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Interesting article about Erotic Massage For Women. Published by Tatler
It has long been acknowledged that men will, on occasion, receive ‘happy endings’ when they have a massage. But the notion of a woman enjoying similar ministrations from a male (or female) practitioner is far more unusual. In my research for this piece, I only heard of one example – our friend in Miami, who is still a little startled by (but not regretful of) her experience. However, the feeling in the industry is that in the not-too-distant future this sort of ‘therapy’ will become much more mainstream, available on the spa menus of upmarket resorts and smart hotels the world over. The general manager of a very swanky hotel in the Maldives with a big-name-beauty-brand spa says there is already an additional service called ‘special stretching’.
But for the present, ‘progress’ in this field is happening on the margins of the holistic-therapy world, where it remains clandestine, unregulated and subject to imaginative euphemisms. Martin, a successful London-based male osteopath who specialises in gynaecological disorders, thinks this is a shame, partly because women’s sexual pleasure is so much more complicated than men’s, and really they could do with all the help they can get, but also because ‘for me it is just a question of equality – why are you not allowed to have a massage for 50 minutes and have an orgasm in the last 10 minutes? This happens for men all the time. But hardly ever for women.’ Martin is considering opening a clinic that would offer this kind of service to women, one where male and female therapists, well trained and comprehensively vetted, would massage and masturbate ladies who could then return to their offices (and single lives or marriage beds) with renewed vigour.
There would certainly be a market for it, if the experience of a handsome masseur (tall, dark, man bun) at an eye-wateringly expensive spa in central London is anything to go by. ‘A lot of women start getting undressed while I am still in the room, and many of them don’t wear pants and hoick up the towel so I can see everything,’ explains Edward. ‘I’ve had a woman say, “What else do you offer?” I’ve been asked whether I am able to continue the massage in a hotel room. I’m often asked to sort out a problem on the inner thigh; one lady even said her “inguinal crease” had an issue. Some will be more subtle, bringing up the idea of “exotic massage” and asking me if I know anything about it.’ He mainly treats the wives of very rich men, as well as CEOs and women who run their own companies. ‘Women just seem to be a bit ballsier than they used to be. Maybe it is the high-net-worth women I treat, but they’re very forward with this stuff. I was once walking through reception and a woman looked at me and said to the receptionist, “I’d like a treatment with him, please – whatever he does.” She was then wildly inappropriate during the whole thing… One of the female therapists I work with had a woman give herself her own happy ending at the end of the treatment – like she wasn’t there. She then just got up and put her robe on and left like nothing had happened.’
But until Edward relents, or Martin opens his clinic, women who want more than just a vigorous rubdown with scented oils need to venture to more avant-garde destinations, such as California –
the only place in the world that gives official certification to ‘sexological bodyworkers’. They are trained at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco in ‘touch, breath and movement to become familiar with, articulate about and competent in the uses of profound ecstatic and erotic states’. They learn female and male genital massage, as well as masturbation training and ’embodiment’ – fully inhabiting their bodies and teaching others how to do this. They can then treat all sorts of people, from those who just want a really good time, to those who have experienced abuse, trauma or an inability to connect with other human beings and to feel pleasure. Which is indubitably a problem. ‘So many of the women I see have never had an orgasm. I would say that 20 per cent of them don’t even know what a clitoris is,’ says Martin.
There are sexological bodyworkers in the UK too, but they are not officially certified. Shireen is British but trained in Australia and is now based in Grantham, where she masturbates clients for money: ‘Some do come to me thinking they are just going to get a happy ending, but what I am doing is educational – it is about teaching people to ask for the touch they want, to notice the difference between types of touch, what they like, what they don’t like.’ It is a legal grey area, but, importantly, Shireen remains clothed at all times, wears latex gloves and makes it very clear that this is not reciprocal. Sessions last about two hours, and her clients are mainly men, but she does see some women too. ‘I do vulva massage, which can be helpful for women with scar tissue from C-sections or other procedures, and also women who have internal stored tension from sex that hasn’t been pleasurable.’
Back in San Francisco, you will find the headquarters of OneTaste, founded in 2001 and committed to the exploration of the female orgasm through the practice of Orgasmic Meditation. The process, which founder Nicole Daedone spent a number of years industriously perfecting, involves a clothed male or female lightly rubbing the upper left-hand quadrant of a woman’s clitoris for exactly 15 minutes (usually timed on an iPhone). Apparently there are more nerve endings in this part of the clitoris than anywhere else, but although orgasm is not assured, deep, resonant and psychologically transformative sexual pleasure is promised. The woman receiving the OM will be naked from the waist down and lying in a nest of pillows. There is a rigorous protocol involved, including rubber gloves, lubricant and a concluding ‘framing’ conversation in which the two people involved discuss how they felt during the meditation. No money exchanges hands between the stroker and the strokee – this is essentially peer-to-peer pleasuring – but the people who partake will have had to pay £150 to attend a day-long course, which includes ‘live demonstrations of the orgasm state by two advanced practitioners’ and afterwards attendees will be invited to join ‘circles’ peopled by men and women open to giving and receiving OM. Coaching packages of three, six and 12 sessions are also offered with a personal OM trainer ‘to give you guidance and feedback to ensure your OM practice is attuned’ and ‘improve your stroke’. OneTaste has now spread to New York, Los Angeles and other US cities, as well as London, where it is called TurnOn Britain and offers courses in Angel, Old Street and London Bridge. ‘We believe in rooting all that we do in the practice of Orgasmic Meditation and letting it inform our actions from relationships to business meetings,’ explains the website. In a TEDx speech given by Daedone about female pleasure, which has been watched by over 1.3m people, she says that she looks forward to the day when her patented orgasmic practice is considered as mainstream as meditation and yoga.
However, the yoga community already knows quite a bit about the female orgasm. ‘Yoni massage’ is something that is practised by some yoga teachers, many of whom have studied in India, which was where Jimmy was when I spoke to him. He is an Old Etonian who fell into yoga over a decade ago after becoming dissatisfied with his career as an actor. He offers all sorts of services to help people who are having trouble with their sexuality, including yoni massage. ‘The massage I do varies according to why women have come to me, whether it is to get in touch with their femininity, an inability to orgasm, shame, trauma…’ The ‘theory’ is that tension can be stored inside the vagina just like in any other part of the body, and yoni massage can help relieve this tension, promoting enhanced sensitivity and enjoyment. ‘Psychological problems can be stored in the yoni as physical tension,’ he explains, ‘which can cause pain or numbness. Pain is a signal that we are in need of healing.’
Jimmy’s ‘healing’ begins with a conversation about what the client might need, at which point he will suggest they might like to see a female practitioner instead. When he has their absolute consent, they will do some meditation together, followed by a two-hour body massage and, once his client is relaxed, he will enter the yoni with his fingers and ‘map the geography’ of the vagina: ‘The G-spot, the K-spot, the A-spot – no one teaches this stuff to women.’ He will then find areas of tension within the vagina and massage them away, allowing for greater ‘energy flow’ and, ultimately, better orgasms. ‘Women can experience seven different types of orgasm – the clitoral orgasm is only one of those,’ he says. This is a borderland of sexual experimentation where the liability is all your own. Jimmy says that he is ‘very boundaried. I make it clear that there is no reciprocation.’ He feels that he is helping women to unlock their full sexual potential, as well as dealing with trauma and personal issues. He takes this side of his work so seriously that he is also training to become a psychotherapist.
His version of yoni massage would involve a head massage, a figure-of-eight massage around the breasts and some breath work into the sternum before progressing to massage the stomach and mons pubis. ‘I would do a sweeping movement up the thighs, which you would never do in normal massage.’ And once the woman was relaxed, he would enter her with his fingers, circle the inside of the vagina, find the G-spot, ‘the spongy area on the front internal wall of the vagina’, pulse this and then stimulate the clitoris until the woman had an orgasm. ‘Then we might have a hug, a chat and a cup of green tea.’ Which all sounds rather delightful.
I spoke to many women in the process of researching this article, and pretty much all agreed that if a regulated and safe service was available that would enable them to discover more about their potential for sexual pleasure, they would want to try it. Female sexuality is incredibly complex, emotionally and imaginatively, as well as physically. It is also something that women are often too embarrassed to discuss openly, even with their partners. For women, this kind of service might not be offering a happy ending so much as a happy beginning.
The Vaginal Orgasm
The elephant in the room, really. This, more than anything, is what women want to understand and experience. And for those of you intimidated by the idea of yoni massage and its seven kinds of orgasm (‘SEVEN! I am only just about managing one’), Alexandra Katehakis, founder and clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles, has some sage advice: ‘I have read so much scientific research on the female orgasm, and what I have learnt is that everyone’s sexuality is as unique as their fingerprint. All women describe their orgasms differently, so really there are as many different types of orgasm as there are women. I would not get hung up on trying to tick off different types.’ However, she does have some techniques that she would like to share. ‘Breath is very important. Don’t hold your breath when you have sex. I tell my clients to imagine the breath going in and out of their vaginas with their inhalations and exhalations, which will increase bloodflow and sensitivity. And don’t tense your body – with tension comes numbness. Keep your pelvis loose and your legs floppy. These two simple things will definitely improve sensitivity and orgasm.’
Martin, with his extensive knowledge of the female anatomy, also has some suggestions: ‘Vaginal orgasms are extremely mechanical. They involve stimulation of the G-spot. Once you have found it, it needs to be stimulated by repetitive touch for at least 15 minutes before penetration. Then the best sexual position to continue this stimulation is for the woman to be on her back, a cushion under her bottom, and for their partner to be sat on his heels, so the penis is angled upwards. This position and a repetitive motion will have to be maintained for at least a further 15 minutes.’
So there we have it: breath, a pillow and a happy ending for all.