I’ve been a massage therapist for a few years now, and I love it. It is not just a job to me. It is a passion and a calling. I love being able to help someone be able to reduce the pain that they’ve had for years, restore range of motion and mobility in a joint, or maybe even just unwind from a stressful day. I love the connection and intimacy I am able to get with my clients, even if we barely speak to each other. There is something about the power of touch that can really make a difference.
An area that I have struggled with is where do I stop being a massage therapist and start being a lover? Mixing my sex life with massage has always been an uncomfortable topic for me, and it’s one I tend to skirt around with most people. I am still not completely sure how to integrate these two parts of my life, because to me, they seem to be polar opposites.
At work I tend to just leave the sexuality at home and very rarely do I give it a moment’s thought when I am working. There is so much training in school, and ethics classes massage therapists have to take that make it clear that sexuality is to have no part in massage. It’s a message that I have heard since day one of school. Most of the time it’s very easy to do for me, and it has served me very well to keep those parts of my life separate. After all, I didn’t go through all of that studying and schooling just so I could give handjobs.
At home, it is a different story. I know I have a wonderful skill set when it comes to touch, and almost everyone I have dated has told me that no one has been able to touch them the way I do. Maybe some of it is natural, but I’m sure more of it comes from the fact that I have spent literally thousands of hours touching and massaging people. I am confident in my skills as a massage therapist. But even with that confidence, I have absolutely no clue how to bring it into the bedroom. Usually when I start dating someone and they hear that I am a massage therapist, they are generally pretty excited to find that out. After all, most people consider it to be a sexy job, so I MUST be good in bed, right? I’m aware that many couples love using massage as a sort of foreplay to get each other in the mood, and I would love to be able to bring that intimacy to my partner. So as the relationship progresses and things progress to the bedroom, it will inevitably come up at some point to incorporate massage into the lovemaking. Unfortunately it never seems to work out to be a sexy experience, and usually goes something like this:
Him: “You are so wonderful with your hands, and it’s so sexy to watch you massage. Why don’t you go down a little lower?”
Me: “I will in a minute, but your scalenes are so tight. I’ve just got to get them loosened up first.
Him: “Don’t worry about that right now. You can do your therapeutic work later.”
Me: Oh! But here’s a trigger point here in your shoulder, let me work on that. Did you know your rhomboids were so restricted? Well now I’ve done all this work on your left side, let me balance you out and work a little on your right side or you will be lopsided all week.
30 minutes later…
Him: “You know what? Forget about the sex. I’m so relaxed now I just want to go to sleep.
And actually, I probably didn’t mind at all. I love sex, but when I am giving a massage, my mind just doesn’t go there. While maybe it was initially meant to be foreplay, what really happened is that in my mind I just went to the office. It would be like if foreplay was doing inventory, programming some software, or balancing the books. Work tasks usually aren’t sexy in most people’s minds, and I feel the same way about my work. Bringing work home is one thing, but bringing work into the bedroom is just really difficult. I’ve tried to make it something sexy for myself, but it just doesn’t work. It feels forced, awkward, and uncomfortable. The touches that I use for massage are usually very logically and analytically thought out and depend greatly on what I’m feeling in the muscles. My sexual touches are almost purely emotional, and really aren’t thought out much at all, I just do what I feel in the moment. The way I approach the two types of touch are so dramatically different that it can be difficult for me to even begin to think about how I would want to combine those two elements into one session.
I’ve currently put a boundary in place to separate those two areas of my life. A lot of times he doesn’t get why I need to do it. But I know that for me I need a little break, where I can mentally change gears, take off my massage hat and put on my lover hat. I hope I will be able to reconcile these two parts of myself one day since they are both so important to me. I would love to be able to share that experience with a partner without it feeling awkward or disjointed for either of us, and to bring an even deeper connection between us. For the time being, though, this is the solution that works for me. I know I won’t be able to force myself to be comfortable transitioning smoothly from massage to sex, but I’m hoping one day with enough love, trust, and intimacy it will be able to happen.