Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sex and Massage Part 4: Nudity and Touch


"Because impudence is a vice, it does not follow that modesty is a virtue; it
is built upon shame, a passion in our nature, and may be either good
or bad according to the actions performed from that motive".


- Bernard de Mandeville     



 



Spa Nudity and Therapeutic Touch


If you're asked to name a profession that involves nudity and touch other than massage, what would it be? Exactly! It is sad that in some minds, prostitution is actually closely related to massage! Even sadder that, in some cases, massage is being used as a front for it! We can see here how the client-therapist relationship in Massage Therapy can easily become confused and uncomfortable, since nudity and touch regardless of the profession involved (legitimate or not) can invoke sexual subtext unintentionally or not. As professionals it is our job to educate ourselves of the sexual response that nudity and touch can trigger in our clients and ourselves (see also Part 5) and it is up to us to define and articulate an ethical sexual boundary (see Part 6).


There are moral and ethical values which must always be observed by the client and the therapist during a massage when it comes to nudity and touch (see also Part 2). And though, different countries and massage types have various laws and regulations in regards to nudity and touch, the client’s level of comfort and modesty should always be respected at all times during the session and the therapist is obliged to full discretion and professionalism. Here in the US, it is mandatory to use draping and/or wear underwear during a massage, in France on the other hand, for example, there is no such law and it is common not to use draping and be completely naked on the table. Regardless of the level of acceptance of Nudity and Touch, it is important for the client and the therapist to distinguished "spa nudity" and "therapeutic touch" from "sexual nudity" and "sexual touch".


Nudity is not really a requirement for massage, only touch is. Different types of massage require different levels of undressing just as much as different levels or pressure of touch or contact points. Some disciplines are actually done with the client fully clothed. The bottom line is that the client must always feel comfortable and relaxed with the level of nudity, and the therapist must always respect this. And we must remember that the body can react to the intimacy of a therapeutic touch without there being anything sexual in it - it's the body's natural reaction to touch (see Part 5).


On the side of the client, the more they get used to therapeutic touch, a.k.a. legit massage, the less is the chance of any unwanted reaction. On the side of the therapist, the off-limit areas are called off-limits for a reason due to the intimacy of such a touch, nor is there any therapeutic benefit to such kind of "touch". If these areas happen to be in the way during the massage, the area is just NOT massaged at all. There are plenty of techniques which can be used instead, and many surrounding areas which can be treated without having to "relocate" anything. Unclothed or dressed, a massage treatment can be a sensual enjoyable experience, but the touch should never, under any level of nudity or any circumstance whatsoever, be sexual.



To read more about Nudity and Touch in massage, read also [this related post] and Part 7 of this series.



- Leo Feraer-Oporto     




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