Edited by Shane Allison
Good Clean Fun
Steamy encounters in the bathhouse have been the stuff of erotic legend for centuries—just ask Spartacus! Shane Allison busts open the sauna door in Steam Bath, a rollicking romp of pretty boys and dashing daddies out to cruise. From fresh-faced twinks to silver foxes and beautiful bears, Shane delivers sensational stories of sweaty, muscled men eager to shed their clothes. A towel-snapping good read, Steam Bath is filled with sizzling porn bodies, sexy boys next door, and tantalizing tricks that fully capture the erotic dynamics between men. A gorgeous, tattooed bad boy asks to be taught a hard lesson in Eric Del Carlo’s “Steam Punk.” A twink finds true love for one night at the baths, who blows his mind and more in Rafaelito V. Sy’s “Raf’s Journey.” Things get hot and heavy when two college professors and a horny student stumble upon a Belgian bathhouse in Roscoe Hudson’s “The Chaperones.” And who knew that sex between two randy strangers could be so hot in “Across the Bay,” by T. R. Verten? Gaybie award-winning editor Shane Allison is a rising gay erotica star who proves he is here to stay with Steam Bath.
Steam Bath was a fun and sweaty read. This collection of stories revolves around saunas / steam rooms, whether they be in a bathhouse, a gym, or, as in one story, ancient Rome. The setting is something out of porn (and, for some, real life), of often-anonymous sex in semi-public places. The heat and sweat get you going and the sexy fun unfolds from there.
The collection of stories Allison pulls together is particularly strong. Like any anthology, there is a mix of styles and abilities on display — but in Steam Bath, even the weakest story is still strong. Some stories, like Incubus Steams, were interesting, but not quite to my personal taste… I’m still trying to figure out the ending on that one. Others, such as The Chaperones, mentioned in the cover blurb above were quite hot. A particular favourite is The Gay Dude, though the comical use of the word “dude” is overdone partway through — past that word, though, is a quick-flowing story that sees two supposedly-straight men accidentally stumble into a bathhouse.
I find the variety of settings to be interesting. About half-ish of the stories take place in bathhouses and while they seem to have similarities, such as a maze of corridors leading to steam rooms, there’s quite a variety of other rooms for the reader to explore. Some have impressive (and multiple) showers, pools, floors. One had a room full of continual rain with giant video screens shifting between rainforest scenes, caves, and other wet places. So… some of these settings seemed realistic and others a little on the fantastic side.
There was also a variety of reasons for men to go to the bathhouse or steamroom, or to engage in often-anonymous sex. I found that refreshing. Rather than saying it’s always the closeted guys or everyone’s just so non-stop horny, the variety of authors here have provided a variety of motivations.
The tag line on the front cover for Steam Bath is “Sweaty Gay Erotica.” With Shane Allison as the editor, and the strength of the writers present, Steam Bath definitely lives up to its promise.