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Problems

Ohh, that's sooo nice

Supplemental to Massage and Sexuality

People have been rubbing each other for countless millenniums, most time peaceably, but there are a host of human, social and political factors that can interfere to make a therapists life difficult.

Massage is viewed differently between countries and sometimes regulated.  In New Zealand, there is no regulation and anyone can read a book on massage and set up their own practice.  That rarely happens and most therapists are well trained and qualified.

For the therapist, many people still see massage is being something sexual as all around the world massage has been used as the cover or title for the sex industry and there is still a great number of people who equate massage as being something uniquely sexual so therefore by their standards anyone practising massage is branded as a sex worker in the same category as any sex worker or prostitute.  Fortunately, this attitude is slowly vanishing.  But there are still occasions when someone enquires as to your occupation and you happily say you're a masseuse or masseur, you may find yourself being snubbed by this antiquated prejudice.

Chronic conditions
A very common problem is the person who has a chronic illness or condition that has defied the best medical specialists and they arrive at your table expecting you to perform a miracle.  Fixing their incurable condition is not your job or responsibility, and you have every right to refuse them. If you have the training and skill, the empathy and appropriate massage can help them relax and may result in an improvement in circulation which is ultimately healing.

Sexuality
Is still one of the biggest problems the industry faces but not everyone sees it as a problem. Throughout much of south-east Asia from the time of the Korean War, the typical massage for most men in almost every commercial and private clinic has been an average to good quality back and leg massage followed by a happy ending (genital massage and masturbation).

This form of massage has spread to every country and corner of the globe and is considered normal by untold millions of people and with equality of sexes there are now large numbers of woman seeking the same service.

This is a brief summary, it would take thousands of hours to do this subject justice and outlined below are a few key points.

For men

A woman comes to you for a massage and experiencing some sexual interest in you, she thinks of her own mind that she is available to you in a sexual way, but, you either do not notice, or appropriately you do not judge or react and complete the treatment.  When the treatment is over, she leaves and complains to the police that you have in some way sexually assaulted her.

There are of course over a 1000 variations to the story and usually within the industry it is male clients who have a reputation for hitting on female therapists and inappropriate behaviour, however female clients can be equally as bad but are more likely to be malicious, making this a very dangerous industry for men to work in.

Solutions
Be totally clear and upfront and how you present yourself and your business
Do not work alone, ensure that your clients no that there is someone else working or doing something in the next room
Ensure that every client completes a detailed acceptance and waiver form
At the very outset of any inappropriate behaviour by a client, terminate the treatment, and ask the person to leave.  And then sit down and write a report on the event for future reference.

for women

ahoh

Bad manners

In today's politically correct world, massage is really a woman's business.  Most women prefer to go to a female therapist because they feel safer than going to a man for a wide range of personal, social and political reasons.

As a woman massaging another woman, you naturally and intuitively feel what's going on within female clients and have the ability to shift their energy and focus with conversation and while it's very common for women to be sexually aroused by another woman's touch, its very rare for a female client to complain to anyone about this.

As a woman massaging men, you have to accept the fact that many men will become sexually aroused and even have an erection.  This is something that nurses have had to deal with for generations, in the 1950s and 60s, many nurses adopted the practice of giving the penis, a sharp and painful flick with their pen or some other demeaning action.  In today's politically correct world that would be an assault that you may be liable for.

Male erections happen most commonly when massaging the thighs and abdominal regions, and if you as a woman are genuinely offended by this, you are in the wrong job. In most clinical practices where it is quite clear that the massage is therapeutic without any sensual or sexual connotations most men are highly embarrassed when they have an erection.  Therefore, it's your job not to make any fuss, but simply to continue with the treatment.  In situations where the man's embarrassment is so great, or that they have a slight self-control problem and are beginning to flirt with you, simply move away from that area and distract their attention with some deep tissue work and then pick up where you left off to provide a balanced treatment.

What commonly happens is that client's will sometimes begin flirting and while it is vocal you can deal with it, then there is the client who rests their hand on your back or hip as you're working - this can be quite nice and can aid their relaxation and the communication between you. But it is a problem when their hands begin wandering as illustrated above and the easiest way to resolve this is simply to step out of reach and gently remind them that this is not part of your job description.

But whatever happens, treat it with a smile and good grace, see intimate advances as normal human behaviour and accept as a note of flattery and appreciation.

Have your new clients complete a health and disclaimer form and when in doubt, don't.

Further reading
Massage and Sexuality
Managing gropers and those asking for extras
Business risks.

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