Not too long ago, someone who reads this blog sent me a copy of a film called Steam of Life about Finnish men taking saunas together. Now sauna in this sense does not mean gay sex on premises saunas but rather the traditional Finnish sauna. The premise of the movie was that when the men sit in the sauna, sweating it out naked together, all the barriers come down. They opened up about struggles in their lives and things that they regretted. It wasn’t exactly a light-hearted film to watch but it was really interesting.
Personally I’m more of a steam room guy than a dry sauna. I find it too hard to breathe in a really hot sauna and prefer the moisture in the air that the steam offers. We don’t have a sauna culture here in Australia but I do find it really relaxing to sit in a steam room and sweat it out. Sadly I haven’t had many experiences with sitting in a sauna as a bonding experience or even just as a social thing with a bunch of mates. It strikes me that in the Scandinavian and other Northern European cultures where it is quite common that hours can be spent sweating, chatting, socialising and generally relaxing in the sauna environment.
Maybe on my intended trip to Iceland next year I might get some time in a more traditional sauna environment. Any Icelandic folks that read this blog and want to offer some tips?