Once upon a time, in another life, I was a massage therapist. While I’m not any more, I still love to give someone a massage.
All the better if that person is naked and blindfolded at the time, and I have a selection of sensory toys close at hand, like this little guy:
My experience is that having some slick moves is less imoportant. More importantly, your attitudes is crucial, because you will absolutely, inevitably transmit your attitude through your hands, and they will notice it.
A good massage is 10% the skills and techniques you use and 90% the attitude you bring to it.
At festivals over the last few years, I have run workshops on sensual massage for couples. I’ve also provided one-on-two private lessons for couples on a small number of occasions.
Here are the main points that I try my hardest to get across…
1 – PAY. ATTENTION.
I repeat this constantly throughout my workshops.
It is the single most significant factor in whether someone will feel like they are getting a good massage or not. It doesn’t matter if you are massaging someone’s fingertips or their clitoris – PAY. FUCKING. ATTENTION.
I will usually say something like: Imagine the person who is massaging you is thinking about a conversation that they had with someone three hours ago. Or, thinking about what they are going to cook for dinner tonight, and whether they need to buy more ingredients. What are their hands going to feel like on your body? Do you think you are you going to get a satisfying massage?
Now, imagine that they are thinking purely about wanting you to feel really, really, really good. That’s all. It’s the only thing they are holding in their mind. Your enjoyment is their only focus, the only thing in their heart at this moment, the only thing that is coming through their fingers and hands. What are the chances that you’re getting a good massage?
Make sense? Okay, good. So…
Paying attention encompasses and extends to how you set up the space for the massage. I’m not going to spend time here giving you step-by-step instructions on how to set up the space or rub someone’s bits. If you are paying attention to the details, then you will figure all of this out for yourself and probably do a much better job than if I tried to tell you how, given that you know more about what you have available to work with in your space than I do.
1(a) – Plan it before you start it
What I will say is this: spend some time. Don’t rush about setting things up. If you only have limited time to set up at the actual moment of the massage, then spend some time beforehand planning things out. Write your plan on a piece of paper so you can give your mind time and space to process how you are going to make this happen. The more attention you give the massage before you have even begun toi set it up, the better you will be at it – I guarantee it.
Details. Small things. Candles, flower petals, music, these are all details. The more thought, feeling, and time you put into building the experience, the more your partner will feel valued and honoured. So, get into the details.
Paying attention also means actually caring about how your partner feels as they receive the massage. Which segways nicely to the next point:
2 – Communicate.
Ask the person you are about to massage whether they tend to like a more gentle pressure or a more firm pressure, or somewhere in between.
Make your queries specific and comparative: If you say to the person, “how does it feel?” then what are they going to say….?
[bored voice] “goooooood…”
If you ask “is that good?” then what are they going to say…?
[bored voice] “yeeeessss…”
“How does it feel” is open-ended. Your partner is likely to want to mae you feel good by giving you positive feedback. But this doesn’t achieve what you’re setting out for.
“Is that good” is specific, but only offers one option for an answer. Again, your partner will want to provide positive reinforcement, and will often do so at their own expense.
Of course they will say yes. You’ve asked what is called a “non-winning question.”
Ask a winning question
A non-winning question is one that has a stock-standard answer that we barely even think about before we answer, like, ‘How are you today?” / [bored or distracted voice] “I’m fine how are you?” This is a question designed not to get a truthful answer, but simply to grease the wheels and quickly move on to something else.
So, ask a winning question. A winning question is where everybody wins: you win and also your partner wins; you both get what you want.
A winning question asks for specific information. the best way to get specific information is to ask a question that offers a choice of responses.
So, make the offer: “do you want a more gentle pressure, more firm, or is that good for you?”
BOOOM, you get good information back that will directly inform what you will do next. You can be confident that your partner actually want what you’re doing and will likely enjoy it, and everybody wins.
Other examples of winning questions:
- “Do you like it more when I do this, [do the thing] or when I do this? [do the other thing]”
- “What’s been your favourite thing so far?” [remember this and do it again later]
- You seem to like this, is there a way I can do it that you think will feel even better? [pay attention and do what they say]
If your partner is clearly not enjoying what you are doing, stop. Check in. “Is there something I can do differently?” This is a great question to ask.
If your partner is really struggling to enjoy it – and it may be nothing to do with you – offer to take a break. Ask them what’s going on with them and adjust course as-needed. Remember that the only good response for you to give when they tell you what they need is “Okay. Thanks for letting me know that.” And go from there.
The simple traffic-light system works well here. Since it only uses single-word cues, it’s easy to speak up and be honest.
If your partner says “Red” everything stops, lights (and clothes) go on, and nothing more happens until everybody feels 100% absolutely safe. You may need to reschedule your sexy massage to another day (or week, or month, or never).
“Yellow / Orange” means pause, something isn’t quite right. Check in, see what needs to change. Adapt as-needed and only continue if the issue is resolved.
“Green” means keep going, I’m loving this!
3 – KEEP communicating!
At least the first one-quarter of the massage will involve checking in and asking your winning questions several times in order to “calibrate” your pressure and techniques to the recipient’s liking.
NB: do NOT ask “how’s the pressure?” Because what are they going to say?
[bored voice] “Goooooood…”
What kind of question will you ask? That’s right, a winning question! Offer that choice. For example, “would you like a little more pressure, a little less, or is that good?”
After a few times asking this, you can make it more brief and simple:
“Bit more? Bit less? good?”
You can also try changing your voice as you go further into the massage, so that even your winning questions sound sexy. Which makes sense, really, because they are sexy questions.
After some time – so long as you are paying attention – you will begin to get a feel for what kind of pressure your partner likes and enjoys, as well as the moves they like. Then, less vocal communication is needed. BUT…..
4 – KEEP paying attention!
As you begin to communicate less verbally you start to communicate more non-verbally.
Look out for physical responses: flinches, muscles tensing or softening against you, breathing faster or slower, deep sighs or sharp breaths, shoulders visibly going down or up, face expression changing, their back arching or slouching, whether they are relaxing into your hands of slightly moving away from them… these can all mean different things.
Things like goosebumps can also tell you whether they might be feeling cold. If you see goosebumps and you’re not sure, ask. You may need to turn up the heating, and it’s hard to relax into feeling sexy when you’re freezing your tits or balls off.
In so many ways, this type of communication will give you much more useful information than anything they say out loud. When we communicate with our bodies and faces, more emotion and honesty comes through. “Bodies don’t lie.”
People will often say things to make you feel better that aren’t actually true – especially if they love you and don’t want to upset you. If you ask your recipient, “how does that feel?” and they reply, “_GOOD_” through clenched teeth, with their back arched, flinching away from you, are you likely to believe them…?
Once again…. !–PAY–ATTENTION–! If you are already paying attention, then responding to your partner’s non-verbal signals will largely be instinctive for you.
Verbal communication is essential at the start, but your goal is to get into a completely trusting, non-verbal, emotional state. If you get to this place, great work! That’s what we call a success. 🙂
Even if it’s not instinctive for you to notice these physical cues, you can learn them. The way to learn? …You guessed it: Pay attention.
That’s it. Just pay attention.
You will figure out the rest as you go. If you’re not figuring it out, then you’re not really paying attention. 😉 So, try again.
You will get there. It just takes practise.
5 – SLOW. DOWN.
Practice takes patience, and patience takes practice.
Most beginners are nervous and go way too fast. This is normal and 95% of newbies do it. I’m not even talking about rushing towards the genitals here, though that’s also an element. I’m just talking about the massaging itself.
Try your best to think like this: whatever you’re doing, slow it down by half. Honestly, the slower you go, the more relaxing it will feel.
Also, repeat this mantra:
The deeper you go, the slower you go.”
There is a linear correlation between massage depth and massage speed.
And while we’re on the topic of genitals… Again, don’t rush! Tease your partner. Make them want you to touch them in their most sensitive places, and make them enjoy wanting you to do it.
As a guideline, take at least fifteen minutes at minimum before you go between their legs. And when you do… go sloooooooowly.
If you like, you can draw out the experience and delay the more direct stimulation by using some impact or sensory toys: floggers, crops, pinwheels, fluffy or feathery things, or even just your fingernails if you don’t have any of those things. Again – this is included in the detail aspect of paying attention. 😉
For some of you, a sexy massage may just be the entrée before the main course of more intense BDSM play. For others it may be the prelude to sexy bedroom fun. In any case, I encourage you to take…
6 – Structure your massage in three stages.
Stage 1: Gentle, broad, warm up. Open hands, gentle movements, broad surfaces of all fingers and heel of hand, forearms, palms, etc.Stage 2: Specific and detailed. Get granular. Feel into the tissues and use smaller contact surfaces like fingers and thumbs. Stage 3: Gentle, broad, warm down. Open hands, etc.
Imagine it like having a conversation with someone you’ve just met. You introduce yourself with small talk. Then you get into the nitty-gritty of the conversation. Then you finish with pleasantries and bid your farewells. It’s what we call politeness. Be polite.
1, 2, 3 – Broad, specific, broad. That’s your structure.
7 – Body mechanics.
This is more important than skills or techniques. You can’t keep up skills or techniques if you physically fatigue before you can use them properly. look after your body!
It makes no sense to make someone else feel better by messing up your self.
(a) Stack your joints. Make straight lines between your fingers/thumbs, wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder as much as possible. Play around with this to find the most energy-efficient stacks for each technique you use.
(b) Use body weight/gravity. “Gravity is your bestest, bestest friend.” (Repeat this throughout the session.) By using gravity you are literally feeding the energy of Mother Earth herself through your body and into the person receiving your massage.
(c) Vary your contact surfaces. If you use your thumbs the whole time for ten straight minutes, what’s going to happen?? Learn to use your fingers, learn to brace your fingers and thumbs with other body parts, learn to use the heels of your hands, the edges of your hands, your knuckles, your fists, your elbows and forearms. If one body part is getting sore or tired, switch to a different part.
Don’t sacrifice yourself. Nobody likes a broken hero!
8 – THEN practice your skills.
Only after you master these first steps will be able to turn your focus towards learning specific skills and techniques, including the transition from body massage to yoni or lingham (genital) massage.
As a beginner, do not concern yourself with getting the techniques “right”, at all. Like, just don’t. It’s not anywhere near as important as (1) Paying Attention, and (2) Communicating to Win.
Honestly, if you can get these first attention+communication steps right, it doesn’t even matter what techniques you use, because your recipient’s eyes will already be rolling back in their heads and they will already be drooling and making all sorts of weird animal noises…!
- Pay Attention
- Slow Down
- Broad → Specific → Broad
- Body Mechanics
- PAY. ATTENTION.
Did I mention to pay attention? You should pay attention.
Also: PAY. FUCKING. ATT. ENTION.
That’s it, I think.
…….Oh wait! Also, have fun!!
Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever written this down completely before. I think I’m going to print this and hand it out next time I do a workshop!
Hope this helps. Good luck and, more importantly, have fun!!