Getting Naked at a German Spa
When I planned my move to Berlin, I already knew that one of the items I wanted to scratch off my “living in Germany” bucket list was to get naked at a German spa.
I dreamed of feeling the “freedom” of walking around naked in public, with complete confidence in myself, and as if it were completely normal. I wanted to banish my very Canadian prudishness and embrace that carefree European lifestyle.
But the narrow minded spirit that comes from being raised in a straight-laced religious Christian household is hard to dispel overnight. I needed full immersion right away if this was really going to happen and undertake a sort of “shock and awe” campaign into complete and total nakedness.
Getting Naked at a German Spa
That being said, I remember the very first time I went naked at a German sauna as clearly as if it happened yesterday.
I was invited by a Canadian friend to Kristall-Saunatherme Ludwigsfelde, a spa facility not far from Berlin. This particular spa is almost like hanging out at a nudist colony, as people don’t just remove their clothing when they enter the sauna but in the changing area when they first enter the building. They swim, eat, drink, and walk around completely naked.
As we took the regional train out to Ludwigsfelde, I was paralyzed by fear. My heart was beating fast and I felt faint. I wasn’t sure if I could go through with my “mission”.
My friend was very supportive and talked me through the entire experience, telling me what to expect, and explaining sauna etiquette, such as not to place your bare ass on a bench as doing so will bring on the wrath of angry Germans. She also told me about how spa attendants enter the sauna from time to time, place aromatic oil on the heater, and whip a wet towel in front of you to distribute heat more evenly. I rather wickedly wondered if this person’s official title was “towel whipper” and if they have business cards.
I asked her if it this place was really just a massive swingers club and if the “spa” was simply a pretense, like the ones that dot the airport strip back home in Toronto where men receive “happy endings” from under aged, illegally imported, Eastern European girls. She laughed but I’d only been half joking with my question. I’d heard stories long before moving to Germany.
So yes, the real fun started in the unisex change room. Men and women, young and old, big and small, pretty and ugly, were all freely walking around naked. There were small stalls where you can get changed but there wasn’t really any point in using them, as everyone would soon see all you have to offer.
At first, I felt a peculiar mixture of fascination and horror. I just couldn’t stop staring as I’d never seen so much flesh at one time. Some thoughts that crossed my mind — “So that’s how low your breasts hang when you’re 60?” and “Is he really that hairy or is he just wearing a shirt?”
As my prudishness hadn’t yet been conquered, I naturally rented a robe and changed in a stall. Shortly afterward, my friend and I headed to the pool area to grab a lounge chair and relax.
Being Naked in Front of Others
It was finally time for the “big reveal” — it was time for me to get naked!
My friend casually tossed off her robe and confidently walked down to the pool, inviting me to follow. I stood back at our lounge chair and fended off a minor panic attack. With slow practiced breaths, I calmed myself down. I removed my robe and waited for lightening to strike or people to point and laugh. I thought I’d blind others with my pasty white body. I looked around to see if people were staring at me. No one was. I was naked, just like everyone else and it was normal.
After recovering from the initial shock of being naked in public, I ran as fast as I could to the pool. My friend, clearly amused at my bashful behaviour, said that running was perhaps not the “best” idea if I didn’t want to attract attention to myself. It’d been a bit of a Baywatch moment!
While pretending the water hid my nudity, I looked around the spa. There were two large heated pools, a waterfall, swim-up bar, and an outdoor pool that you could easily swim out to, and enjoy a naked afternoon under the sun. In addition to a hammam room and a steam sauna, there were also about 10 – 15 different dry saunas with various temperatures and aromas. You could even plan your sauna times according to when the towel whippers come in to perform their rituals.
As it was a nice day, we decided to head outside. I’d never thought in a million years that I’d be swimming and walking around outside naked, but there I was naked in Germany, embracing that carefree European lifestyle the way I’d so desired.
Have you ever wondered if Germans swim naked? They do! Read more about German nudity and swimming.
Under the sun we chatted about how I was feeling. I couldn’t stop laughing and crossing my arms over my chest in a futile effort to hide my breasts. It struck me as funny that in all the years we’d known each other, we’d never seen one another naked.
Being Comfortable with Nudity
As the hours passed, the awkwardness eased, and I began to feel more confident.
I also still couldn’t stop staring, a definite faux pas at any German spa! You have to be rather discrete if you plan on staring at the other naked people. Unfortunately for my friend and I, most people at the spa were old, overweight, or completely unattractive. Except for one rather handsome man, with a perfect form and tan lines that revealed that he’d spent most of his summer in a speedo. I never spoke with him, but didn’t hesitate at glancing at him frequently throughout the day.
I learned a lot about myself that day. I found that I was capable of getting naked and being absolutely comfortable doing so. I saw how being naked in a sauna or spa is not such a big deal. I felt proud to have overcome my fears and accomplish my bizarre personal mission.
I now get naked in spas and saunas on a regular basis without a care in the world.
Tip: As I’m such a fan of the German sauna, I frequently get naked at Vabali Spa in Berlin, a Balinese inspired spa with indoor and outdoor pools, several saunas, a gym, onsite restaurant, and more.
Reactions to my Nude Escapades
The reactions from others when I told them about my day at the spa were varied.
Most Germans expressed amusement at how enthusiastic I was about my German spa experience. Some even told me that they wouldn’t be brave enough do what I did. Seriously, I was more open to getting naked than a native German? Canadian friends weren’t so kind. One said that moving to Europe had made me “fucking weird” and we never spoke again. Others said that while they admired my courage, as they confessed that could just never get naked in public.
Men asked me if guys in the spa were were walking around with erections because of all the beautiful women. They said they would never go naked because they feared walking around in an aroused state all day. I told them the older, larger women would certainly destroy their erotic fantasies. Obviously, I was only joking — I told them German saunas are not at all sexual and that often, families and colleagues enjoy the German spa together.
How about you? Would you, could you get publicly naked in Germany or elsewhere? Have you been naked and how did it feel that very first time?
Expats Talk About Getting Naked at the German Spa
For some other expat accounts of getting naked in Germany, check out these great blog posts:
- Back to Berlin and Beyond – http://ianandebe.blogspot.de/2013/11/berlins-tropical-island-getting-naked.html
- Monkeys and Mountains – http://monkeysandmountains.com/german-sauna
- Travels of Adam – http://travelsofadam.com/2012/07/getting-naked-in-berlin/
Experts Talk About Getting Naked at the German Spa
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