Reasons why nudity is obligatory in German saunas

Understanding the need for nakedness


lbherwick
Can someone explain to me WHY you have to be nekkid? The Germans kept telling me that it was because the sauna was "textilfrei". Fine, but then why the towel? A towel is a texile, or not?

(disclaimer: I have no problem being naked in the sauna, just wondering why it is mandatory)
Twirlie
I can't think of a rational explanation. There probably isn't one.

But going nekkid is the done thing. It has to be that way. A social norm. Just like not spitting on the street.
Chicago
I've heard a couple reasons for "the naked policy":

- social norms
as twirlie said, that is just the way it has always been done.

- hygiene
assuming that people wash their towels more often than their bathing suit / bikini bottom, there may be some validity to this point.

- it is part of the point
if you are in the sauna to sweat, then why wear something that will keep the hot air from your skin and will prevent the sweat to run off?

and (my personal favorite)
- no wires
there is good reason that mafia guys and politicians like to have "meetings" in the sauna. if everyone is naked, no one can carry a wire / recording device / weapon / camera / mobile phone.

Given how common and small such electronic gadgets are these days, it can be difficult to prevent some jerk from bringing one in the sauna - but if everyone is naked, there are few places to hide something.
Katrina
The towel is to stop the sweat going on the wood. There is no other reason for the towel to be there (apart from not wanting splinters in your bum).
AnthonyInEurope
I've heard a couple reasons for "the naked policy":
I was in the sauna at the volksbad and a pair of gals came in with bikinis, when the staff member came to do the Aufguss, he told them "ausziehen". He explained (in german, of course) that the steam and heat would cause toxic chemicals to leach from their bikinis into their skin.

I thought this was odd, but then have you ever washed something with so much color in hot water? Where did all that dye go?

Anthony
lbherwick
He explained (in german, of course) that the steam and heat would cause toxic chemicals to leach from their bikinis into their skin.
BS! I seriously don't believe that. Sounds like another German myth...like the famous Kreislaufst├Ârung
Propellor Head
I actually do believe AnthonyInEurope on this once, since on my only visit to the sauna at the M├╝llerisches Volksbad, I saw the same thing happen. A couple of young ladies came in but were sky in the shower, so to speak: one of the pool attendants told them to remove their cossies while in the entire sauna area.
MikeFromMontreal
I heard the main reason why bikinis are not allowed in the sauna is the risk of infection. In many European countries the rules are different. I went to St. Petersburg, and in the local bath, nudity is only allowed during single sex days. If men and women are both present you required to cover up. In one place I visit in Montreal, you can take your clothes off only in the sauna but not in the resting area.

I noticed that I feel a bit lighter after sitting in the sauna for some time. I thought it promotes weight loss, but there is no real evidence of this. The more evident benefit seems to be on your respiratory system and on your skintone. The inhalation of steam destroys bacteria in your lungs, the steam also cleans out your pores.
Persius
I also saw the same at the Muellerische Volksbad. Two Americans arrived into the sauna wearing matching red swimming togs/trunks. When the attendant came in, he told them in German that Badehosen were verboten. The Americans didn't understand at first, but then got the message, and decided to leave, with the parting comment "Jesus, it's illegal not to be naked in this country".
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