painted like rock. With bench setbacks built into the walls, for couples to have personal encounters, and low faux stone tables set in the floor, for more play, and irregular "window" openings in the walls so you could see into the other rooms. It was sorta like the homes in the Flintstones cartoons.
And all around me guys were openly having sex, on the tables, on the recessed benches, standing up, everywhere. I was growing dizzy with the rush. My own sexual adventures there are another story.
Around 1 PM I was sunning naked back outside, after having a little swim in the pool. A weekend buffet had been set up. Not some mere hors d'oeuvres, but a complete meal, with a meat carver in full chef's whites. Announced over the PA system: "Gentlemen, the buffet is now open. The buffet is now open. Please wear at least a towel in the serving line."
Once again I was in Heaven. I couldn't believe how glorious this was. I came back almost every day for weeks. Those daily adventures make for many stories. Eventually I had to return to Seattle, but came back in 1997, and did it all over again.
Today my husband says I can't visit a bathhouse, nor will he go with me. OK, he's more important, and I'm not lacking for anything. But at that time in my life, when I was single and still new to being gay, I was delirious with the bathhouse experience. I suppose that hits a lot of us at some point, and I hope bathhouses, or something comparable (done safely), will remain available for new generations. But damn it was great!