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#505106 - 12/24/16 02:38 PM Something that helped me
RockyRoad Offline

Registered: 11/08/16
Posts: 1
Y'all don't know my background - I'll fill that in in the near future - but suffice it to say I was bullied a lot as a kid and had a crappy self-image, then was sexually abused as an adult my freshman year in college for 1.5 years.

I've struggled most of my life with sexual identity issues. Now I'm in my early 50s and happily married with grown kids.

I was introduced to a Korean spa when I visited South Korea a few years ago, and loved the therapeutic/health benefits. For those who don't know, for 1/2 of a Korea spa experience you are completely naked with other men, sitting in hot tubs, steam rooms, showers, etc. It was a little surreal because I was in a foreign country where no one spoke English, and I knew I'd never see these people again. So I wasn't very uptight.

Fast forward to 3 years ago when I looked for a Korean spa close to home and found a high quality one 1/2 hour from my house.

The first time I was really nervous, not knowing what to expect, and very insecure. Would all the nudity trigger me? Would I feel overly modest? Would I feel like I measure up as a man? Would I get semi-erect (and massively embarrassed) just from being around so much skin?

Well, the exact opposite happened. Literally within 30 seconds of disrobing and being in the shower area I felt totally comfortable, and even though I didn't talk with anyone, I felt like I "fit in" to the tribe of men. It actually _helped_ my identity as a man.

I can be overly modest, and can disassociate my sexuality from my personhood at times. But I remember one phrase that kept coming to my mind, "fifty percent." 50% of the human population is male. 50% of us have a penis. It's no big deal. It's not a secret or something to be discovered. It's just who we are. 50% of us. It's who I am. This is how my genes played out. I belong. I am part of this 50%. I am male.

Maybe if there was more of this type of thing in American culture, we'd be more at ease with our identities.

Side note - I've been in other situations like showering in gym locker rooms, etc., and I haven't always felt as comfortable as I do at the K-spa. I have a theory about this. I believe the comfort level is, in part, determined by the vibes being given off by the other people in the room. I'm very intuitive and sensitive, and can usually sense these things. At a K-spa, these men have practiced this hygiene ritual their whole lives, and it's no big deal. There's no staring, modesty, or showing off. Their comfort level helped to put me at ease as well.

Now I've been going about once a month, and it's been fine. I've also brought 10 or so friends at different times, and it's always interesting to see them go from nervous to relaxed very quickly. Happens every time.

I'm still sorting these things out in my mind, but just thought I'd share. Dunno if it will help anyone. Your mileage may vary.


#505144 - 12/26/16 10:40 AM Re: Something that helped me [Re: RockyRoad]
Ceremony Offline

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 2984
Loc: Minnesota
Welcome RockyRoad,

Being male has complexity to me. I could not see myself in a Korean Spa or any such situation.

Sexual or gender identity doesn't enter it for me, but self worth, being a person worthy of acceptance, that's a big deal. So much hinges on self perception, and taking care of our body. I'm fat now. And wasn't growing up. I hurt every day and my arthritic knee is getting worse fast. Food has meant comfort, being healthy, not so much.

I must admit, getting to a point it could kill me crosses my mind. I stop medication sometimes, and I've deadly high blood pressure. My T knows. But, I don't talk about thinking it will end me. I just think it. I get dizzy sometimes, and wonder if it's it?

How can someone who seemed healthier, George Michael, pass away like that, and me, a fat slob, live on?

Ohhh... wait... I'm sorry RockRoad, off I went, down the rabbit hole... just woke up!

Ummm. I'm going to leave that, it's my truth; to me posting is a conversation that could be. There's validity in where you're at, where I am, and what you need to say. Say it.

Be well.

#505488 - 01/08/17 08:15 AM Re: Something that helped me [Re: RockyRoad]
newground Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1175
Loc: michigan
hey rocky
I have to give you huge props from my perspective. body image and shame has always been a huge struggle for me, and being naked even alone was bad enough. to take that step to try and make it better took a lot of... guts? I'm not sure what it would take. I have heard of therapies that take groups of guys together like a bonding kind of thing I have NO idea how anyone could manage that. I have never even had a one on one massage and frankly cant bring myself to think too hard about even that. "perhaps one day" is the mantra for now I guess that is a step up from " no way in hell" congratulations on finding something that helps you
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney


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