Hey cowboys, vixens, and sluts across the gender spectrum. My name is Alexander Cheves. Lovers call me Beastly.
I answer questions on sex and life. To ask one, email email@example.com or use the contact form. All are published anonymously.
My husband and I are headed to Chicago for our one-year anniversary (and Pride in the Park music festival), and since we are open and enjoy wild bareback group sex, we are going to hit up Steamworks for the first time.
Any suggestions of other places to hit up in Chicago for either fun gay shit (bars) or hot fucking fun (bathhouses, gay sex parties, naked pool/hot tub, etc.)? I don’t really have any connections there to ask, and living in New Orleans, I know that you really need to know people to find out where anything fun is going on. So I figured, if anyone knows anyone or anything going on, you might be the person to ask, haha, so I am emailing to see if I might get lucky with a response, some advice, direction, etc. Also, Steamworks will just be reopening post-pandemic, so they apparently aren’t doing clothes checks, etc., so I guess we will try and wear as little as comfortable on the way there, weather dependent, and then cram whatever we have in a backpack to carry around with us, or hopefully stash within sight of the hot tubs/steam rooms, etc.
Any suggestions you might have as far as jockstrap brands with pockets for poppers/ID/Phone would be awesome!
We just want to have a decadent, hot, bare, good time somewhere, and if nothing is out there, I booked a HUGE suite at the Hyatt Regency downtown, so if we get lucky meeting people, bring folks over that want to go high class for a night haha.
Happy Anniversary to you. I am sorry for the wait. I assume you have already gone on this trip. I hope it was great.
Your message has been in my queue for a while, and I imagine things at Steamworks Chicago are different now than when you sent it. A friendly reminder to all askers: to jump the queue, please join my Patreon and message me there. You will get a response immediately whichever way you choose: through the Patreon messaging platform or with a post here.
For future visits — and for anyone curious about the Windy City’s notorious gay sex spot — I believe Steamworks Chicago has fully reopened. I have never checked my clothes there — I did not know that was possible — but I assume all elements of the Steamworks experience are back from the pandemic slump. I have only rented a locker or room and have always left my stuff in it. Regardless if you rent a room or locker, you will be given a key to keep your stuff safe.
For the rest of your question, Chris, I can’t be much help. I don’t live in Chicago. I have only visited a few times. Boystown is the main gay drag, but everyone knows that. Chicago’s page on GayCities.com will tell you more.
Whenever I go to a bathhouse or sex club, I bring a small drawstring bag. If I end up checking my clothes, I stuff them in the bag and check the bag. If I don’t check them, I will have something to keep my clothes in. Always bring a bag. Some places charge per item of clothing. Just stuff it all in the bag. Pay for one thing. Keep track of one ticket.
Steamworks Chicago is great. Pace yourself and take advantage of the relaxing parts (showers, jacuzzi) between rounds of sex. If you plan to bottom, bring a douching bulb and be prepared to use it in a public toilet. I can’t remember if there are private toilets there. Several sex spaces in Germany I’ve visited have bathrooms outfitted with hoses for douching — I force myself not to think about the sanitation of this — but I have never seen these in the United States. Steamworks Chicago does not have douche hoses, or at least they did not when I last visited in the pre-pandemic days.
I have never seen a jockstrap with a pocket. I put drugs and small things in my cock pouch, nestled between my dick and balls, to sneak them into a venue. Once in, I transfer them to my sock. Socks are popular places to stash things, but many door people will feel your sock for drugs.
For clubbing, I do not keep my phone, cards or ID on me after I’m in. I keep cash and drugs in my sock. I usually trust, however naively, the other stuff (phone, etc.) with the people working the coat check.
Think about it. If you keep valuables in a pocket or sock, they can easily fall out. Even if the pocket is zippered, you could be pickpocketed or, more likely, get high and strip. I have done this more than once: hours into my high, I realised I was only wearing a jockstrap, and some valuable things were in those shorts. Your valuables are more likely to survive the night in the coat check area where mostly-sober people are working. The coat check is the safest place.
But this advice is for clubbing, not a bathhouse. A bathhouse is different. At Steamworks (and most bathhouses), you will rent a locker or room — or, I suppose, check your clothes (again, I have never heard of anyone doing this, and I did not know Steamworks Chicago had a coat check). Either way, you will have a safe place to keep your things. You will be given a lock to keep them safe. Do not keep your stuff with you in a bathhouse. The unspoken rule of a bathhouse is that you will walk around nearly naked. I wear a towel, my room or locker key, and nothing else. Do not bring your phone with you through Steamworks. It will get wet. If you can, leave it at home — you really just need money and an ID.
First times are messy. A first time is always an experiment, a testing of the water. Do not judge the place from one visit. On my first visit to Lab in Berlin, I lost my receipt for the coat check between the coat check and the door to leave — a no-no, as the receipt was the only way to prove I paid. They acted like it was a huge inconvenience for them, but someone must do it every night. The rules are vague, and the space is loud. Getting out was nerve-racking — I felt like I had committed an egregious sin — but in hindsight, it was a good first-time experience: I will never forget the rules again. I went back and had better experiences after that one.
Your first bathhouse visit will be nerve-racking. It should be, and you are blessed for it. These experiences — thresholds, rubicons, trials-by-fire — grow rarer the older we get. Revere the act of doing something new and thrilling. On the second visit, you will know what to expect. Its novelty will plummet like a plane. It will still be fun, but familiar fun is different. How often can we be kids in candy stores?
Dans le voyage, il n’y a pas de certitude, seulement de l’aventure.
I have been following you for some time and reading your posts, I love your straightforwardness and sex-positive tone. I came to your articles when I started barebacking some years ago and wanted to be more informed about managing the risk. I have also seen you mentioning group sex in Twitter, thank you for the mix of sexy pics and articles you publish.
I’m visiting NYC for three weeks and having a hard time finding hookups and generally with the local scene. Do you have any tips on meeting groups to have fun in the NY sex “scene” as a cis man with an average body? Grindr doesn’t seem to work very well, and when I go to the Eagle, I felt like it was too macho for me to fit. How do you find different types of men outside Grindr and mainstream bars in this city? Getting laid in New York doesn’t seem trivial, and I must be doing something wrong! As with all things New York, it’s full of diversity and layers and insider tips, so I thought it would be worth asking even more now that many things are not fully back to normal.
Welcome to New York. I don’t really live there anymore, but I assure you things are back to normal now.
The Eagle can be intimidating, but it is not just for fit, macho men. On a good night, you will see all body types there.
But let’s diversify our options: Rockbar is a body-positive bear bar (chubby bears, not muscle bears) that can be great. Paradisco at LeBain is my favourite space in New York — an everyone-is-welcome island of misfit toys in the way House of Yes parties try to be but often fail. It’s thrown by Occupy the Disco, a queer DJ duo that throws many great parties in the city. Paradisco is distinctly queer, chic, and ineffably cool. I think it will have a brief life. Its window of “it” factor is now.
The Cock — a notorious East Village establishment, the last of its kind, a place I’ve written about in Them — is where you will be welcome no matter what kind of queer man you are. You just have to be a queer man. It is a bar for us, not bachelorette parties. There, you are all but guaranteed to get some action, especially on a busy night.
You might be judging the Eagle too soon. Don’t give up on it — but try other bars, too. You’re right about one thing: Grindr and Scruff are hard in New York. I think sex apps are harder in big cities. Living in New York ruined my taste for them.
As someone who first used Grindr in a small town, I can verify what many know: scarcity makes horny people act. In contrast, the over-abundance and over-stimulation of cities like New York and Los Angeles create a listlessness, a lack of urgency. Someone can be hot, but if you wait, you are likely to find someone hotter. They know it, and you know it. After a while in a city, you stop pretending and just acknowledge it: being cute and available doesn’t matter there. Timing is everything, and in-person events are likelier to lead to sex than time on an app. I don’t use apps anymore.
New York is abundance. On an app, you’re lost in a crowd. Unless you’re very close (walking distance) to someone and ready to meet right now, it probably won’t happen.
Forget the apps. Go to every gay event you can find. Explore IRL. Just walk around a gay-heavy neighbourhood like Hell’s Kitchen on a nice evening. You’ll have a better time than hours wasted on an app. You might hook up or, better yet, make friends. Several bars (The Q, Hush, The Spot) sprang up in HK post-pandemic. While their survivability (like any gay bar) remains to be seen, they have made HK an exciting place to bop around. I cheered the return of 9th Ave Saloon — everyone thought it was a goner. Other go-to spots are Atlas Social Club, Hardware and, further south, Rebar in Chelsea.
Because of the enormity of New York and the daily frustration (and financial strife) of life there, most New Yorkers live by routine. They commute to work on the same train line every day, eat at the same bodegas, order the same take-out, frequent the same coffee shops, and so on. This semblance of order is necessary in a chaotic city where you see thousands of people every day. Life there is a tiny, comforting loop. Their desire for comfort and familiarity is cemented every time a mentally ill person screams on a subway train, which is quite often.
Deviations from the loop — even fun ones — contain stress that few New Yorkers will undertake on a weeknight. They want to stay in their neighbourhood after work, and if they want to get off, they want to get off now. When I lived there, proximity and timing determined if I would meet up with someone. My dream top was probably out there — a guy who checked all my fantasy boxes — but he likely lived in the Bronx and never went to the Eagle. He was too far away to appear up on my Grindr grid, so he will be lost to me forever.
Because there are so many homosexuals, the odds are still good, especially if you stay near gay hubs. In-person wins.
Great to read your blog from Vienna.
It’s nice that somebody talks very openly about his sexual preferences and practices.
I am a beginner in gay cruising bars. I have tried Coxx in Budapest, Hungary (it was not the best one) and Eagle (in Vienna), and that’s it…but wanna try some really great ones.
Do you have a list of the best gay cruising bars (worldwide) you have visited?
Also, which place is the best one for fetish, ff, and hardcore sex-lover guys?
note: you are so hot, I would love to meet you in one of these bars once
Eagle in New York. Anywhere on Fire Island — just spend a week on Fire Island. Pines or Cherry Grove, it doesn’t matter. Laboratory in Berlin.
And now memory fails. I am sure there were others in my life, bars and clubs that made me feel like a sex toy, but I’ve forgotten their names. I’m not as young as I was.
And besides: bars close. Spaces change. I remember a great bar in Fort Lauderdale where I got fucked by everyone, but last I heard, it shuttered in the pandemic. These days, I find that the party — not the venue — shapes the sex. I have had incredible sex at the Black Party, which has not had a permanent home since 2014 (or since 1988, if you don’t count the Roseland Ballroom). That sex happened because it was the Black Party. It had nothing to do with the venues and everything to do with the people who believed in the party and made it happen.
NYJP (New York Jock Party) fuck fests were better, I remember, when they travelled from venue to venue. Now the party has a permanent home and feels more secure. I think we faggots hungered for it because of its tenuousness, its briefness. We wanted to say we were part of an experiment, even a failed one. When something stays, it changes. We assume it’s safe, even if it’s not. I think this is why I love LeBain’s Paradisco parties (mentioned above) so much: they can’t possibly stay cool. If they try, they will become uncool when New Yorkers flock to the next place. I love something short-lived.
Cool is, by nature, a moving target, and cool sex spaces are harder to pin down or name because they are forever threatened by prudish neighbours and straight people with kids. And we’re looking for gay sex spaces: good luck! We will always be moving and migrating. If there is one truth to be gleaned from our history, it’s this: your favourite bar, the one that shaped your queer identity and led to many hookups, will close. Berghain will die. Nothing lives forever.
Someday the New York Eagle will close. We will mourn. And then the kids will rise up. Someone will open a new place where pretty people dance. The impulse to party is the same thing that drew a smart ape to tell stories by firelight.
We gather. It’s what we do. Places change, but the party never dies. Our need for kinship will outlive the next rent spike, the next housing bubble, and the next crash. Hunting for others is a noble, lifelong task.
You and I are outliers of the human race. We are faggots. We will never stop looking for the rest of us.