WARNING: Drunken rant ahead
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my work. It brings relief, relaxation and an awareness of the body that wasn’t there, before.
So, why does the culture I live in have a touch phobia? Why do new clients mistake touch that feels good as a sexual one? Can’t we just enjoy the endorphin rush and energy exchange for what it is, without sexualizing it?
Yes, it’s an amazing learning experience for all involved. But, it can also be an amazing source of frustration and confusion.
Today, I had a very nice, unsure, attractive, male client who was a massage virgin. He was brought in by a client who adores my work and decided he needed 2 hours of bliss. She knew I’d take good care of him. Awesome. Challenge accepted.
I assured him the 2 hours were all about him and his comfort. I adjusted a few things and set to work. I love how people’s bodies seem tense and unsure at first. Then, as I gently rock and sooth their body into an uneasy truce, at first. I begin my work. Working in layers. I slowly unwind their muscle fibers. Blood flows and the feel good begins. Some men, get a happy hard-on.
I know some therapists who would freak out, stop the massage and shame the client. I have yet to let an erection scare me. Some men, make it a point to let you know they have one. As if I didn’t see the tiny tent they made. I just let them know the laws of the state and move as far away from their groin as I can. They get their massage and a bad case of blue balls. To hell with those creepy, old, married men. Other men, are just relaxed and their body is in its happy place. They usually don’t even know they’re sporting wood. They’re too busy snoring. No worries.
Now, some people, women as well as men, seem to be confused about touch. Our culture is so fucked up! We demonize sex as much as we use it to sell products. Have you ever tried to cuddle with someone without it ending in sex? Good luck with that. Do you remember the cuddle parties of the 90’s? It was apparently a thing. Maybe it still is. But the backlash was stunning. I’ve read a few articles and even looked up a local cuddling group. It felt a little sad, to me. People with sexual abuse issues who were starving for non sexual touch. What the hell!? Seriously!
Touch that feels good is supposed to end in sex with the possibility of a baby. That’s what has been bashed over my head most of my life. I look at other animals and they seem to enjoy physical contact for its own sake. Hugging primates, spooning cats and the ever lovable, dog pile. Touch is magical. When I started massage school. Getting naked, under a sheet, for people you hardly knew was a little difficult, for most. But, after the first semester. We couldn’t wait to strip and get touched! There was no shame in the body. We learned that is an amazing instrument to experience the world. Feeling good was just that. There was no expectation for anything, other than a good night’s sleep and pain relief.
My client today was like many other, first time massage receivers. His body started to feel relaxed and yummy, so he started to exhibited body language you’d encounter in a lover. There was nothing creepy about it. I could tell he wasn’t trying to molest me. He was just not sure how to respond to this experience other than how he was. I gently, side stepped his arm and moved away from his hand. He didn’t grab, just tried to touch back. I reminded him to relax and leave everything to me. He apologized. I reassured him it was alright. I don’t like shaming people. When he was on his back and blissfully forgetful. His hand went to his groin. I reminded him that it was still there and went about doing arm stretches. He laughed and apologized again. Telling me that he was feeling so good he forgot where he was. I warned him that another therapist might have ended the treatment. Again, he apologized and behaved himself. He floated out of the studio with a stunned smile. I’m glad his friend was driving.