I’ve come across this question a lot on the internet and I thought I’d offer my perspective on whether having a gay massage counts as cheating in a relationship. It’s clearly something that bothers a lot of people. Whereas my opinion is undoubtedly informed, it’s still just an opinion. Do you feel differently? Drop us an e-mail and let me know.

To cheat, there have to be rules.

If you’re sneakily helping yourself to the bank’s funds in a Monopoly game, you are cheating. Why? Because the rules of the game forbid this. They say you can have £200 when you pass go and the implication is that you cannot have a £500 note whenever it suits you. Similarly, the first thing you should ask yourself is: what are the rules of my relationship? “Don’t have sex with another person”? “Don’t put a profile on Grindr”? You might know immediately if gay massage is against the rules (i.e. cheating), or you might have to dig deeper.

To be certain of the rules, you will have to ask.

And yes, there are risks involved. Every time you are honest and straightforward with your partner, there are risks. You risk hurting and disappointing him. But if the question is important to you, ask you must. There is no way to have a wholly “secure” relationship: for example, our partners might fall out of love with us at any given moment, or we might. Hence it’s better to avoid a false sense of security found in secrecy and instead build a relationship based on honesty and openness.

You have to ask the right way.

Just because you’re being up front about something, doesn’t mean you have to be a brute. Choose a moment when you’re both relaxing with a glass of wine. Don’t ask “Can I…?”, because it creates a child-parent power dynamic. If you are thinking about a sensual massage, you could open the conversation up by encouraging your partner to discuss their erotic fantasies. Share some fantasies with them and ask to hear theirs. Listen, don’t shame them and show an interest. Then you could just say “I also have this fantasy of receiving a sensual massage. How does that make you feel?”. If you want to be reassuring, you can keep the focus on your partner by asking whether that’s something he would be interested in, too, or involving him by suggesting a couples massage.

  • Here’s an interesting article on how to talk about your sexual fantasies with your partner.

Golden rule: if you don’t ask, you won’t know. If you cannot discuss your wishes, interests and fantasies with your partner, you might never get to explore them. It will grow in you like a ball of sadness, slowly poisoning your relationship. You partner might not say “yes” to things, but he equally might. By airing your fantasies, you both draw and renegotiate your boundaries, keeping your relationship fresh and your priorities straight. It is scary, uncomfortable and difficult, but it leads to a sense of fulfilment.

What if your partner is not happy for you to have a massage?

There are two paths you can take without actually cheating if the experience of gay massage is important to you. One, you can draw a line. “This is important for me and I need to have this kind of freedom in my relationship”. Make no mistake – this is always a risky step and you have to weigh up your priorities beforehand. You draw your boundary, but your partner might draw his, and the two might be incompatible.

Your second option is to seek alternatives that would work for you both. Would your partner be okay if both of you were to be massaged simultaneously? Are their any in-massage boundaries he would like to draw? Failing that, how about if you both took a sensual massage course and learned to massage each other? There are many options that fall between the simple “yes” and “no”.

Whatever choices you make are yours.

At Touch of London, we see various situations. Sometimes a concerned partner gives us a call, or a client asks us to communicate with him only through e-mail. We don’t ask questions and we don’t judge. Adults lead complicated lives, and it is no business of a massage agency to meddle in them. Our clients value our discretion, and it is important to the image of the agency that we retain confidentiality at all times. For the same reason we never answer questions like “who are you?”, give away details or keep databases of client information. Like any relationship, a customer-business relationship needs trust to prosper.

male sitting in his underwear, browsing on his phone

Browsing Grindr: do the rules of your relationship allow that? Image courtesy of Sasha Kargaltsev, via Wikimedia Commons.

So relax.

It’s just a massage, and there is no morality police to criticise the choices you make. It’s something many people in a relationship do, and many others don’t. The truth is that the question “does having gay massage count as cheating?” doesn’t really matter, or rather the answer to it is not universal. “Cheating” is only real when there are rules. And it is you and your partner who make the rules of your relationship.

Photo at the top courtesy of Engin Akyurt, via Pixabay.