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Taboos, The client, The massage, Therapist and client

Guilt of enjoying touch

Guilt and shame over enjoying a massage is more common than one would expect. Many feel guilt over relaxing and doing nothing. Others feel guilt over pampering themselves. Some feel guilt over spending the money. And others again feel guilt over enjoying the physical touch and the sensuality of the massage.

Most of these things you can speak about with others. But enjoying touch is a taboo, sexualizing touch is considered a very bad thing. Hence the impossibility for most to speak about it with anyone.

It is completely natural to enjoy a touch. Touch is by nature pleasant and enjoyable. But in our society there’s unfortunately often only two types of touch. The violent touch and the erotic touch. We have a tendency to think of any pleasant touch as sexual.

Guilt and shame then arises when something we know logically to be a pleasant non-sexual touch is felt as sexual. A massage of sensitive areas gives an erection and a coincidental brush against the private parts becomes sexually charged. This is also true for women, though much less visible than on men.

It’s important to realize that the sexualizing of touch is a social conditioning. It’s a result of how we were raised and the society we live in. It’s something we’ve been taught from a young age and as result it’s become a habit, part of who and what we are.

Much practice and concentration is needed to fully disassociate pleasant touch from sexual touch. We need to focus on conditioning ourselves to accept enjoyable touch as non-sexual. Once the association between pleasant touch and sexual touch has been broken, arousals during massages will practically disappear.

Some find it necessary to masturbate after receiving a massage as the touch and physical closeness creates an arousal. Allowing for this need to be sated can have the unfortunate side-effect of even more strongly associate massage and touch with sexual pleasure. This will in return intensify the bodily reactions during a massage, which can be embarrassing for both therapist and client.

The answer to the question on how to break this social conditioning is rather simple. You need to keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong in enjoying a massage, nor is there anything wrong in arousal during different situations. Arousal happens to us all several times a day in many different situations. So guilt and shame are unfounded. They only serve to make the situation even harder to deal with.

In order to break the conditioning, it’s important to disassociate touch and sexual pleasure. So instead of thinking about the nice massage while masturbating, use another fantasy or scenery instead. Or find pleasure with your lover and do not think of the massage which brought the arousal. It is a bit in the same league as the saying “Gather appetite out, eat at home.” We receive sexual inspiration from many different sources.

It is important that it’s not the massage that’s used as inspiration during masturbation, but something completely unrelated. This way you avoid conditioning yourself to even further associate pleasant touch with sexual touch. The intent of receiving the massage should not become sexually charged. The intent of a massage should be to relax and let go, enjoying touch without expecting anything sexual to happen.

Changing conditionings are difficult, habits can be very hard to break. It will take conscious effort to succeed, and for some obtaining help and guidance from a professional might be what will make the real difference. Do keep in mind though, the conditioning is not a sickness or abnormality. It’s a natural part of our society and upbringing.

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


10 Responses to “Guilt of enjoying touch”

  1. Hi Pia
    Thank you for your blog it helps me more than any thing it as shone a light on my problems and shown me my way to enjoy the wonders of massage with out any embarrassment. I am sure in time erections when being massaged will not bother me and I will enjoy them for the correct reason even if the lady therapist accidentally touches me there. You ladies are lucky if you go and have a massage I would think the therapist would not go that close to your private area as they do with men and you do not have any thing that shows up if you start to feel aroused

    Posted by Anonymous | Wednesday 10 February, 2010, 12:47
  2. Dear Edward,

    I'm happy to hear that my blog has helped you find your way to enjoy massages. I agree that time and experience will make you relax more and more and think less and less about erections and just enjoy the massage for what it is.

    You might think women are luckier than men, but you forget that our breasts are an erotic zone as well, and to massage the pectoralis you hardly avoid touching the breasts. As a result, many massage therapists won't massage the pectoralis on women exactly to avoid the sexual touch (real or imagined). Accidental brushing of private parts happens for women too, especially when massaging the inner thigh.

    The only real advantage we have is that it's rarely very visible if we're aroused during a massage.

    Good luck with your massages and keep on going.


    Posted by Pia | Thursday 11 February, 2010, 11:11
  3. Thank you Pia very much for your help I have read with interest every thing you have said both in your blog and the emails you have sent me.
    Is it the normal thing that men go to a female for a massage and a lady will go to a male

    Posted by Anonymous | Thursday 11 February, 2010, 12:11
  4. Dear Edward,

    You're most welcome. I'm happy to be of help.

    I think the most common thing is that both men and women see a female therapist. Male therapists have a hard time due to their gender, especially when it's non-medical massages we're speaking about. Once it's medical massages, it seems to be women who has a harder time.

    A male touch is often misunderstood. By women there's the fear of him stepping too far and putting sexual intentions into the massage. Women don't get the same fear from female therapists.

    For men there's the entire homophobia trend. A man being touched by a male therapist and enjoying it, does that mean the man has homosexual tendencies?

    These fears and assumptions are luckily disappearing. People are beginning to understand that it's not gender, but skills and education that matters when they choose a therapist. It's just a matter of time, and of educating the populace.


    Posted by Pia | Thursday 11 February, 2010, 12:16
  5. Hi Pia,
    I ran across your your blog when researching massage therapy and involuntary ejaculation.

    I am 46 yrs old and have been getting massages for years and years. Over the past several years I have had involuntary ejaculations on occasions.

    I like most men get an erection while being massaged in sensitive areas. As the therapist moved on to another area it would go away. A few years back I began to notice a small pool of seman (on my lower belly) after the massage was done.

    This bothered me a little- I ended up switching therapist. I finally found an excellent therapist. She gave a great full body massage. I used to go to her all the time. After a while of going to her I experienced an involuntary ejaculation. (full blown).

    She said nothing, I was embarrassed and could not wait until the session was done.
    I switched again to a new therapist, thinking this is a fluke. I started to wear my underwear. I even wore a small thong, under my underwear. I thought this might help keep me from this situation. It worked for awhile.

    Now the sessions were more like work than relaxation. I am unable to relax. When I do relax without any warning I lose control. I have since stopped getting massage therapy. I have benefited for many years of therapy. I am at a loss of what to do.

    As an aside I am happily married with children and experience no problems with my wife. We have active love lives and are both satisfied.

    How do I find a therapist who is willing to talk with me about this, without thinking I am some sort of

    I have never felt getting an erection was a problem. Although I preferred I did not.
    This involuntary ejaculation is a real problem for me and massage therapy. The ejaculations occur without and erection while getting the bodywork. Usually on the thighs or hips while on my back.

    I have considered going back to my old therapist who I had been with for a long time and talking with her? It just find it real akward. Do you have any suggestions?

    I have read some other blogs on the subject, but it seems they are not quite as legitimate as what you have. A mater of fact, not sexual in any way.
    Thanks for any help you might offer.

    Posted by Anonymous | Thursday 25 February, 2010, 17:07
  6. Dear Anonymous,

    You do not write if you've consulted your General Practician about the situation. It's important to rule out if there's any physical reason behind what happens or if it's a psychological thing, or a combination of both. To have an ejaculation without an orgasm is not that common and it can have a physical explanation.

    That massage has become more work than relaxation is counter productive to what you're trying to achieve by receiving a massage.

    It might be useful for you to try a different therapy like Shiatsu or Thai massage, where the situation is quite different from traditional Swedish-style massage therapy. It can be a way to allow you to relax and enjoy bodywork again without the worry of ejaculation. Both types generally are done fully clothed, so even if you have an accident it'll not be visible, and you can allow yourself to fully relax without worry.

    Since you brought up the idea of going to your old therapist and talk to her, please do so. My philosophy is that you wouldn't have gotten the idea if it was without merit. You have a history together, she knows you from before and know you're not some “wierdo”. It'll give you a chance to explain to her how you got embarrassed over what happened the last time.

    Another reader shared with me his method to avoid erection during a massage of sensitive areas. He simply starts to talk to the therapist about anything not related to the massage. By disengaging the brain from the massage and touch, he counters any unfortunate reaction his body might have. This could also work for you when you worry you're becoming too relaxed.

    I hope you find these suggestions useful.


    Posted by Pia | Friday 26 February, 2010, 08:23
  7. Hi Pia. This is actually a really great blog post. You have a point. Your argument I believe is absolutely legitimate. I have found it difficult to in both situations with male and female therapists to relax and not worry about the touch being stimulating. If it gets close to arousing it's either painful and shameful to try to control and worry about the therapists reaction: alternatively if I just let it be, I feel wrong feeling aroused and enjoying the sensuality of the situation.

    It's kind of rare that I get a massage therapist completely comfortable fully massaging the buttox and inner thighs, probably for the reason of it being rather intimate for both parties and in a sense risque. I also realize when done it feels amazing because that area is generally ever touched and therefore in a way feels unaccepted and taboo, but when a therapist just inundates it with touch it feels great and accepting. What is your take on this issue of these body parts, sensuality, and appropriateness?

    Posted by Anonymous | Sunday 27 June, 2010, 20:51
  8. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comment. I would like to redefine the word sensuality in this context. It's something that awakens the senses, makes our senses come alive. Enjoying sensuality in a massage means to sense the skin, the hairs, the hand, the breath, the scents, the sounds, the touch, the light, the oil and so on. And all these things are certainly enjoyable.

    As for your questions. I find it essential to massage the buttocks and the inner thighs. The buttocks have some large muscle groups which we often tend to neglect and forget. We sit on our behind most of the day, while we're more meant to be standing and walking. The buttock, along with other muscles, connects the body with the legs.

    In order to achieve full wellness, we need to massage all muscle groups. Often problems in neighbouring muscle groups are tied into the buttocks. As the entire body is connected, even a pain between the shoulders can be tied to a tight muscle in the hip or buttocks. This is why it's so important not only to focus on the area in pain/injured/tense when giving a massage, but remember the rest of the body as well.

    The same comes true for the inner thigh, though the muscle there is of less importance (compared to the buttocks). It's not wise to ignore any muscle group.

    I have planned to write an article about massage of the buttocks later on.

    So yes, I find it appropriate to massage the buttocks and inner thighs, and I don't see it as anything erotic at all. Personally I love having my buttocks massaged as they're always tight due to my posture and the works I do.


    Posted by Pia | Monday 28 June, 2010, 13:01
  9. Hi Pia I find your blog very interesting. My self and my wife are both naturists and we have a naturist massage every 4 or 5 weeks and find that it helps with us all being naked and if any thing stands up down south no one bothers
    regards steve

    Posted by Anonymous | Sunday 13 March, 2011, 09:20
  10. Dear Steve,

    Thank you for your comment. I am happy that you're enjoying my blog.


    Posted by Pia | Sunday 13 March, 2011, 10:18