Sensual Massage: Is it right for you?

Ever want a massage that validates you as a whole, breathing, sensual being? A massage where draping, or not, isn’t important?  A massage without judgments or expectations around you being a naturally erotic, sensual person?  Then sensual or erotic massage may be right for you.

You learn to use breath, sensate focus, set intention and express boundaries to enter a timeless and treasured, suspended state of pleasure.  Whole body massage, which may include the touching of breasts and genitals, asks that you articulate your choices and exercise consent skills, both of which enhance your sex life.

Sensual massage is not to be confused with sexual massage.  A sexual massage is about receiving genital stimulation for an expected sexual release.  Whereas sensual massage is about loosing expectations of a goal so you may enjoy your body, moment by moment, in new and profound ways.  You loose the need to perform, get it right and get somewhere…and the anxiety that comes with it.

Touch is from practitioner to the client for the purpose of promoting awareness, pleasure, healing and empowerment.  The client learns how to receive and feel, listen to and enjoy his/her own sensations.  The distraction of mutual touch and trying ‘to take care of the other person’ dissolves, giving you the freedom and grace to feel your own body.  One often remarks, “I felt heightened peace and excitement…at the same time!”

Women clients, who often don’t want to rock the boat and just ‘go along with whatever,’  practice expressing what they like.  They learn to notice and express their own rhythm, pace and what they want and don’t want on their bodies.  Men, the traditional givers, learn to receive for a change.  They learn to tune into their own sensations and experience whole body (prolonged) pleasure. Couples discover new erotic touch techniques, new ways to talk about desires, and new ways to get just the touch they want.

Whereas therapeutic massage partitions the body into good and bad zones, sensual massage, by celebrating the whole body, becomes a spiritual experience.  Whole body massage treats you as integral being–whole, natural, deserving of pleasure, and capable of profound states of connection and ecstasy.

Charla Hathaway, PhD, Certified Sexological Bodyworker and trained Esalen masseusse, offers Sensual Massage at  She teaches classes in erotic massage, sexual empowerment and has authored books on erotic touch and intimacy.