Why are German people naked in the sauna?

If you have been to Germany, you know what I mean. Going to sauna means that you are going to see a lot of naked people. The most shocking thing for me at the beginning is: the sauna is mixed gender! It means that you are going to see both naked men and women in the same sauna!

For German, this is something completely normal. This is part of their tradition. If you are new to Germany, you should keep an eye at the door of the sauna for any notice. It is often written that you are not allowed to wear your swimsuit in the sauna. That is the reason you see people being naked in the sauna.

naked sauna_why are german people naked in the sauna_my life in germany

But why are you not allowed to wear swimsuit in the sauna?

This is something new to me. In my hometown Hong Kong, we always wear our swimsuit in the sauna (the sauna is normally together with the swimming area). In Germany, due to hygiene reason, you should not wear swimsuit in the sauna. Besides, you should always put your towel underneath when you sit on the wood in the sauna. There are several reasons for that:

  • If you are not putting a towel underneath, your sweat is going directly to the wood. This doesn’t sound so hygienic if the next person is sitting on the same wood.
  • If you have your swimsuit on, your swimsuit is probably wet (from swimming or whatsoever). This is going to make everywhere wet in the sauna, on top of your sweat.
  • If the wood in the sauna get wets (from your sweat or your swimsuit), it is not good for the wood as it can go bad quicker (mold can grow on it)

Based on the above, you are not allowed to wear swimsuit in the sauna or sit directly on the wood. The German probably just get used to this practice and are completely naked in the sauna. Note that you are allowed to take an extra towel to wrap yourself up in the sauna, in case you do not want your naked body part to be visible. As long as you are not wearing your swimsuit and have a towel under you, everything is fine.

How about meeting a hot German guy or woman in the naked sauna?

If this is your hope to see some hot naked body there in the sauna, you may be disappointed. From what I heard from the local, the young German generation are not as open as the older one. Young people (20ish or 30ish) tend to be more “shy” on this and don’t feel as comfortable to be completely naked in the sauna. They will either not go to the sauna, or will wrap themselves in a towel. With that said, most of the completely naked people you meet in the sauna may not be as attractive as you may think.

By the way, the naked thing is not limited to only sauna. In the summer, if you go to the lake, you will easily see someone completely naked there, enjoying the sun. The German tend to be more tolerated with being naked. If someone does this in Hong Kong, they would have been arrested immediately.

From my nine years experience in German naked sauna, I don’t recall seeing any young people being completely naked there. I am sure there will be young people being naked as well, I just haven’t had the chance to meet them yet. Maybe I have not been to sauna often enough. Until now, when I go to the sauna, I am still very “shy” and try not to have eye contact with anyone there. Actually it won’t matter so much if they are all strangers to me. The weird thing would be if you meet someone you know in the sauna. For sure you won’t want to see your friends or even colleagues being completely naked! Maybe we should learn form the German people, to be more open minded!

6 Replies to “Why are German people naked in the sauna?”

  1. Hello, I am from Italy so I don’t have much experience, if none at all, about saunas and I was looking around for some information after finding out people do it mixed and naked in north Italy too.

    If I may ask: let’s say a men and his wife, together with their children (boys and girls) are in a hotel with a mixed-naked sauna, would that family go in that sauna where there may be other naked strangers? Is this something that can happen?

    I know in Finland it’s ok being in mixed-naked sauna with family and very close friends, but other than that in the public places they have separated saunas for the 2 sexes. For me this is totally ok.
    But I can’t really feel comfortable about the mixed-naked and public places.

    I myself think it’s healthy being naked with your wife and children, especially when the kids are little (and also when they grow if they decide it’s ok for them) but I would not like having my wife or kids looked at in some sexual way, even if the chance was 1 in a 1000 for this to happen.

    1. In Germany, even in public places, the sauna is mixed sex. It is very common in SPA or fitness center. It is hard for people like me to understand and get used to. Because in my culture, this could never happen. One thing to mention is that you are allowed to use your towel to cover yourself if you want. When I go to the sauna, I see people just being naked without a towel. But I will always use a towel to wrap myself. So, if you want to go with your family but are not sure about being completely naked, you can also use a towel.

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