I love working out, but I don't love using the public showers afterward, especially when other men don't know these unspoken rules.
Men's Open Shower Etiquette
As a male triathlete, I spend a fair amount of time in men’s locker rooms. Also, since I frequently swim, I typically take two showers during a single gym visit - one to rinse off before getting in the pool and one to rinse the chlorine off after getting out of the pool, so I have a decent amount of experience with showering at the gym. I currently belong to two gyms - one has an open public shower area with no privacy and the other has individual private showers. This shower etiquette in this article applies to both types of showers. The men's locker room article explains overall locker room etiquette do's and don'ts!
- Do not shave with a razor blade in a public, open shower. You may drop the blade and someone else could step on it. Shave at the sink!
- Do not use a shower cap in an open, public shower. Shower caps are for ladies and you'll look like a dork.
- Do not pee in the shower. This is just plain gross. Pee is for a urinal, not the shower. Also, don't think just because you're in a private shower it's acceptable - it's not!
- Do not brush your teeth in the shower - do this at the sink.
- Do not use bars of soap - use a liquid shower gel, like Axe Shower Gel. Bars of soap are antiquated and are dangerous - they can be accidentally dropped and someone can slip on the bar.
- Do not leave your used razor blade on the floor of a shower...this is gross and dangerous. Again, shave at the sink...not in the shower.
- If there are a number of open shower heads, do not take the one right next to someone else. Take the one furthest away. The shower is to clean yourself, not socialize.
- Do not socialize in the shower. I don’t want to talk to another dude naked and neither should you.
- Do not loiter in the shower - clean up and get out of there.
- Do not moan or make "aww" sounds - you're not in a soap commercial.
- Do not sing or whistle in the shower - this is creepy and I don't want to hear another guy singing or whistling in a public shower. I've seen guys loiter while whistling...do this at home, not in public. It doesn't matter how great a singer or whistler you are either.
- Do not look at another guy’s private parts in a shower. Only look in the eyes, if you happen to make contact. Also, if you happen to be across from someone in the shower, try to avoid facing the same direction – if the person across from you is facing you, turn the other way and wash the other side of you.
- If the shower is an open, public shower, do not bend over to pick up something - this is gross and suggestive. A quick squat to retrieve the dropped item is preferred.
Andres on February 14, 2019:
Some of your tips are really good. But others are too much. For example, I don´t see the problem of other guys singing or whistle. I mean if they sing loud or inappropriate songs, is disrespectful and annoying. But in other cases it's ok if I have more tolerance. Sometimes people singings can break the tension and make people laugh and socialize...
Jerry on July 21, 2018:
Alex do your chest shaving at home that is gross . Glops of hair in the sink or in the open shower is disgusting
Alex on October 26, 2017:
Okay, I'm gunna break this down point by point.
1) If I'm shaving my chest or something (which is rare for me at the gym unless I don't have time to go home before something else, also yes I'm metrosexual and care about my appearance, bite me), which is worse, me shaving my chest and it going down the shower drain, or it getting stuck in the sink? Take your pick....
2) stop judging guys for wearing shower caps, maybe they don't want to mess up their hair.
3) this seriously needs to be said?
4) refer to 3
5) bars of soap are dangerous to stupid people. They may be necessary or good for your skin compared to gel I. Some situations, once again, you need to stop judging people.
6) who leaves razors on the floor?
7 & 8) the author evidently didn't play sports in school, when I played football, (I'm 23, it wasn't that long ago), guys had no problem getting undressed and socializing naked while taking a shower or changing. As such, if I've talked to you before, or we know each other if I see you there is a good chance I'm going to stand next to you and strike up a conversation. I'm just used to it, also I'm confident and don't have any insecurities, unlike some people.
9) I'd expect that's what they are doing, unless they just like the warm water.
10) you don't know, maybe I'm practicing for a ad in going to be in.
11) I'm a good singer, I sing at home, sometimes I sing at the gym, so what, a lot of people sing in the shower.
12) okay, this seems to be the issue with the author, he seems to have some serious hang ups in guys being naked. I mean seriously do you worry that much that a gay guy is going to get you, seriously homophobic. Not all gay guys are interested in you, you've got some insecurities don't you? Or maybe you're just embarrassed about something and afraid someone will see?
Either way, if I'm taking a shower across from you, I'm not going to interrupt rinsing the soap off my back just because you're facing the same direction, I don't care about your insecurities, you don't like it, you can turn around.
As far as checking other guys out, yea no shit. Unless we know each other and we are having a conversation I'm not even paying attention to you, if our eyes meet it's a random occurrence and not intentional.
13) Mhmm, some guys just pick things up this way. Two things here, first, if you are obsessed with not bending over this way, you are like Tom from the Boondocks show from adult swim. I suggest you watch the episode he deals with his phobia of being raped. The second being, if you are looking at a guys ass when he bends over like this, your kinda the one with the issue. Why are you looking, is that what your insecurity is, are you projecting onto others?
Once again, you should be like me, take care of your shit and don't focus on others.
Carl on August 09, 2017:
Wow. You really need to get over your insecurity about being naked around other men. Locker rooms are where men socialize. Pro football players would laugh at your suggestions. We talk, we compare our willies sometimes for fun. This younger generation is in serious need of therapy.
Seriously? on August 01, 2017:
You're seriousseriously so judgemental that you care if a dude is wearing a shower cap? Some people want to socialize, they can if they want and there's nothing creepy about whistling or singing in the shower, it us all cracks me up so good on the people who do it.
WalkingLightly on March 09, 2016:
Same experience as ePilgrim. I used to attend a similar gym with a large locker room area, and an open "wet" area with stall showers, hot tub, steam room, sauna, massage room, wash sinks, and toilet stalls. It was extremely rare to see anyone wear a towel in the wet area, though most carried towels. Nobody wore anything in the sauna, steam room, but they all sat on their towels. Everyone was naked in the huge hot tub. There were even benches along the wall behind the hot tub where you could sit naked and socialize, of lie down and cool off or doze. I never saw any gawking or obvious arousals. After a while it's like you just didn't notice everyone was naked.
Gym shyness is sort of weird. It's like some guys think every other guy is gay and looking. Or, we think that we need to have totally awesome bodies like on the movies or we're ashamed of ourselves.
I've seen guys glance at my body like they'd look at anything else, like the walls or the floor or my face or chest while standing around or talking with you. Never saw anybody gawk at my junk or make comments about it. But it's part of me like my great back muscles and height and hairy legs and feet. What's the big deal? Everyone's parts are either the same or different than everyone elses. No big deal if they see any part of me as long as they don't try to touch it, or like, take a photo...
I was showering last week in a different gym with an open shower area, and there was another guy showering. Most of the guys in the morning are just in for a workout and out going to work. The other guy made some comment to a buddy leaving the shower that I could relate to and I chimed in. We stood there talking for a few more comments, when he mentioned he'd just had a hip replacement. I looked at his hips and mentioned I didn't see any scar, so he turned sideways and showed me a minimally invasive scar on the side of his butt. I related about a relative needing a knee replacement and we said a few more things, then one by one left the shower. No big deal. Took only a few minutes. Could have happened anywhere except he wouldn't have been able to show me the scar. What's the problem... I don't need to be your intimate friend to be comfortable naked around you. It's our birthright as guys.
Think we need to chill out about about our bodies. Most people aren't interested in looking unless we're really abnormal. Those who are curious, are mostly just checking out the competition.
Anyway, in the US, I think it's a recent thing that guys would feel uncomfortable being nude or seeing other guys nude in the locker room. In my Dad's high School and many others at the time, the guys gym class all swam naked. Military in the field showers naked (or used to). Shouldn't be a big deal. Unless you're packing 12 inches I guess. But if you are, why would you want to hide it!! :-)
ePilgrim on August 30, 2012:
I was a member at a large Jewish community center health club for a few years. The locker room has a large locker area with a walkway to a TV room with chairs. There's a window wall into the wet section that has a sink/mirror section for shaving, a large hot pool (12x12), sauna, steam room, and massage room. Shower stalls are off the wet room and past the shower stall room is an open shower area.
It was rare to see anyone walk around with a towel or suit. Guys routinely just stood around naked while talking or shaving or a couple guys in the hot pool or steam room or sitting on the side of the hot pool. Never saw anything like exhibitionism or staring or erections. They just went in to prep for workout, shower, or relax a little before going home or to work.
There were a lot of locals who new each other since childhood. All age ranges.
I think what really matters is the local norm and how tolerant the local group is of anything different. It didn't seem to matter to anyone there when someone walked by with a towel on. Never heard any joking about stuff like that.
First few times I went, I was concerned about getting an erection because I'd not been in an open locker room since high school, but pretty soon got used to it and didn't think about it. Was really relaxing.
You could get a sports massage for an extra $10. They used VERY old little old men. You showered and went into the massage room and lay down on the table. I asked for a towel for my groin the first time, but noone seemed to have towels when I'd walked in to wait for my turn. I took the towel off halfway through cause I didn't need it.
I agree that most of those rules go overboard like the bending over thing. Again I think it depends on the local atmosphere. Be aware the first couple weeks. I think if someone has a problem with nudity in these situations, they should do what they feel is comfortable, but if stuff in the locker room grosses a person out, they should probably choose another gym or work on or take a deep look into why they're afraid of seeing other guys hanging around naked. It's probably something you can get over.
When my dad was in high school, they didn't use swim suits in the pool for gym class. The curtains were closed on the pool doors and everyone just stripped naked until the class was over. No big deal. No one cared too much what you looked like unless you were way out of the norm.
Steven on August 20, 2012:
Some of those rules are really kind of prudish. Don't bend down? How insecure can you be?! Some men can be such wussies. As for peeing in the shower, get over it. Urine is more sanitary than anything that is being washed off the skin. It goes right down the drain, and there is no reason to waste another gallon of water by insisting that the guy hold it and flush it down the toilet instead. You've clearly never been in the Boy Scouts or the armed services. Such effete "rules" would get you laughed right out of the locker room.
jph1965 from North Billerica, Massachusetts on July 08, 2012:
Some of your suggestions are common sense, like shaving and keeping razor blades out of the showers, but the rest, I have to agree with David. The public showers are not your private domain. I don't care if guys talk in the shower and I don't care if they bend down or squat to pick up an item they dropped. I have no problem with nudity and showering in the open with other men (I am an American BTW). I mind my own business and my mind set is: Get In, Get Clean, Get Out and let the others go about their routeen and don't invade their private space.
Dick Handler on April 24, 2012:
I like to spread my butt cheeks open and scrub my butt hairs until its foamy in the shower after the gym. Sometimes I even shave my butt cheeks and inspect the hair in the razor after. People look at me funny then I tell them they're gross for staring and flick the razor at them sending poopy hairs all over the place.
Danny on February 22, 2012:
Pffft, straight guys are such wimps about nudity.
Mack on February 05, 2012:
Just another example of your typical western tightass mangina.
M'Lord on November 24, 2011:
Kea - Thanks for creating this topic! Started reading it on my phone whenever I got stuck somewhere over the past week. At first I thought it was probably an old discussion but was delighted when I discovered that it was still going. Found this hub with search: 'Why so many hairy men at gym'. Thought it might be a new epidemic. Recently joined a gym popular with more older guys and could not believe all the hairy backs (not to mention backsides!). Here in England you see very few younger guys like that. Seems more common in other parts of the world, except maybe Scandanavian countries, but I've notice there's a hairy guy from Finland on this discussion. My view regarding etiquette - I'm fairly tolerant of other people's bathroom habits and just mind my own business, but if someone pees in the shower, that IS my business. I'm also curious about why it tends to be the older guys who tend to parade around naked:
(a) one gets less inhibited when older
(b) they know they're not much to look at
(c) they're from a different era when it used to be the norm.
From what I've gathered here, it's probably c.
Edwardo on October 04, 2011:
I like to make eye contact in the shower so that I am noticed. I also offer to help scrub areas others can't reach. Being a good neighbor
David on April 03, 2011:
Uptight much? A shower at the gym is not your own private space, so you really have no right to dictate rules to other guys. Maybe you should start showering at home where you can make and obey as many rules as you like.
James on February 12, 2011:
LOL, I found myself made a lot mistakes from your don't list, now I know what should I do, it's a great hub, thumbs up :)
thomas j parker on January 12, 2011:
Why are women going into male lockerooms in the frist place is this so they can say they have been hazrressed so they can file a law suit. Keep women and reporters out of the Lockroom ASAP
Jacob on December 20, 2010:
mike, no pun intended, but you are a dick.
Elijah Mayfield on July 14, 2010:
I want to see more pics of you guys
mike on June 18, 2010:
these two posts about uncut guys under the communal showrs are incredible.In America we are all cur,and we are happy with it. I have wonderful sex with my gf being cut; she likes my penis, and the ama happened with my two previous gfs.At one night stands; the same.I don't care how you handle your foreskin under the shower:it seemas like a showoff. If your are unhappy with your uncut penis in America, go back to your own countries, where everyone seems to be uncut.
talbot on June 11, 2010:
to tom: it seems you are confortable with your body when showering nude and you do so becsuse of cleanliness, of hygiene. I do the same as you do, I shower naked, use liquid soap and I like to be nude although I am no exhibitionist. at school I got classes about sex and genitals, but no one ever explained what an uncut penis is, and I myself am cut, my dad and brothers are, and aslmost all naked guys in showers are- So I undertand what happens to you and it is unfortunate. these posts are useful for more information about cut and uncut dilemma and how an an uncut penis works. Is it more pleasurable when having sex oris it too sensitive? We don t know much about all this because in the US almost all males are cut.
tom on June 08, 2010:
I go to the gym 3 times a week.I always shower naked and use liquid soap.Since I am uncut,I retract soreskin for washing and soaping, as I do everyday at home when I shower.But in the gym showers some guys look at me in a sort of amazement,because they are cut and never seen such thing.They do not look intensely, they glance afew times. I just don't care, I got accustomed to ti, because cleanliness andd hygiene are very important to me.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 17, 2010:
Very good points. Thank you.