This is a topic that we have been meaning to talk about for a long time. It was inevitable, really – massage involves male bodies. The body of the masseur, the body of the person being massaged. Bodies in close contact. But while it’s a fascinating topic, it can also be a minefield dotted with insecurities, prejudices and fears that are just waiting to blow up. After all, we all have or have had some issues with our own bodies. Nevertheless, we feel that talking about it should not be a taboo, and so we invite you to a candid conversation about male body in gay massage.
Are the masseur photos real?
We are sometimes asked whether the photos of our masseurs are real. The answer is that most photos are of the actual masseurs but not all of them are. A few are stock photos of models, chosen based on their similarity to the masseurs they are supposed to represent. When they start working with us, each masseur decides for himself whether to use his own photos or to use stock photos instead. Those who choose stock photos usually are concerned about preserving their anonymity. We respect that, just like we respect the privacy of the people who come to us for a massage. We also answer any questions regarding the photos truthfully, so ask away.
Body positivity goes both (all!) ways
As the body positivity movement grows, we get more used to the fact that male body comes in various shapes and sizes. Most people celebrate this diversity by expressing appreciation towards self and others. But sometimes, on a bad day perhaps, the positive message turns into criticism. For example, I have seen people say they’re ‘tired of the perfect muscular model’. Our position is that we can love and admire various bodies, but never at the cost of putting someone else down. If someone gets a lot of positive attention for their looks, it does not mean that negative comments don’t hurt them. No one owns body positivity – not thin people, not overweight people, not the ones who are in between – it’s there for everyone to enjoy.
Some requests we get
Sometimes we get enquiries from people who want to book a masseur who has a particular body type. Over the years, we have been asked about masseurs who are:
- hairy (with a few requests for “extremely hairy” masseurs);
- of a particular skin colour – various skin colours mentioned;
- of average build;
- slightly overweight, with one specific request for someone with a bigger stomach;
We can’t always fulfill these requests but it’s interesting and somewhat encouraging that people seek variety and that they have such different tastes. It goes counter to the widespread belief that we all just want the same thing, whatever is ‘in’ at that point in time.
Fulfilment of a fantasy
Which might pose a question, why are all of our masseurs what can be described as ‘muscular’? Well, it’s a niche that we operate in. We offer the fulfilment of a particular kind of fantasy – that of a strong, chiselled guy who might have inspired ancient Greek and Roman art. This type of male body requires constant maintenance and a strict regime which is hard to achieve and not a priority for many people. Yet it has a lot of admirers! We choose to specialize rather than try to be all things to all people.
Preference and objectification
Which leads us to another potentially sensitive point. Choosing someone based on their body is a form of objectification. This is not acceptable to all men and it should not be assumed that every masseur you encounter is happy to have their body discussed or even openly looked at. Our masseurs are comfortable with this – provided that the comments are positive and respectful. They specialise in massage therapy but they are also there to fulfil a particular fantasy, which sometimes involves being looked at as an object of desire. They are aware of it and open about it. Many are used to the attention through current or prior modelling work.
Relationship between muscles and strength
Some people believe that muscular masseurs are better at their job but this is not strictly speaking correct. Strength is important in some forms of massage (e.g. deep tissue massage) as it allows the masseur to manipulate the muscles. However, while a muscular masseur is almost always strong, a masseur who doesn’t sport large muscles can be of equal strength. This is because strength training does not necessarily result in large muscle mass (think ‘lean and mean’ builds). Building large muscles involves much more than strength training, as in order for the muscles to show one has to maintain a low percentage of body fat. More often than not, this means a strict diet.
No such thing as total body confidence
Faced with powerfully built masseurs, some of the men who book a massage become self-conscious about their own bodies. This happens less nowadays thanks to the body positivity movement but it is still pretty common. We do our best to reassure anyone who needs it but it will be a great time when we can all finally feel comfortable about how we look. It’s not just the clients either, masseurs who are meeting each other for the first time (for training or for a four-hand massage) sometimes also feel self-conscious. And these are men who receive compliments on a regular basis! It goes to show that no one is immune from the niggling doubt that their body might not be “enough”.
Massage is a way to care for the male body
However, massage is a great way for someone to become more attuned to their body and so more comfortable in their own skin. It is not a substitute for psychotherapy but it is a therapy, although of a different sort. Having one’s body touched, stroked and caressed in a session can be especially important if the person is not receiving much touch in their day-to-day life. We have nerve endings that respond only to gentle stroking, nerve endings that need regular stimulation. Furthermore, massage is a form of self-care, and self-care is one way we can reaffirm our connection with our body. Every time our bodies receive care, it’s a reminder that they are worth it.