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  #1  
Old 7th December 2015, 12:05 AM
KewlDewd66's Avatar
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Locker Rooms Now and Then...

The Slate published these musings:

Locker room nudity is healthy and normal. Fear of it is irrational.

I am all for the freedom of choice, and I am sure that no one will even try to stop the gym/fitness industry from building new locker rooms that would grant more privacy to its members. Their business- they should be calling the shots.

Essentially, like every other service provider, the gyms, too are trying to throw in as much as possible to somehow 'justify' the rates they are charging. The game has been going on for while now, and it IS getting a bit tired with the consumers, too.

---
The part where I do not quite see the things in the same manner as the Slate author does is this one:

Quote:
As a child and a teenager, public nudity is scary. Puberty does strange things to our bodies, and we spend much of our younger years fretting about the development (or lack thereof) of our secondary sex characteristics. That is why schools should not force children and teens to take group showers: The practice fosters anxiety and bullying and deprives children of some bodily autonomy. It makes good sense to encourage teens to grow comfortable with their changing bodies in private.
True, schools are neither prisons nor army barracks, and should not be FORCING their students to do anything that they expressly do not want to do. Yet, good educators will try to help each and every kid who upon reaching a certain age still has issues with using group showers and locker rooms to overcome.

Growing comfortable with your changing body IN PRIVATE is not a workable strategy as much as learning how to swim on dry land really does not work, despite many valiant attempts to do so.

You really have no other option but to be comfortable with your body in private. You do not have choice a different bodies that you can use to increase your comfort levels, do you?

The whole idea is to be comfortable with your body if surrounded by your peers. By locking yourself away from them, the chances are that you'll never really get there.

Reaching the age of 6 and HAVING TO go to school is very scary. Having to do your homework and pass the tests, and be possibly one of the less popular/successful kids in the class is VERY SCARY, too. If you adopt this point of view, practically every aspect of your life becomes scary to quite some extent. The chances are that if you keep nurturing this paranoid side of your personality, sooner rather than later, EVERYTHING will turn out to be scary albeit, to various degrees.

My buddies and I grew up with the clear cut idea that we should be going to school in September of that year like all the other kids did. We were told in clear and honest terms that we may not really like it, that school meant all sorts of hardships but that it was both inevitable, and the only way for us to become productive adults.

At some point in time, we all ended up changing in common locker rooms, taking group showers, and some guys had more problems with it than the others. The few dudes who were on the shy side got quite a bit of help and support from their school buddies and friends, and couple of days into the process, all the shyness simply disappeared.

From there on, most of us started growing up in the locker rooms of various sport clubs we belonged to, and on the nude beaches we frequented in summer.

By the time we reached the age of consent, most guys knew all the facts of life only too well. Yup. Some dudes were bigger than the others. Some dudes were more athletic than the others. Some dudes were more open to the play than the others. Nothing was written in stone, and basically, no one out there was spending his life hating you and wishing you evil. If asked for help, most dudes would lend you a hand. Nope, you were not the center of the known universe but a group of your good buddies around you mattered.

Growing pains are inflicted upon people for a reason. I am the last one here to support any undue brutality, hazing or any nonsense of any kind. But trying to accommodate for normal human insecurities at each and every turn of the way is highly counterproductive.

Educating young guys, and preparing them from the challenges that lie ahead within an acceptable framework seem to work so much better.

KD
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  #2  
Old 7th December 2015, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for posting this! I had seen the original New York Times article and added it to a list of things to post here, but I simply haven't had to do that.

I honestly thought that the attitudes of the young people described were silly. Some actually showered with their clothes on??? They are grown-ups in a health club in Manhattan??? Really???

Growing up I was skinny and not athletic, had humongous "coke-bottle" glasses and poor depth perception, and I was more afraid of being hit by a ball I simply couldn't see coming straight at me. I secretly enjoyed seeing the gym teacher and some of the guys naked; nudity was no concern.

Today I'm also running late but I hope I can come back and write something about this soon.

~ Bob
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  #3  
Old 8th December 2015, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
The part where I do not quite see the things in the same manner as the Slate author does is this one:



True, schools are neither prisons nor army barracks, and should not be FORCING their students to do anything that they expressly do not want to do. Yet, good educators will try to help each and every kid who upon reaching a certain age still has issues with using group showers and locker rooms to overcome.
Growing up being naked around other guys was thought of as "no big deal". My grandmother had a cottage so my cousin and I changed for swimming and saw each other all the time in the summer. Spend a few nights at Walt's you would see each other change. Jimmy's family had a pool - so I would go over and we would change for swimming. He and his older brother shared a room - when I saw him change it was like look at all the hair!!!!

Then came Junior High. Gym class was mixed grades 7 - 9 and showers were mandatory. They actually checked off our names as we got our towels. The teacher made it clear - not showering after gym was unhygienic, gross and smelly - and everyone would shower.

Sure it was awkward at first - being 7th graders some guys had not started puberty at all - I remember the first day we showered a good friend of mine where I was about 8 - 10 inches taller than him - well when it came time to shower I learned quickly that height does not equal development! There I was so much taller but he was much bigger and hairy.

The first few classes were very awkward, but it was almost like tearing a band aid off - better to do it quick and get it over with.

Sure I was nervous - afraid I would stare or get hard - but thankfully frequent masturbation - fear - and never washing below the waste kept that from being a problem. And when some guys did get hard no one gave them too much grief.

We just learned to deal with it and we "got over it". By 8th and 9th grade no one thought a thing about it except for some laughing about the hairless 7th graders trying not to be seen. But it was part of growing up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Reaching the age of 6 and HAVING TO go to school is very scary. Having to do your homework and pass the tests, and be possibly one of the less popular/successful kids in the class is VERY SCARY, too. If you adopt this point of view, practically every aspect of your life becomes scary to quite some extent. The chances are that if you keep nurturing this paranoid side of your personality, sooner rather than later, EVERYTHING will turn out to be scary albeit, to various degrees.

VERY true. I think if they somehow said "it is ok to be naked at 18 but not before" it would have been even more awkward - it makes it more of a "big deal" when in fact it is uncomfortable at first - but it is not something that will scar you for life.

A friend of mine teaches middle school - she talks about the STENCH of the kids after gym - they reek of AX body spray that the soak themselves in to cover up the perspiration - she was also talking about how many kids get busted "sexting" and how funny it is - the boy thinks nothing of taking a picture of his penis and sending it around for people to see - but if he was told he had to shower with the other boys he would freak.



Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
At some point in time, we all ended up changing in common locker rooms, taking group showers, and some guys had more problems with it than the others. The few dudes who were on the shy side got quite a bit of help and support from their school buddies and friends, and couple of days into the process, all the shyness simply disappeared.
I hate to think that my gym teacher was right - but he was. You just got used to it.

Did showering together turn the boys in my gym class gay? Unfortunately not to my knowledge. Was it frustrating that they guy in the locker next to you had a bigger cock? Sure was. Is it frustrating that my neighbor has a bigger house? Sure is.

And life goes on.....
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Old 8th December 2015, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonn3 View Post
Growing up being naked around other guys was thought of as "no big deal".
I am sure that it was actually a BIG deal for each and everyone of us on a purely individual level. Yet, we were clearly told that this how generations before us played sports and showered, and how generations after us would play sports and shower, too. Most importantly, the group showers, and a common, all male locker room applied to ALL guys. No one was being singled out or treated any differently. Since we were all in it on equal terms, none of it was any big deal at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonn3 View Post
Then came Junior High. Gym class was mixed grades 7 - 9 and showers were mandatory. They actually checked off our names as we got our towels. The teacher made it clear - not showering after gym was unhygienic, gross and smelly - and everyone would shower.

Sure it was awkward at first - being 7th graders some guys had not started puberty at all - I remember the first day we showered a good friend of mine where I was about 8 - 10 inches taller than him - well when it came time to shower I learned quickly that height does not equal development! There I was so much taller but he was much bigger and hairy.

The first few classes were very awkward, but it was almost like tearing a band aid off - better to do it quick and get it over with.

Sure I was nervous - afraid I would stare or get hard - but thankfully frequent masturbation - fear - and never washing below the waste kept that from being a problem. And when some guys did get hard no one gave them too much grief.

We just learned to deal with it and we "got over it". By 8th and 9th grade no one thought a thing about it except for some laughing about the hairless 7th graders trying not to be seen. But it was part of growing up.
Yup, the pubic hair was inevitably an issue. My best buddy and I were the first in our class to spurt out some, so the rest of the guys were looking at us with a degree of envy. Couple of weeks later, two or three other dudes had some hair to show, too, so everyone shrugged with their shoulders, and moved on. But we remembered very clearly not to tease the hairless dudes ever.




Quote:
Originally Posted by jonn3 View Post
I think if they somehow said "it is ok to be naked at 18 but not before" it would have been even more awkward - it makes it more of a "big deal" when in fact it is uncomfortable at first - but it is not something that will scar you for life.

A friend of mine teaches middle school - she talks about the STENCH of the kids after gym - they reek of AX body spray that the soak themselves in to cover up the perspiration - she was also talking about how many kids get busted "sexting" and how funny it is - the boy thinks nothing of taking a picture of his penis and sending it around for people to see - but if he was told he had to shower with the other boys he would freak.
The idea here was that if being naked with your peers of the same gender in the lockers and showers scarred you - YOU had a problem. The system has worked pretty well for the vast majority of people, and the very few who had an issue with it, had to deal with their issues on a personal level.

There are folks who get sick whenever they have to sit at back of the bus. It is a commonly known fact. Yet no one has started building the buses with 60 front seats, and no one has started widening the highways to accommodate for such buses either. Buses work for a vast majority of people. Those who are not comfortable using them try to use alternatives or take pills or deal with it on a personal level.

---
Now, add all the sexting scandals going on to the equation, and you realize that by changing the rules to in favor of the vocal minority with a very strong sense of self-entitlement, the things inevitably got actually much worse for almost everyone.

Yup. We were checking each other out. Men simply do that. Str8, bi, gay, undetermined. WYSIWYG. So, after couple of group showers everyone knew the lay of the land ahead, and topic was closed.

---
Later on, in college, some of the locker rooms, group showers, etc., became occasional hunting grounds. I had no problem in approaching a dude who I thought was checking me out a bit longer than it was usual. A bit of small talk while no one was watching, and most of such encounters ended in my bedroom.

Nope, we did not have Grindr. So, we used the resources at hand. Not much time was wasted. No (fake) pictures were exchanged, and no lengthy schedule syncs ever took place.

The place was my nearby apartment. The time was now. I had just showered. The dude had just showered. So, we were good to go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jonn3 View Post
I hate to think that my gym teacher was right - but he was. You just got used to it.

Did showering together turn the boys in my gym class gay? Unfortunately not to my knowledge. Was it frustrating that they guy in the locker next to you had a bigger cock? Sure was. Is it frustrating that my neighbor has a bigger house? Sure is.

And life goes on.....
Sure. You got used to it. As you got used to many other things in life. Most importantly, long before we reached the college age, hardly any guy in my class had any issue with nudity, his body image, etc., at all. The growing pains were simply behind us.

For many guys, 'the no big deal about nudity', coupled with spending our summers at the neighboring nude beach translated into a very positive sex attitude.

Sure, some dudes were pretty open minded, and very willing to experiment. The others? Well, not so. But the 'scandalous', gossipy element was out of it. We had all learnt NOT to spread the stories and the news from the lockers, so most dudes kept their knowledge of things to themselves, too.

KD
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  #5  
Old 11th December 2015, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Yup, the pubic hair was inevitably an issue. My best buddy and I were the first in our class to spurt out some, so the rest of the guys were looking at us with a degree of envy. Couple of weeks later, two or three other dudes had some hair to show, too, so everyone shrugged with their shoulders, and moved on. But we remembered very clearly not to tease the hairless dudes ever.

The stages of development were very much on show since 7 - 9th graders all had gym together so it was mostly 12 - 14 year olds but there were a couple who were 11. Add on to that everyone developing at different ages and you had 7th graders with hair and 9th graders without.

The amazing thing is teenage boys are notorious jerks - and there was lots of joking around - but never any real teasing. Somehow even at that age we all remembered the awkwardness of those first showers in 7th grade and it was an unspoken rule that you can make jokes but you can't be mean about it.






Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
The idea here was that if being naked with your peers of the same gender in the lockers and showers scarred you - YOU had a problem.
EXACTLY. If you felt it was a big deal that was something you had to get over. Tall / Short, Fat / Thin, Big Dick / Small Dick it was all there and most everyone had some body issue so you just moved on.

And at places like summer camp there would be skinny dipping and the bathroom and showers were the only place there was no supervision so you were always catching someone there hard and quickly turning to face the wall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Now, add all the sexting scandals going on to the equation, and you realize that by changing the rules to in favor of the vocal minority with a very strong sense of self-entitlement, the things inevitably got actually much worse for almost everyone.
They are so concerned with offending anyone they make it worse for everyone. Look at movies like "Airplane" and "Blazing Saddles" - they are classics but would never be made now because they would "offend" too many people. Even the comedian Jerry Seinfeld is saying he will not perform at colleges anymore because political correctness has gone so far they are afraid to laugh at anything.

Sometimes the needs of the many need to outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. (Sorry showing my scifi geek side here)



Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Later on, in college, some of the locker rooms, group showers, etc., became occasional hunting grounds. I had no problem in approaching a dude who I thought was checking me out a bit longer than it was usual. A bit of small talk while no one was watching, and most of such encounters ended in my bedroom.

By then we were older and (hopefully) more confident. Also in junior high and high school it was a quick shower after gym. At college we lived in the dorm. Back at school you could just wash your pits and be done. At college you had to take a real shower and wash. Guys would walk down the hall to the bathroom in the morning and you would see the tent of morning wood in his sorts, some guys would get hard in the shower. We were guys - it happened. Sometimes it meant something - sometimes it didn't. But we were all used to it and dealt with it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Nope, we did not have Grindr. So, we used the resources at hand. Not much time was wasted. No (fake) pictures were exchanged, and no lengthy schedule syncs ever took place.

It used to be you met someone, got to know him, and then it might move on to sex. Now with the apps the meetings are just for sex. No getting to know them, getting comfortable or even seeing if you are really attracted to each other.

Now I am not knocking sex for sex sake - it can be great fun. But it is loosing the ability for it to become more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Most importantly, long before we reached the college age, hardly any guy in my class had any issue with nudity, his body image, etc., at all. The growing pains were simply behind us.
You talk to guys in their 30's and under and they can't believe it was no big deal for us. They never saw any of their friends naked growing up - if you were swimming or at a sleepover you changed in the bathroom with the door locked. When I was a kid if your buddy got to your house before you were ready you just went ahead and showered and got dressed. He would sit there and you would be talking the whole time time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KewlDewd66 View Post
Sure, some dudes were pretty open minded, and very willing to experiment. The others? Well, not so. But the 'scandalous', gossipy element was out of it. We had all learnt NOT to spread the stories and the news from the lockers, so most dudes kept their knowledge of things to themselves, too.
Yep. You did not talk about Bob getting hard in the shower because you did not want him telling others when it happened to you. There would be some joking around but never real teasing.

Did seeing each other naked "cause" gay sex? Nope. Yeah it happened with some, it didn't happen with others.
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Old 11th December 2015, 07:15 PM
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Increasing personal privacy has been a long term trend; it didn't start when we were young.

My father was the youngest of a large family & had much older siblings. We would sometimes visit the farm of his oldest sibling who had a lot of children but never made it into the modern age in the bathroom department. They had an outhouse...a 3 seat outhouse!

Now taking a crap right next to 2 other people would really freak me out but it was something that people back then were used to.
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Old 11th December 2015, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by pike View Post
Increasing personal privacy has been a long term trend; it didn't start when we were young.

My father was the youngest of a large family & had much older siblings. We would sometimes visit the farm of his oldest sibling who had a lot of children but never made it into the modern age in the bathroom department. They had an outhouse...a 3 seat outhouse!

Now taking a crap right next to 2 other people would really freak me out but it was something that people back then were used to.
Nope. It takes a bit more to freak me out than taking a dump with two other dudes.

Actually, I used to live in a studio apartment all by myself in my freshman year. Dudes would come to party now and then, and have a sleepover, too. No one ever locked the bathroom for obvious reasons (I only had one of those...). So, on a busy morning one dude was showering, another dude was shaving, and pretty often, a third dude came in to piss or take a dump. At times, a fourth one came in and waited for his turn to do whatever. Sure, all kinds of well-meaning if rather frivolous banter ensued.

True, we were all peers; most of us had had sex with each other, which all made it much easier not to freak out, but no one was really any shy at all.

You were 18-19-20. You saw yourself as an adult. You had seen your buddies naked like a million times, and you did not think there was anything to hide from them any longer.

We left 'being shy' to like 12 year old boys. Showing shyness meant you were immature, in our time and day, that is...

Besides, showering together, using the bathroom together, keeping no doors locked in the apartment were all strong bonding rituals for most of us.

Even my str8 friends came to ask to wear one of my shirts for a particular date, and I'd wear some of theirs on some days.

We'd often drink from a same bottle, puff away from the same cig, or light up a cig for a buddy, str8 or gay alike.

Generally, a grown up male (that's how we liked to see ourselves in those days), was supposed to stop short of sweating the small stuff. Sure, to some extent, this was a pose, too.

But shyness among other men, naked or not was out of the window for good. This did not necessarily make us better men. But it sure did make our lives less complicated.

KD
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Old 14th December 2015, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by pike View Post
Increasing personal privacy has been a long term trend; it didn't start when we were young.
It seems that the requirement for personal privacy has really grown in the last generation or so.

When I was young it was very common for siblings to share bedrooms and there was no thought about changing in front of each other. Morning wood and puberty were just a part of life.

And as teens games like truth or dare and strip poker were fairly common and not just with gay guys but with ones that at least appeared to be totally straight.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pike View Post
My father was the youngest of a large family & had much older siblings. We would sometimes visit the farm of his oldest sibling who had a lot of children but never made it into the modern age in the bathroom department. They had an outhouse...a 3 seat outhouse!

Now taking a crap right next to 2 other people would really freak me out but it was something that people back then were used to.

I was never a fan of taking a dump when others were around - but in the dorms and places there would be multiple stalls - not quite as exposed as a 3 seat outhouse - but guys would just go in and keep on chatting while they went.

As for the rest of the bathroom it was fair game - some would be in underwear - some in shorts - some in nothing as they shaved - showered and got ready for the day.

Now from what I understand most of the open bathrooms in dorms and things have been done away with in favor of smaller more private facilities - and when you talk with younger guys even with buddies they would change in the bathroom rather than in front of each other.
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