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Gay former soldier: ‘Shut down gay saunas if we want equality’

  • kore

    Screw that – I like them and see them as part of my culture. If you don’t that’s fine – don’t go there.

  • Christopher Kay

    If he doesn’t like saunas, he doesn’t have to go to one. Simple.

    • Gareth Evans

      I’m with Christopher on this. If James Wharton doesn’t want to use saunas – stay away from them but don’t take a bigoted stand and be all moralistic for others because they decide what is right and wrong for themselves.

  • Chris91172

    and the straight sauna’s that have swinger parties??? they should shut down too… or is this internalised homophobia at work again

    • Truth

      TOTALLY correct! Some gay people can be more homophobic than heterosexuals. Don’t EVER be brainwashed into self-hatred …

  • Sparkyu1

    No no no, respectability politics are a loss

    Either straight society accepts GBLT people as equal or they don’t. Not “equal so long as you behave” Or “equal so long as you fit arbitrary standards” or “equal so long as straight people find you palatable”.

    Straight people do all kinds of awful things (not suggesting saunas are awful because I don’t think they are) and no-one decides straight folks as a whole are undeserving of equality. If GBLT people try to shut down everything that straight folks find unpalatable to gain equality then we won’t have equality – we’ll have barely veiled tolerance sustained only by our continued subservience.

    Besides, the same people who lose their ever loving minds over our saunas also lose their ever loving mind because we kiss, because we hold hands, because we dare to exist openly. It doesn’t matter what we shut down to be appealing to those who deny us equality – so long as we exist, we’re obscene to them.

    If our equality rests on us all conforming to an arbitrary standard of “perfect” behaviour then we are not equal and we will never even achieve the semblance of equality because the bar is too high and there are far too many arbitrary hurdles between us and out goal

    • Rumbelow

      As far as anti-gay bigots are concerned, we ain’t ever gonna be respectable whatever we do or don’t do.
      Anti-gay bigots can never be appeased and will always find something else to condemn us for so their opinions do not warrant consideration.

      • Tony Capo

        thats right f@gg0t. Gods word wont change and neither will I..

        • itsjoe618

          I imagine whatever you have to say is completely irrelevant. Once an idiot….

    • Angel Dust

      Well said.

  • Mike Dalgarno

    Being part of a “community” we become blind-sided to what is outside of our own walls.

    While gay men have saunas, what makes him think that there isn’t something similar in the straight “community”?

    Even I know that there is swinger clubs. I mean even her from Apprentice & Celeb Big Brother (Luisa) was a frequenter.

    Should we ban them too because you don’t approve? Surely we would be going down the route of want religions are trying to do now?

  • RobVan

    Gay saunas are not the reason for bigotry, they are merely an excuse used by bigots. There are similar venues for straight people, but bigots do not seem to have a problem with that.

  • LJR

    Equality and uniformity are not the same thing. Saying that gay culture is made more acceptable by making it like straight culture is like saying that a black person is more welcome in a group of white friends by acting like less of a black person, or that a girl is more welcome in a group of boys by acting less like a girl. Pointing out aspects of gay culture that we think might be harmful to it risks failing to understand the importance of the variety which helps to enrich our lives and inform not only our negative, but our positive experiences as well. It’s ok to be gay, don’t try and straighten us all out.

  • Flynt Lloyd

    If f*cking around is ‘culture’… Sorry, rather I’ll be ‘uncultured’.

    • Rumbelow

      Philistine! (lol)

  • Rumbelow

    Didn’t cottaging begin when homosexuality was criminal and there were no legal venues for men who have sex with other men to meet?

    I don’t frequent gay sauna’s but I think adults must have freedom in what they do and where they do it, prohibition generally doesn’t seem to be a great idea nor does it work, it just moves elsewhere.

    Why not eliminate motorway layby’s to prevent heterosexual dogging spots too?

  • Jaz

    I read James’s book andi have a lot of time for him, but I think on this one he is wrong. I agree that gay saunas may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I don’t think closing them would make an iota of difference and I agree that it would send the wrong message.

    • horseguards

      Trust me, I worked with him at the horseguards, he is not innocent, he is not the victim of everything and he was dishonourably discharged from the Army after years of disobedience. He is a liar and a cheat and will destroy the good intentions of LGBT for his own gain……. .in this case, his book. He gets his name in the media, more people buy his books, do not fall for it.

  • AndyAS

    Do you really think that closing saunas will make the bigots disappear??? Bigots would just find something else to bitch about to satisfy the insatiable needs of their self-righteous BIGOTRY!!!!!

  • TakisPapas

    Just to remind the former soldier:
    Saunas existed long before Christianity named them immoral, and will exist long after Christianity becomes merely a historical memory.

  • FMC

    He’s just another gay who’s decided he’s so much better than every other gay. ‘Ooh read my book about how I’m the only gay in the forces’ ‘oooh what’s that you want to give me awards?’ ‘Ooooh I used to hang around gay places but now I’m mildly famous in the gay community I need to treat everyone like a piece of crap’ Jog on Wharton. You left the army so get off that high horse.

    • JackAlison

      very funny
      i enjoyed reading the … ‘oooh what’s that you want to give me awards?’ ‘Ooooh I used to hang around gay places but now I’m mildly famous in the gay community I need to treat everyone like a piece of crap’

      particularly the awards bit
      In retrospect I kinda feel a bit sorry for this guy….smacks of lack of self esteem…bit sad and pathetic

  • David Greensmith

    Oh look – a gay man who feels that it’s OK to be gay as long as people are gay in the way that he feels it’s OK for for them to be gay. A bit like the bigots who say “why can’t you just keep it to yourself?” Freedom and equality are about freedom to pursue happiness and equal treatment under the law. Not approval. If other people don’t approve of how you live your life – that’s fine. They are entitled to have an opinion. They are not entitled to prevent you from living your life the way you want, or treating you as a second class citizen. And newsflash, sweetie – if you think they disapprove of what goes on in gay saunas you’re an idiot if you think they’re OK with what goes on in the privacy of your bedroom. The point being it doesn’t matter what they think and you shouldn’t either be trying to appease their bigotry, or applying your own.

    • bermeir

      He also appears to be very unobservant; as it is clear to anybody that as a general rule men-regardless of sexuality- are more amenable to casual sex than women (be those women lesbian or heterosexual). Actually this is where a lot of homophobia stems from; gay men being MALE, are more likely to get sex with each other without pretence of romance. Straight men have to work for it with flowers and romance and their hatred is motivated by jealousy.

      You don’t see lesbian saunas because lesbians are women and women don’t usually go out purely for a quick hook-up.

      • JackAlison

        thats a really good point. if straight men had the chance theyd be “at it ” all the time. I agree really no difference except one group gets their jollies quite easily the other not that simple

        • Truth

          Well said above! I have always believed it is for this reason that religion has such a downer on homosexuality. When most of these religions were starting, they needed to swell their numbers (the more followers you have, the more powerful you are). So, they outlawed gay activity because it wasn’t producing offspring (cannon fodder). I think the mere fact they mention it in their old texts shows just how prevalent it was ….

          • TakisPapas

            Indeed it was prevalent. Mainly in the form of bisexuality. It just didn’t matter the sex of the person one slept with. That s why there was no term for what we today call homosexual man or woman. Judaism was strongly against homosexuality and this passed on to christianity after centuries of law enforcement and persecution of free sexual activity. The last legal male brothels of antiquity in Greece were shut down in 610 AD (Yes! that late!)

        • bermeir

          Yes, and with this in mind, it’s easy to see how a straight man who isn’t getting any sex would have a thing against other men who do. I’ve been accused of sexism-better that than a bigot- but a gay man will always have more in common with a straight man than he ever will a woman and a lesbian woman will always have more in common with a straight woman than a man. Don’t blame the gay man for being promiscuous; he’s only doing what straight men would do if women would let them.

  • David Greensmith

    Oh look – a gay man who feels that it’s OK to be gay as long as people are gay in the way that he feels it’s OK for for them to be gay. A bit like the bigots who say “why can’t you just keep it to yourself?” Freedom and equality are about freedom to pursue happiness and equal treatment under the law. Not approval. If other people don’t approve of how you live your life – that’s fine. They are entitled to have an opinion. They are not entitled to prevent you from living your life the way you want, or treating you as a second class citizen. And newsflash, sweetie – if you think they disapprove of what goes on in gay saunas you’re an idiot if you think they’re OK with what goes on in the privacy of your bedroom. The point being it doesn’t matter what they think and you shouldn’t either be trying to appease their bigotry, or applying your own.

  • Cal

    I think he was unwise to call for saunas to be shut down. How would that ever happen unless a homophobic law was brought in? I do understand that many Gay people – even some who frequent them – are embarrassed about the existence of such places. When homosexuality was illegal it could be more dangerous to be in a relationship than to have casual encounters. Our “culture”grew up around this fact. I do believe the ‘scene’ can be an enemy to stability but it is what it is. Gay men are no different to straight men. If straight men could have free sex with a woman in the loo on the way home from the pub……

  • Christopher in Canada

    Close the tubs the minute str8 men stop raping women, and/or abandoning children. Anyone remember Plato’s Retreat?

  • AdrianT

    It’s because of unconsidered, prudish piffle like this that we should use the term ‘commentator’ rather than ‘campaigner’, to describe authors of opinion pieces (that should go for me too). Because that is all it is – comment, to be shot down because it appeals to the most ill-informed homophobic prejudices and double standards, and seeks to appease homophobes who will plenty of reasons to hate gay people. What is the difference between being disgusted at the very thought of consensual goings-on in a sauna, as opposed to being disgusted, like many Ugandans at consensual goings-on in a private property? What business is it of the author’s? This nonsense sounds it is written by someone whose premise is that equality under the law requires the permission of others.
    However, if it’s a career at the Daily Mail he’s after, this is a commendable piece.

  • I think saunas do compromise us politically, but I don’t favour closing them down, because I think they will quietly disappear of their own accord as the need for them dissipates. In my younger years, same sex relationships were an imprisonable offence, so secret meeting places like beats and saunas allowed gay men to meet in privacy.

    Another thing to consider that there are sex-on-premises venues for heterosexuals too, and I don’t see them closing down any time soon. Men are also rather different beasts to women, and this is highlighted by such considerations.

    • JackAlison

      Also we have vivid recounting of young desperate gay men being lured to entrapments by neo nazi russians . If it werent for access to gay saunas maybe this stuff wouldnt happen in such a homophobic society as russia

  • Bill

    I’m 45. Gay. In a monogamous relationship for nearly twenty years. I have never been to a ‘sauna’ or a ‘sex club’ in my entire life and have never had any sexually transmitted diseases of any kind.

    I guess you could say I’m this gay soldier’s wet dream.

    Yet, I find him just as vile as the bigots who seek to oppress.

    While I would never in a million years visit a ‘sauna,’ I also would never in a million years even imagine telling others they shouldn’t.

    And that’s the problem with people of ANY stripe seeking acceptance from the group who despises them and refuses to:

    You have to become just like them when you do.

    No thanks, solider boy.

    I’m not buying any crazy today.

    • lee

      Not everyone who goes to a gay sauna Bill is looking for sex -granted probably many are -I have a friend who goes for a sauna and that really is all he goes there for -he feel more comfortable with his ‘own kind’ His been in relationship for 37 years. Agree I also find this ex solider a bigot

      • Paul

        Oh please! 99.999999% of people who go to gay saunas are there for sex. Why doesn’t he go to a health club?

        • Paul

          And you derived this statistic from where? Oh yeah… your arse

    • JackAlison

      here here!! well said “were all stocked up on crazy”

  • p

    Seriously as a lesbian, I have never come across a lesbian sauna. There probably is but I have never heard or seen of one (well only in the greek stories I have.) I would be delighted if people could send me some directions to find some modern ones :)

    • MecAnglais

      If you are ever in Pau (France) there is a mixed (Gay/Lesbian/Straight) sauna called Le Lokal, it is clean, non-sleasy and friendly, it is mainly Gay & Lesbian

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      You anywhere near Brighton, p? Lesbian sauna “SapphicSpark” awaits you! (Though their website appears dead!) But see details at:

    • p

      I’m a Yorkshire lass, only ever been to France once as for Brighton been a few times but I never came across this sauna. Is there any ‘up north’ so to say….surely there has to be more than just two sauna’s !?

  • Common sense

    Peter Tatchell is once more absolutely correct.

    So this man does not approve of gay saunas. How does he feel about straight brothels, peep shows, clip joints, porn cinemas, massage parlours and escorts?

    Would he want to shut down all of them too or does he just reserve his prudishness for seediness to the gay venues and not the straight?

    • Paul

      Straight brothels are illegal.

  • David1980

    Every death is a tragedy and I find deaths in saunas to be particularly saddening. What a horrible, lonely way to die.

    It’s also really upsetting to think that the deceased person’s personal life will be the subject of an Inquest. No family deserves to hear about the death of a loved one in such circumstances.

    But, nobody cares. We care (at least, I hope we do), but the straight press don’t and sauna activity is hardly newsworthy. So, why did he feel the need to bring people’s attention to it?

    The Daily Mail starts having a seizure and instigates a moral panic every time a white female dies from drugs, whom was aged between 16 -24 yeas old and was from a middle class background. When a gay person dies of drugs, nobody cares. It’s not even newsworthy, sadly. 

    Straight people probably don’t even want to think about gay saunas, but they certainly care when they encounter men having a sexy time in the bushes when they are out walking their dogs. Why target saunas? It may only push cruising from public sex venues outside in to public sex environments.

    Also, cruising has become digitalised. People hook up on Grindr and the biggest ‘threat’ to ‘respectability’ is people meeting up for Tina Parties where they slam and engage in unsafe activities.  At least saunas are safer in some respects. 

    The comments are completely out of touch. If being ‘respectable’ means acting as if we were straight then it implies that anyone who does not identify with that narrative is somehow abnormal. How very Tory. If ‘equality’ means restricting freedoms then it is just discrimination by stealth. How very Orwellian. 

    People should have the freedom to do as they please (within reason) and stigmatising them is no way to bring about change. The use of drugs to facilitate sex and the convenience of hook-up apps have created a perfect storm, in London at least, for considerable public health issues to manifest, like HIV transmission, drug addiction and mental health concerns. If the language of choice to describe these issues comes from the Toxic Tory Dictionary, then we cannot have frank discussions about what is happening within the gay ‘community’ in a neutral and constructive manner.

  • bermeir

    This guy has clearly not grasped what it is to be male; men -be they gay or straight- are more open to no-strings-attached sex than women. It’s safe to say that the only reason straight men don’t have more casual sex is because women don’t let them. This is just the way it is.
    Just because he wishes to be like a woman (and by this I mean lesbian and straight women), his choice. He’s not behaving like a typical male, though. And how dare he tell people how to live?

  • lee

    Never heard of you James just Googled you name -so you wrote a book and have been in the forces.

    What have you actually done for gay rights as of today?

    I think you may live in another world to most gay people. In fact your head id so far up your backside you could clean your own teeth.

    Closing down sauna’s will not change the haters in this world – you really are full of poo mate.

    What makes you think everyone in the sauna is looking for sex? Please don’t go out there in public giving the view you represent me as a gay man -you don’t.

  • Mark Y

    What an idiot. I’ve never been in a ‘gay’ sauna in my life, but I wouldn’t judge anyone who does.

  • MecAnglais

    Saunas are what you make of them, there is one I have visited many times in Blackpool (wet wet wet) which is very friendly and non-sleasy…. no-one makes you go upstairs! all of the legit facilities (hot tub, sun deck, sauna, steam room, lounge etc) are downstairs in fully lit places. Some are not so pleasant. I have skin problems and cannot afford a sauna at home… plus you meet some nice people.

  • Mal

    I don’t think saunas should be banned. But it would be nice to see a culture change within the gay community where there is less emphasis on promiscuous sex and more on long lasting relationships.

    • ta

      I think the whole emphasis on promiscuous sex is rather hypocritical. I don’t have statistics, but I’m willing to bet straight people are just as promiscuous, but we’re expected not to ‘flaunt’ our sexuality and be good little gays and lesbians so as not to have the poor, delicate straight people grossed out. One rule for them, another rule for us, huh?

      • paul

        Not true. Study after study shows we have higher partner numbers and higher STI rates. Obviously no one should mention this because we’re all giving a good kicking to the person who questioned it! How dare he!

        • Truth

          But is it really anyone’s business? I really couldn’t give a monkey’s who does what to who in consensual adult relationships. I think this level of hand-wringing and nosey-neighbour behaviour is a mark of an immature society – one which still clings to patriarchal, religious authoritarianism. We really should learn to grow-up and stop being so concerned what other people are doing. Live and let live ….

    • RickyWW

      And, you don’t think this has more to do with our being men, rather than our being gay? If straight men had the same access to sex as we do, they would be doing the same thing. Our orientation has nothing to do with it.

  • food 4 thought

    this is rich considering he used to organise monthly parties at KU bar (soho) with the lgbt armed forces/ other public services… and frequent saunas himself

    • Truth

      “Me thinks the lady doth protest too loudly ….”

  • Jon

    Ok is he gonna shut down al the str8 nocking shops too? Or is he expecting them to accept gays too? Get real!

  • GulliverUK

    His theories about life, the Universe and right and wrong are evolving – I just wish he would give it another twenty or thirty years before giving us the benefit of his insight ! I don’t go to saunas, I don’t have sex in them, but if I did go and did have sex that would be my business. It’s adult consensual sex.

  • JackAlison

    I knew this would happen. Same sex marriage does not mean you are a cut above the rest. Youre a WHOLE person whether youre in a relationship or not. Im NOT half a person because im single. So now soldier nobody feels hes mainstreamed because he just got married?! Boy what eva medication he is on I want some it.The world has moved on but bigotry is ever present and it is a vigilant fight. But to have it coming from someone who should know better does not surprise me. At the heart of his arguement is wanting to belong. Good luck with that one. Be yourself and rely on yourself not what mainstream society believes is right. MESSAGE TO PLANET SOLDIER….I DONT WANT TO BE MAINSTREAMED, OR SUBURBAN OR A COUPLE WITH SURRAGOTE CHILDREN WALKING TOY BREED DOGS…….NO THX. If others do ..Im fine with it!!! But dont preach that that mind numbing life is normal.

    • PaulBrownsey

      It’s not mind-numbing.

      • JackAlison

        liki said ‘Im fine withit’ lol but not 4 me

  • Paul

    I do wish the media, and particularly gay media, wouldn’t give publicity to gay people who represent no-one but themselves. I’ve never heard of this person. All I want to hear from him is how grateful he is to the four brave men and women who took the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights and removed the ban on gays serving in the armed forces.

  • Dany Zack

    I could say a lot, but there’s only one thing I can think of: burke!

  • PaulBrownsey

    45 comments and no-one attempts to defend him.

    That just shows how wrong he is, doesn’t it?

    Or does it? It would be good to see someone attempt a line of thought whose conclusion is that in certain circumstances, for certain people, the undoubted fun of gay saunas may not be the last word in what it is to be gay; that just possibly there is something in the inklings that occupied our dreams when we were kids that does not find its truest fulfilment in a blow job in the ‘rest’ area…

    Which would not be to say that gay saunas should be shut down.

    • Carl

      That’s the whole point of the gay rights movement – the opinions and beliefs of some people should not dictate what others can or can’t do. He finds saunas revolting, so what? Don’t use them. But don’t ask everyone else to agree with your opinion let alone ask others to behave like you think is right.
      That is why his statement is un-defendable.

      • Truth

        I don’t think he’s saying that. He’s saying that the straight ‘perception’ is of saunas being revolting and that if we want true equality, we’d better clean-up our act. Personally, I couldn’t give a flying f**k what the straight perception is. I don’t see why anyone should change their PRIVATE consensual adult behaviour simply to be ‘accepted’. Where would that end? The formation of the ‘sex-police’? We have to grow-up about these things …..

        • Paul

          Not really. For it to be equal then the suggestion should be to close ALL saunas, brothels, sex clubs.. Both hetero and homo ones. Otherwise to close only the gay ones IS not promoting equality really is it?

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      Paul, I think nearly all of the comments in this thread do not proclaim that, as you have implied, gay saunas are “the last word in what it is to be gay”. What nearly everyone here has rightly responded to is the insinuation by this self-congratulating young man that most gay men spend hours having promiscuous sex in saunas. It’s simply not true. Furthermore, many square men also enjoy promiscuous sex – in certain hotels, straight saunas, dogging areas, and private parties. (A bisexual young Asian friend of mine has told me of 100s of men and women getting together in South London for orgiastic group sex.)

    • AdrianT

      You could defend James to a certain extent, and maybe there is an article here. You could advise against falling into a loop of hook-up website – clubs – drugs – sauna and unsafe sex, from the perspective of Socrates’ ‘unconsidered life’: aimless, without forethought, without principle, leaving things to chance (including one’s own safety and that of others), and not living up to one’s own potential.
      What you have to do is advise, warn, reason with people so that they might see for themselves, there are so many other things to do. Ruining the brain, the instrument that enables the ‘good life’ with excesses of drugs – including nicotine and alcohol – is a great pity.James though offers uninspiring arguments, with no vision. Instead of offering an alternative (appealing to filling potential, or expression of wonder, or pursuit of knowledge, etc) he seeks to rely on force and fear of others’ opinions, to promote his viewpoint. The void, once the saunas are closed, would be filled by grindr or the local park.

  • Gordon Hopps

    It appears to me that this ex-soldier has just shot himself in the foot!

  • Keith

    There is no such thing as a gay sauna in the UK. The equalities act states that no service may be refused on the grounds of sexual orientation, hence the Devon B&B debacle.
    Whilst it is true that many homosexuals are attracted to saunas because they can ogle the bodies of strangers, the sauna room is a public facility, like a bus or a library, and it is unlawful to commit acts of indecency in such a place. For this reason, some saunas that are marketed to appeal to homos have private facilities for such liasons. Shutting down saunas serves no purpose, however, any sauna that is found to have breached indecency laws or tolerated drug abuse or allowed indecent activity in the actual sauna or other non private area should be closed down. I favour a zero tolerance approach to indecent public behaviour, homo or straight.

    • JackAlison

      I favor u being taken to the sling room and being publicly f+cked by all in the facilty for spouting such meritricious nonscence…lol

  • James!

    anti gay Scum trying to be respectable. Mate you’ll always be the cocksucker when you leave the room

    • PaulBrownsey

      Oh dear, you do seem to regard “cocksucker” as an insult.

  • We all see things.
    No matter what road our individual lives take us on.
    To label an entire segment of society because of that allusion though.
    Well it begs the question…’Just what is it you have been up to?’.
    Who’s guilt is it we are witness to here exactly?

    • Paul

      Exactly.. allwoig his personal experiecned to discriminate the people who do not even partake in these.

  • A Real Man

    I Agree with him. Whorehouses have been closed down all around my country. No one misses them . No one.If you wanna be seen as a person act like it.

  • spiritbody

    I really dont get this guys point at all. Sounds like he has a personal opinion that saunas are sleezy. Which is fine, he can hold that opinion if he so chooses to. Why he thinks that his opinion should result in the closing down of every sauna in the country is almost laughable. If he holds his opinion because he feels that straight people don’t meet for group sex, and therefore theres a big difference in our sexual behaviours which keeps us separate (ie:not equal), then he’s even more dumb than I first thought! Or maybe he feels that the ‘undergroundness’ of saunas is too representative of the past, when men had to meet in secret. In that case, Id like to ask him what kind of sex he thinks we should all be having. Is only meeting, dating and then sex acceptable? I mean, I dont want anyone to feel like they cant ‘come out’ and therefore HAVE to use saunas- of course Id like to see attitudes change. But in the meantime they serve a real purpose for many closeted men AND a lot of out gay men ENJOY saunas! This is the point that a lot of people miss. A lot of us CHOOSE to have non attached sex. As long as we are responsible and STI/STD aware, then there is no issue here.

  • Paul

    The guy says shut down gay saunas and he’s a bigot? Really? Is it any wonder so many gay men don’t feel part of ‘this community’

    • Paul

      I think the point is that this article almost makes it sound like there are no heterosexual venues of the same sort. Yet there are. So basically it is discrimination. Why should hetero sex clubs, brothels and dogging be perfectly allowed and gays version of this should be shut down? So we have to be denied a sexual outlet that heterosexuals are allowed for us to gain equal rights? A bit contradictory don’t you think?

      I don’t use gay saunas I am in a monogamous relationship however regardless of this I do not think the gay people who do like to go to these places should be denied this right when heterosexuals aren’t denied it.

      Simple really.

  • Read

    Time to realise these right-wing gay cnuts are your enemy, boys.
    A poster boy for gay marriage and gay soldiers will serve only power.

    • Gaz Wkd

      He’s an ex soldier and in no way shape or form represents us. Very much the opposite.

      • Craig Smith

        Seconded, Gaz and I were both in the forces and have the displeasure of knowing Wharton. He will happily play the the poor soldier who had to run to prince harry for protection after several years of treating people like dirt, hampering the MOD LGBT, bullying, harassment and all sorts. Lets me also point out he was discharged dishonourably on these grounds, he did NOT leave of his own intentions. He was given the choice of leaving quietly or military prison. Every time you guys see an article about him he gets his name mentioned and what does he have to gain?? Is it really a case of him trying to further LGBT rights, or simply trying to get more sales of his book?

        He is a disgrace to the MOD, LGBT rights and the people who used to work with him, even Stonewall have dropped him. Unlike most people i’m not afraid to put my name to this, and i’m not hampered by being in the Navy anymore so I can speak freely unlike my colleagues who are still in service.

        James if you are reading this, please realise that you are not god, you are not immortal, you are not always right and try to be a human being like the rest of us.

  • Dimka Dmitry

    That’s what makes gay lifestyle better – we get sex when we want it, not ruining families, not pretending not to be who we are: men wants sex. Always. With different partners.

    • Truth

      You are correct Dimka … although it is my experience that gay saunas are often full of ‘heterosexual’ (ha!) married men.

  • Dimka Dmitry

    That’s what makes gay lifestyle better – we get sex when we want it, not ruining families, not pretending not to be who we are: men wants sex. Always. With different partners.
    And… Gays like this are just too young or …homophobic.

  • Robert W. Pierce

    Oh James, it’s no different than hetero males seeking out prostitutes and paying for it, all manner of sexual escapades too. What next? No, I don’t condone unsafe sex practices but the majority of people who go to saunas don’t engage in sex.

  • Lee W Dalgleish

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like saunas, I have never been to one and I never will go to one… BUT people do choose to go there and I assume they are regulated? It pays into the tax system?
    If you are going to close these saunas then are you going to clamp down on down on strip clubs, venues in Soho and Amsterdam? What about prostitution and even dogging. All of these things occur in the gay AND straight communities. People have explored their sexualities and fetishes since time began. If he doesn’t like them then do what I do and avoid them at all costs. It’s not the sort of venue all people frequent anyway.

    I think realistically that bigots will use whatever ammo they can to attack gay people, regardless of if saunas exist or not. I don’t think it’s saunas that are the issue. It’s the homophobes and bigots that are the bigger issue. That being said, if you are going to frequent these sort of places then one would hope that protection is used and risks are minimal. I am more concerned about educating teens/adults on the importance of safe sex and about STIs/HIV.

    • Paul

      Exactly my point too. You said exactly what I posted above I should have read yours first haha

  • David

    Sounds like James Wharton is making mountains out of mole
    hills. Such a divisive opinions are usually more about establishing ones name
    than contributing anything to the issue at hand.

    As for the straights, I can understand that a place where
    people go for mutual and consenting fun might be cause for concern. The
    straight equivalent (and they do exist) the rules are very different. Straight
    sex clubs usually have strict rules; “No single men”, “Mixed sex couples only”
    or “Single Women get in free”. There are places where straight men can go and
    pay for sex but that is not the same, it might be consenting but it’s usually
    not mutual. If they’re feeling lucky they can always go dogging up Homebase car
    park on a Sunday night.

    But there is a distinct lack of balance in there are way
    more men into this sort of thing than women. If straight men could sort each
    other out this article would not exist. The issue is probably more with to do
    with gay men having more opportunities for sex than straight men.

    So to say “Sauna’s are holding us back” is incredibly naive.

  • Jesus_Mohammed

    Does James Wharton also want all heterosexual saunas and brothels to be closed down? If he is truly concerned about equality, he will. If he hasn’t called for ALL saunas and brothels to be closed down then there’s some kindly of internalised homophobia going on, OR he’s pandering to heterosexual homophobes and bigots. Will he be writing a column for the Daily Mail next? Could be.

    • JackAlison

      Hes prolly in conference with rupert murdoch right now. Murdoch loves class traitors.Its a lil harsh I know but to say something like this about saunas and equating it with equality is so left field , curve ball and random .. Im like how do u make that connection?

  • Hmmm… is this just an attempt to shift copies of a brand spanking-new magazine title?

  • Steve Cheney

    Anyone who has less respect for gay people because, shock horror, some of them would choose to have anonymous sex with strangers, doesn’t have much respect for us to offer.

    I don’t care much for saunas, but I don’t need them to disappear just to prevent myself from visiting them and being disgusted by them. Gay rights have kind of depended on people NOT taking that attitude.

  • Paul

    Am I missing something? Out of all of the homophobic content I have seen in any form of trying to demonise being gay I have not seen the mention of a sauna once.

    It is usually misassociation of gays to paedophiles or that all Gays have “AIDS” it’s wrong by the bible (which can be refuted here: ). I do not think the existence of saunas does anything to harm our equal rights. Bigots literally pick any reason that best suits their prejudice even if it is NOT factually correct.

    Also how can it be equal and like others have mentioned then what about hetero brothels/saundas? Swingers parties and all of those non gay activities including non traditional sexual activities?

    Every orientation has their fetishes/extreme activities. To claim this is limited to gays is homophobic in itself. To come from another gay is rather disturbing. Prob letting his new found fame inflate his ego a little and now trying to be all proper and perfect.

    All he is doing is drawing homophobic attention where it is not needed. I do not use the saunas and don’t see why a sauna being open should oppress my freedoms as an individual.

  • Keith, pro sauna

    There is no such thing as a gay sauna in the UK. The equalities act states that no service may be refused on the grounds of sexual orientation, hence the Devon B&B debacle.
    Whilst it is true that many homosexuals are attracted to saunas because they can ogle the bodies of strangers, the sauna room is a public facility, like a bus or a library, and it is unlawful to commit acts of indecency in such a place. For this reason, some saunas that are marketed to appeal to homos have private facilities for such liasons. Shutting down saunas serves no purpose, however, any sauna that is found to have breached indecency laws or tolerated drug abuse or allowed indecent activity in the actual sauna or other non private area should be closed down. I favour a zero tolerance approach to indecent public behaviour, homo or straight..

  • Jock S.Trap

    It’s not gay saunas that don’t give us equality it’s nasty bigots who keep wanting to label and finger point. Using Gay saunas is an excuse not a reason. We have saunas for others so why not Gay people?

    It’s a ridiculous comment. Closing gay saunas because they are gay would mean inequality. If it’s something enjoyed then so what what ‘the haters’ think. They just need an excuse but it’s a pathetic one.

    If you don’t like saunas, like myself then don’t go but don’t use it as an excuse to the very people you talk about by denying it to others.

    Equality doesn’t come by denying it comes from accepting all do it and those that do enjoy it equally.

  • =Keith/

    There is no such thing as a gay sauna in the UK. The equalities act states that no service may be refused on the grounds of sexual orientation, hence the Devon B&B debacle.
    Whilst it is true that many homosexuals are attracted to saunas because they can ogle the bodies of strangers, the sauna room is a public facility, like a bus or a library, and it is unlawful to commit acts of indecency in such a place. For this reason, some saunas that are marketed to appeal to homos have private facilities for such liasons. Shutting down saunas serves no purpose, however, any sauna that is found to have breached indecency laws or tolerated drug abuse or allowed indecent activity in the actual sauna or other non private area should be closed down. I favour a zero tolerance approach to indecent public behaviour, homo or straight.

  • Keiith

    Seems I am being censored

    • Christopher in Canada

      Seems you are being many things, censored being the least of your worries.

  • Vic

    It could be our Soldier ‘friend’ is still struggling against his personal identity and what he hopes others wont think of him! (What was that about ‘responses to dominance’ and coping strategies..Aquiesce – Resist – Withdraw). “Look at me although I’m gay i’m not one of those sleazy ones” Not a lot different to some homophobic guys – who turn out later to be gay. He’ll get though it…. . Its a journey and we’re not all on the same one OR started at the same place. Then again, I wonder excatly what he did say… and what context the press may have adjusted…. or left out?

  • David Bridle

    James is directly linking the existence and
    use of gay saunas with more HIV infections and yet most gay saunas I
    know have piles of condoms available all over the place.

    Yes, some gay men don’t use condoms in saunas.
    If you are are HIV positive and on successful HIV treatment you are not
    going to pass HIV on with an undetectable viral load no matter how much
    bareback sex you have; if you are on PrEP treatment and HIV negative,
    the scientific expectation is you are not going to become infected even
    if you don’t use a condom.

    The problem is not having sex in
    saunas – with one, two or multiple men – the problem is if you don’t
    know your HIV status and bareback.

    But that is the same
    problem if you pick someone up at G-A-Y Bar, Comptons, XXL or Beyond, on
    Grindr, Scruff or Hornet, or at a sex club etc etc. If you go home with
    someone and have unprotected sex with him without knowing your HIV
    status you are risking giving him HIV (were you to have the virus).

    It’s not where we have sex, how we have sex, what sex we have…. it’s
    whether we know our HIV status which matters above all else.

    Do you know your status James?

    (For the record, I’m positive and on HIV treatment – for 18 years – with undetectable viral load).

    • Lennard

      While I totally agree with your line of reasoning, can I ask where you heard or learned that bareback sex doesn’t carry the risk of transmitting HIV when someone has an undetectable viral load? I know the odds of spreading HIV in those circumstances is very small, but it’s not exactly zero, is it?:S

  • Lennard

    Banning or shutting down gay saunas would be the most cowardly thing I can think of. Some gays like casual sex, some don’t. They’re like regular people that way. Saying the existence of gay saunas gives the homosexual community a bad rep is nothing but validating existing and hurtful prejudices.
    As far as HIV goes…safe sex IS a choice, no matter where you are or who you’re with.

    I’m sure the concept of a sauna where men come to have sex may not sound appealing to many people. That’s okay. Equality doesn’t mean everybody has to like what gays do in their own time and place. I for one wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a sex club for straight people. That’s not because I don’t like those people. It’s just because I don’t like vaginas.

    If gay saunas give gays a bad rep, then surely this must be the case for any kind of establishment where people come to feed their sexual urges (I’m sure there are clubs and places for most fetishes and orientations).

    I strongly disagree with James Wharton: if you want equality, you DO NOT cave to what other people may or may not think of you. The very point of equality is you don’t give a crap what people think, because equality means it doesn’t matter.

    It would seem Wharton is a bit at odds with what the word ‘equality’ entails. That, or he’s still at odds with what his own sexuality entails. It’s a shame he channels that feeling by expressing words that stand in the way of equality.

  • James Campbell

    I’m confused here. By this soldier’s ‘logic’, if gay people want equality they must campaign to get gay men’s saunas shut down? Having struck this blow for freedom will they then be accepted as equals if they kerb crawl (for ladies of the night), go to lap dancing clubs and mixed sex swinger parties?

    At the end of this month the first gay weddings will be celebrated. So all this progress was achieved by lesbian & gay people behaving more like straight (and normal) folks – or was it more to do with the justice of their cause?

  • Laurence James

    I’d rather close down the army first

  • Jason Park

    Oh dear… All I have to say on this is that we cannot hope for equality by changing!

    That’s not equality, that’s assimilation!

  • Alan

    James epitomises everything his pals at Stonewall ‘wants’ us to be. They see the army, or being on the board of some bank, or lawyers, entrepreneurs (just look at their Workplace Equality Index!) as ‘respectable’. Stonewall promotes the ‘family’- having kids and want us to get married. I agree that gay people have the right to all of these and that there shouldn’t be any impediment to them, but they ignore (seemingly out of choice) many other gay people who do not wish to fit in with hetero-normative lifestyles. To be ‘accepted’ shouldn’t depend on acquiescence. Not everyone either wishes or chooses to fit a certain ‘norm’. They just wish to be accepted for who they are and to live their life without fear of being labelled in a negative way. You certainly won’t see a Stonewall Poster saying “Some People Use Gay Saunas, Get Over It!” because it doesn’t fit with their ‘normative’ agenda. The gay rights movement came out of liberation and celebrating difference. I fear that much of this has been lost.

  • cain pales

    ok…..cant say about the saunas but, there are a lot of things that gay queens do that i as a gay guy hate. Like i will never attend a pride parade untill and unless it stopped being an “ASS SHOW”. Just because you are gay doesnt mean you flaunt your ass and dicks in public. there are millions of closeted people because they are ashamed to come out because of the stereotypes the OUT GAY PEOPLE defined to the society. sissies? well a little bit might be okay but so many gays are more feminine than girls. why?? do you really have to act?? and i do however agree that these saunas contribute to AIDS. Your Travuda is a joke desgined to fool sluts into not using condoms.

  • Guest

    mmm hang on a minute. I’m not a bloke so I obviously don’t visit these saunas. But, there are Plenty! of hetrosexual sex parties, or hidden clubs that hold tawdry nights for sexual encounters and other experiences. To turn around and say gay men should stop theirs, to be accepted is an absolute crock of s…. If a hetro person has an issue with it, then that person is either homophobic anyway, or belongs in a convent, because Gay or Str8, these types of nights exist for both.

  • Zowie

    Do you think sex does not go on in hetero land ummm not in my game hon

  • Staircase2

    Absolute bollocks

    The irony which seems lost on James is one which is bamboozling all the ‘let’s be normaloids’.

    In many ways, the sexual revolution has been carried out alongside the gay rights movement. As Peter Tatchell quite rightly says, we should be fighting FOR the rights of consenting adults to do whatever they wish to do with each other rather than jumping onto the ‘well we’re all married now so let’s ditch anything which Mary Whitehouse would deem inappropriate and embarrassing’

    We mustn’t forget that the problem is to do with traditional straight squeamishness regarding sex, not the liberated concept of it that gay communities have traditionally espoused.

    We’re on a hiding to nothin if we believe that only sex inside marriage is acceptable. As other comments have said, this smacks of internalised homophobia.

    • Staircase2

      As someone else has said, the issue is about Equality, not that we should be doing ‘something’ to bring it about but that we should be treated equally regardless.

      James is getting himself into a normaloid pickle in an attempt to make himself into whatever straight society has programmed him into believing he should be.

      As someone said, bending over backwards to be as hetero as possible will not stop people from discriminating against us.

  • John

    Loud gay people are the ones creating a bad image for gay people ie camp men who sleep around and are judgemental even in a ‘funny’ way ie ‘bitch’ ‘oh my god’ ‘state of her’ etc. They make problems for the majority of gay men who aren’t camp and want normal relationships without prancing in peoples faces. Stop being hypocrites. Saunas are dirty for both straight and gay. How about be the bigger ones and ban them before straight ones? o wait that would be too dignified for the loud gays.

  • Lola

    James is right. Its all about public perception. If you are straight guy doing hedonistic stuff then you are the man, but if you are gay guy doing same things then you are sleazy and dirty. That’s because saunas, cruising and cottaging are mainly associated with gay community.

  • Dazzer

    It’s telling that James Wharton, who has been a commenter on this site before, hasn’t seen fit to defend his views.

  • Brian Byrne

    Who ? what ? So we should close Saunas to accommodate Str8 perceptions of gays ? Then what ? I am sure his intention was a really good intention. And Good intentions make great paving slabs on which road ?

  • DeeMan

    I started writing a lengthy, intellectual commentary on the above. . But sometimes you just gotta tell it like is it. “Wrong; Bad; No; STOP!!”

    Equality is NOT conditional..
    NOT all users are STI-riddled sex junkies. .

    Blah blah, that’s been said already. . However, have we considered the men who for whatever reason find it difficult or even impossible to engage in sex away from these establishments for fear of exposure. Or even the men who, possibly for the same reason may seek unconsenting sex with others which goes unrecorded because such places exist. Prostitution also serves a similar purpose. .

    Finally Soldier Boy, your marriage or CP was made possible because people were brave, steadfast and true believers in equality and would, as am I, be appealed at such blatant public hypocrisy.

    Yuck. !

  • John P

    WOW….what does he think of say The Playboy Mansion or Platos Retreat or The Hustler Club…..what good for the Gay is good fore the Straight I say~~~

  • Darijen Zornaen

    ….this type of criticism is understandable–although if all Gay Saunas were shut down there would be an increase of Gay men having sex in Parks and public toilets….the problem remains with the ‘history of attitudes’ towards Gay men. Heterosexuals need to stop judging and thinking that all Gay men are dirty etc and subhuman.

  • Daniel

    Wharton forgets that he is famous for being gay, and not very much more. Perhaps he should realise before trying to distance himself from the gay community.
    Gay Saunas, like any other lifestyle are there for those who to choose to use them. This puritan repressed attitude towards sexuality is what makes Britain a complete laughing stock.

  • Tony Capo

    God hates f@gs.

  • Anthony Maxwell

    I absolutely agree with this. Gay saunas were born in a time when being gay was very taboo, and secretive – many patrons in those days were probably married – but you don’t see straight people needing these sort of establishments. Anyone who says they don’t go to these places for sex is LYING. If you want to use these facilities, get a gym membership. 15/20 years ago perhaps saunas were necessary, but the world has changed and and we should change with it.

    I should add that I hate the term “gay lifestyle” – Can someone define this for me? I get “gay culture”, but that’s totally different.

    • “the world has changed and and we should change with it.” Why?

      “you don’t see straight people needing these sort of establishments” – because straight people are the barometer of all that is good and true, ’tis known.

      Also your comment indicates you feel it is wrong to seek out sex. Why is that?

  • Self-loathing pissweasel.

  • Peter

    Yeah and shut down brothels to attain equality of heterosexuals as well

  • Serkan M

    I actually agree with the soldier. I think we now live in a civilised society and there is, now, no need for men to go to saunas to have sex.

    All it has done, is given gay men a bad reputation (promiscuity, drugs, unsafe sex). I don’t think it should be encouraged by saunas.

    If people want to go then OK but I just don’t see how going around and having sex with random men is a positive thing to society. For example we now know that HIV among gay men has recently increased. The USA shut down there saunas for this very reason.

  • Frank Boulton

    It’s a pretty sweeping generalisation to suggest that all gay saunas and all of their clients are the same. My favourite sauna is far from being a cruising joint – not that I wish to imply that people shouldn’t cruise. The notion that we should fit someone else’s behavioural standard smacks of the argument, “They’re alright as long as they know their place.”

  • bill cort

    Why would I want equality with something that is inferior? I want my civil partnership and not marriage, I want the right to do what I want to do, and not have brainwashed members of a straight society of ‘Breeders’ trying to impose the morals that have been imposed on them in order to create a capitalist trap of mortgages and babies.
    I mean breeding in an over populated world, where’s the Morals in that?
    Gay people have a chance to step out of the trap and create a better and fairer world, but they won’t do it by conforming to the values of a cowed and manipulated straight society, but then what would you expect from someone who thinks it’s all right to take money for killing people?

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