If you’re a massage virgin (or a virgin of any other sort), you know how to get the courage that a new experience demands. “Just do it”, “there’s nothing to be afraid of”, “give it a try”, etc. All of it sound advice, just entirely unhelpful when your hand hovers over your phone, and your heart is jumping out of your chest. Nor should you task your poor heart. Jumping into the deep end is one way to conquer the fear, but there is also a risk of developing an even greater fear, especially if something goes wrong.
So what are you to do?
There are some ways to ‘dip your toes in’ before taking the plunge and some ways to change your thinking slightly so your brain doesn’t feel like it’s under attack.
1. Work out what’s stopping you from having your first gay massage
Firstly, you want to understand your barrier. What prevents you from booking a massage that you actually want? The most common reasons are:
- Religion-induced guilt (“am I committing a sin?”)
- Confusion regarding your sexuality (“does this make me gay?”)
- Relationship commitments (“am I being unfaithful?”)
- Sexual inexperience (“it’s not something guys like me do”)
- Body image issues (“what if the masseur thinks me unattractive?”)
- Privacy concerns (“what if my friends / family find out?”)
- Safety concerns (“what if I get robbed or sexually assaulted?”)
Often, solutions to these problems overlap.
Or, in other words, explain to yourself why the fear that stops you is just a fear. Don’t dismiss it outright, but borrow this technique from CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and answer the following questions:
1) What’s the worst that could happen?
2) What’s the best that could happen?
3) What’s most likely to happen?
Some thoughts that might help you along:
- Religion-induced guilt. Although various religions are differently interpreted by people, love is at the heart of all the main teachings. So if you believe that God is love, you can believe that God loves you the way you are. Eroticism, sex and various sexual preferences that cause no harm to others should not be a source of guilt. Guilt comes from wrongdoing, and wrongdoing is about inflicting pain on others.
“I’ve always understood the two to be intertwined: sexuality and spirituality. That never changed.” ~Prince
- Confusion regarding your sexuality. We all exist somewhere on a sexual spectrum, rather than belonging to particular ‘boxes’ that can be easily labelled. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about ‘who you are’ and you don’t have to know ‘for sure’. Search for our identity (including sexual identity) can take a long time, and any pressure to ‘decide’ should be rejected. You will know when you know.
- Relationship commitments. Does your relationship have rules in regards to erotic massage and what do they say? People constantly rationalise what is ‘okay’ in their relationships, but here we can only advocate an open and honest approach (see below).
- Sexual inexperience. You might feel anxious, but savour the moment. You’re at a point in life that you will never be at again, and you will always remember your ‘firsts’. So find that curious, inquisitive part of you that made you excited about riding a bike or flying on the plane for the first time. Curiosity and trying new things is how we explore the world as children, and as adults we sometimes lose that sense of daring. Also, don’t forget that your masseur is a professional, he will lead you through the massage and you don’t need to ‘be’ in any particular way.
- Body image issues. You don’t become a masseur if you don’t like people and their bodies. So far, we haven’t had a single masseur saying that they didn’t want to work with a particular body type. People in caring professions (doctors, nurses, masseurs, other physical therapists) look how to leave you with a sense of wellbeing, not how to judge you. Furthermore, they work with various people and see a lot throughout their professional lives. They’re hard to surprise ;)
- Privacy concerns. You’re right to be concerned about your privacy! But it should not stop you from enjoying your life. You can take reasonable precautions (see our blog post on how to do it) to ensure that your business remains just that – yours. And it starts with dealing with a reputable agency that knows what discretion means. That’s why we have various seemingly strange rules (cash payments only; no marketing/other communications after the booking, etc.) in place.
- Safety concerns. Again, booking with an agency is a little safer because they have something to lose – their reputation. An independent masseur could potentially change his name and profile, but an agency cannot ‘rebrand’ easily, so it has to vet its masseurs carefully. However, that’s not to say that independents cannot be trusted! Bad things can happen anywhere, even on a night out at a bar. Even if you’re careful. The best thing we can do is take good safety precautions and hope that will suffice.
3. Take action in a thoughtful way
Rationalising can help, but taking action to reduce the perceived risk is the next logical step, because one way to deal with a fear is to reduce the perceived threat. Again, here are some ideas for the most common issues.
- Religion-induced guilt. Every religion in the world has many different interpretations. You can find branches of christianity, islam, etc. that are fine with a spectrum of sexualities and don’t see expressions of own sexuality as a sin. Why not see whether you have any such groups/denominations within your area and join them? Here’s a great article about how you don’t have to leave your faith to be fine with your sexuality.
- Confusion regarding your sexuality. One way to feel less confused by your sexuality is to learn more about it. You don’t have to start with a gay massage if it’s ‘too much’ at the moment. You could take small steps: label yourself as ‘heteroflexible’ on your dating profile; check out a variety of erotica or pornography online; have a walk in the Pride and see if it brings up any feelings.
- Relationship commitments. Why not talk to your partner and see how you both feel about it? Each relationship is full of negotiations. If you suspect that your partner might feel threatened by the idea, see how he would feel about a couples massage. You might find our posts on how to discuss couples massage and on whether gay massage amounts to cheating helpful.
- Sexual inexperience. Consider the kind of erotic experiences you have had, and take it a step further. So if having a gay massage feels daunting, how about having a therapeutic massage with a gay masseur? We can tailor the massage to you, and it needn’t be in the nude. You could start out as if you were having a regular therapeutic massage and you could give your masseur a sign during the session if you feel comfortable with adding some sensual elements.
- Body image issues. There is really no better solution than therapy when it comes to body image issues. Of course, there are small things you can do yourself outside of therapy. For example, you could remove negative reinforcements from your environment by forbidding ‘negging’ (i.e. ‘negative talk’), whether it comes from you, people around you, or the sort of media you engage with. Instead, connect to people and media that make you feel good about yourself and the world in general. Seek out positive representations of people who look like you and are enjoying life.
- Privacy concerns. There is a lot that can be done in this department. For some ideas to get you started, why not check out our guide to basic privacy.
- Safety concerns. There are some basic safety precautions that you can take. For example, exchange some messages with a new masseur beforehand, don’t feel bad about asking questions and don’t deal with someone who isn’t happy to give you answers. Don’t travel to areas that you don’t feel safe in. Don’t book with independent masseurs or agencies that don’t inspire trust. Even if you trust the person, don’t leave high value belongings (e.g. a wallet) lying around in view during the massage. And if something made you feel comfortable, give the agency some feedback so they can look into it!
And finally…your first gay massage?
Ultimately, it’s your life, and you decide how you want to live it. Whether you decide to venture out of your comfort zone and live adventurously, or stick with what you know, is entirely up to you. This blog post is for those, who do want to try gay massage for the first time, but find it hard to take that step. If you don’t find the idea exciting, interesting and appealing, you might be better off doing something else. After all, this is not high school anymore, where we would do the dumbest things for fear of being called a ‘chicken’. So listen to yourself and live the life that you want!
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~Steve Jobs