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Some people  actively or furtively seek out the combination of massage and eroticism. Others detest just the thought of it and would rather have it eradicated from the face of the earth.

When my professional massage colleagues read this title, they will cringe that those two words are mentioned in the same sentence.  And all professional massage associations will ban me for writing about it (just kidding, I hope). It’s a hot topic. It gets tempers flaring, and opinions shooting about like arrows.

Who is this article for

Some people will think: “Finally someone who is not afraid to talk about it, someone who would rather be controversial than boring, someone who is not hiding behind a predefined set of opinions.” If you are part of the latter group, I am writing this article for you.

Is massage and sensuality all bad, unprofessional, unethical, or could it also be beautiful, uplifting and inspiring? I will let you decide.

Massage and eroticism is not a black and white issue

We are not necessarily dealing with the two extreme ends of the spectrum: on one end the professional massage therapists with a strict code of ethics and on the other end the “therapists” in the red light district with long painted fingernails, breasts bursting out of skimpy dresses and makeup more resembling a tropical bird than a human face.

There is an area in between. It can be a grey area, or it might not be grey at all. You will see.

Just to make it clear where I am coming from

But before we get into it, here is my official disclaimer: I have been a professional massage therapist for over 16 years, and I am about as clean in this department as Snow White in the Seven Dwarfs story.

If there would be medals for professional conduct in massage therapy, I would deserve one. Seriously. So now you know where I am at. You can always read the testimonials on my website or the comments on my forum.

I am writing this to  give you some food for thought and to expand your way of thinking. Massage and sensuality is not a black and white issue, it is not a matter of right and wrong as you will see.

Three different scenarios

Scenario # 1: This one is definitely in the grey zone. It happened when I was traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam. I wanted to experience a massage. So I went to a tourism office and explained that I wanted a clean professional massage with nothing sexy about it. In some Asian countries you have to make that clear since massage can have different meanings here.

So I made it very clear and they gave me the address of a spa. When I went there I was greeted by a receptionist, everything looked clean and professional, all the therapists wore white uniforms and all the treatment rooms had a private sauna which you could use before the session.

My therapist definitely knew what she was doing and she gave me a good professional massage. I was properly draped and everything seemed to be fine until at the very end she put her hand on my genital and asked me if I wanted massage there. I declined and that was it.

So now the question is: Did this one suggestion invalidate the entire massage which was otherwise good, clean and professional? Clearly this is not acceptable behavior as far as my standards are concerned.

What we had there was a professional spa with optional extensions that definitely fall into the ‘unprofessional’ category by western standards. But apparently the Vietnamese standards are different from ours. Is that bad or just different? You decide.

Scenario # 2: This one is not in the grey zone. Imagine this: You and your wife decide to have a baby. You want to make the event beautiful, meaningful and full of good energy.

So you decide that you want to create a suitable atmosphere by decorating the room nicely, lighting candles, burning incense, and giving each other a wonderful sensual massage before your attempt to conceive a child.

You want to make the time of conception a beautiful memory for both of you. Here we have a situation where sex and massage are perfectly compatible by the highest standards.

Scenario # 3: You and your partner or spouse have allowed your relationship to slip into stale boring territory and it looks like it might not last much longer. Your intimate life, if there is any, is totally uninspiring and there is not much attraction or desire.

Both of you start to think about other options for your life. But you have been together for a long time and have a lot in common. You can remember that at one time you were very attracted to each other.

So you do some research about how to rekindle the  flame of  attraction and you decide that  both of you will learn some massage techniques so that you can give each other wonderful sensual massages and breathe new life into your uninspiring intimate routine.

You both find out that this feels amazingly good and it works! You gave your relationship a new lease on life. Instead of heading for separation, you discovered a new way of interacting with each other by using massage as a tool. It saved your relationship.

I think by now it is clear that “sensuality and massage” is not necessarily a dirty word. It is not automatically an unethical combination. In fact, outside of the context of professional massage therapy it can be a perfect combination.

It can be part of life, and it can help to make life better. My purpose is to defuse this ‘hot topic’ and provide some food for thought. I leave it up to you to make up your own mind, and I would love to hear your opinions in the comment section.

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The author, Shama KernThe author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses. You can reach him at