Getting Naked in a German Spa

Let’s get naked…

So, after Japan I’m pretty used to taking all my clothes off and bathing with many other people. I never really minded it in Japan, to me a body is a body and there’s not so much you can do about yours, so just get on with it and enjoy the baths. BUT it was definitely weird having dozens of Japanese ladies staring at me and watching my every move. Once a lady even came up to me and started scrubbing my back for me… I’d like to think I’m pretty chilled, but that definitely made me tense…

Being brought up half-German and half-English, I wonder if this makes me less bothered about getting my kit off in public. I had a lot of English lady friends who came to Japan and were too mortified to try the onsen (hot springs). It think that’s a shame, but it’s their choice. So now it’s time I told you about getting naked in Germany.

We live next to some pretty amazing lakes and in the summer people swim to cool off from the hot temperatures. As these are just lakes in the middle of a forest there are no changing rooms and people just whip off their clothing and put on their swimmies. I have seen a few bottoms and wobbly bits, but I divert my eyes quickly and forget what I just saw.

Unfortunately, this is not always so easy. Our recent trip to Bad Wilsnack Spa was wonderful, but I’m not so keen on seeing naked people floating around in the salt pools. There was an extra charge for the sauna, but it was all bathing-suits off, so I passed on the experience as I’m still having flashbacks from the Mairitius Therme in Cologne.

It was an interesting group of ladies, we all met in Japan, had bathed naked together many times before and just wanted to relax and be pampered for a bit. It feels like I should start with a joke line here:

A German, A Swede, An English lady and a Japanese woman go to a German Spa…


Basically OMG! We wandered out of the ladies changing rooms and out of the shower. That’s when we saw them: naked men everywhere!! There were a load of naked old men lying on sunchairs that conveniently faced the exit of the showers – catching glimpses of the ladies stepping out into the spa area. The jacuzzi was full to the brim with bit and bobs jiggling around alongside the bubbles. The sauna… OMG the sauna… I still feel slightly traumatised by the experience.

It had sounded so amazing: citrus-scented sauna experience at 15:30. I was excited – I grabbed my Japanese friend and the moment we stepped in we realised it was too late to step out. Those few people who had bothered to bring a towel were sitting on it. Everyone was sitting around, legs spread, enjoying the heat and the scents of lemons and oranges. I sat in the furthest corner, hugging my towel around me with my eyes closed. It really wasn’t relaxing or pleasant and I’m sure I was sweating more from the stress or possibly seeing an old man’s bits than the steam. I’m pretty sure I ran outta there faster than I have ever run before.

What I found most amusing was our little group: the German just wandered around naturally without a towel, ignoring everyone around her. The Swede enjoyed the nakedness and made fun of me (haha). The Japanese lady was mortified and hid inside her towel at all times, shocked into silence. And me… well, I hid as best I could in my towel. I don’t need to see all those bits on show – that’s why clothes were invented!! – and they don’t need to see my bits either.

So now you know, if you want to see some nakedness, try a German spa. If you are not overly comfortable with naked skin on show, then do a bit of research – most spas offer one area for bathing suits and another without. But we are all just skin underneath it all and the spas here really are wonderful :)


  1. I was one of those people who was too embarrassed to try onsen when I was on my year abroad in Japan… luckily when I went back I was forced to go in by my now mother in law. I think having my first onsen experience being with the mother of my then boyfriend who I had only met a few days beforehand has got rid of any embarrassment I might have about it!

    Still, I feel like I would react the same way to you if I was confronted by a load of naked men!! I think I’ll stick to the women only onsen in Japan!!

    • OMG – with your boyfriend’s mother? Errr… wow. I guess any experience after that was a walk in the park haha!
      The spas here are so awesome, but you need to be prepared – I had no idea there would be men, so it was definitely a shock and I couldn’t get used to it. Maybe I need to try again 😉

      • Haha yup! It was embarrassing for the first few minutes, but after realising that she obviously didn’t care in the slightest I got over it, hehe. I’m glad I did because I love onsen now!

        Seeing how relaxed Germany is about nudity (I can remember seeing pictures of naked people in my German exchange partner’s teenage magazines and being completely shocked) I guess it might make it easier? Just concentrate on the spa goodness and remember that nobody else really cares about the nudity thing? Easier said than done perhaps.

        • I remember those German magazines – they were called Die Bravo – and would have a photo of a young man and woman and interview them about their bodies. It was super weird…
          I love onsen, but it definitely feels weird having a load of men in there with you – you shall have to come and see them here sometime :)

  2. Hello Vanessa. Read your post a few months back. Very informative about the Mairitius Therme in Cologne. This past July, I finally had opportunity to experience (unfortunately without my wife but hope next time) a German sauna and Roman bath in Baden-Baden. I was still nervous and anxious to be naked with strangers but what did I have to lose other than all my clothes? I first started at Caracalla Therme. It’s a wonderful place with many different saunas and jacuzzi. So, I have my towel for some coverage. After a few minutes, I was all in with just using my towel to protect wood benches. Back and forth to all the saunas, full exposure. It was invigorating for this prudish American, a changed prudish American. I enjoyed my 2 hours. Then, I went next door to Friedrichsbad, the complete nude Roman bath. Even though I was just enjoying the saunas, I still had some anxiety. But, this experience was on my bucket list (public nudity) since obtaining milestone age. Let’s go so I paid for 4 hours. After removing clothes in locker room, I go to the first of 17 stations as they label them. So, here I am buck naked and greeted by 3 women attendants. Anxiety yes but I proceed forward as I have paid. After the hot dry air saunas, I proceed to the soap scrub. Guess gender attendant? Female! She motions me to table and states “face up”. There I am, naked and manhood in full exposure with female attendant. But, she was very professional and I just relaxed. I was hoping to stay longer but only 10 minutes. After that, I then enjoyed the various pools and moist saunas. Back and forth, very relaxing. After 3 hours, it was time to relax in warm blankets wrapped as a burrito. But, it was great. Then, I had some tea in final room. As i enjoyed my tea, I wondered to balcony. While enjoying the outside on balcony, I said to myself – “hello world. I am naked and enjoying myself with no more anxiety”. 4 hours and worth it. I hope you enjoyed my story and others will enjoy also. For many, public nudity is a challenge. Experience it and you will be grateful. It is nerve wracking at first but you will overcome.

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