Guide to Erotic Massage for Partners

Erotic massage is an excellent way to tap into intense sensuality.

Erotic massage, also called sensual massage, is similar to mindful masturbation in that it encourages practitioners to be present and in the moment with eroticism. The ‘goal’ of an erotic massage, if there is one, isn’t necessarily to orgasm. It is for partners to be present with pleasure, together.

Orgasm may happen, or it may not. Either outcome is fine as long as everyone enjoys themselves. Many find that transitioning from erotic massage into sex comes naturally. Others do not experience this desire, and that’s okay.

I highly recommend trying mindful masturbation before testing the waters of erotic massage. Not sure how? Join the waitlist for my next class on it.

Mindful masturbation and erotic massage are not exclusive. You can enjoy both in the same week, day, or even moment if you wish.

Sensual massage brings people together. It encourages participants to bond through shared experience and pleasure. Let’s dive into how to get started.

Setting the Scene

Photo by Hakan Erenler

What kind of environment is most conducive to the relaxation and sensual pleasure in your relationship? Consider ambiance, context, and comfort.

Ambiance.

For some, lighting candles, burning incense, and/or playing soft music helps set the mood.

For others, a preliminary trip to the spa or heading out on a camping trip to spend time in nature may be more appropriate. Do what feels right for your shared preferences and relationship dynamic.

Context.

Candles, spa treatments, or birdsong rarely override ringing cell phones or urgent to-do list items. As much as possible, silence devices and take care of immediate needs to reduce distraction. Tidy the room where the massage is happening, if you can. If you have children, try erotic massage at a time when they’re out of the house.

It’s common for partners turning to erotic massage to have some sexual struggles that they’re bringing to the experience. If that’s the case, do your best to let go of fears and hesitations with regards to sex for this activity. Keep an open mind and kind heart, setting any frustrations aside.

Remember: Orgasm, and even sex, are not the goals of erotic massage. Bring curiosity and a willingness to be present with the experience, and let the rest unfold as it does without expectation.

Comfort.

For the recipient of the massage to feel relaxed, a soft but firm resting area is ideal. A bed with a cozy blanket usually works. If the mattress is too soft to lie on your stomach comfortably, try lying on your back or sitting in a comfortable chair or recliner.

The massager’s comfort should also be taken into account. If giving a massage to someone in a recliner, for example, it may be helpful to use pillows on the floor for sitting or kneeling.

Finally, don’t forget room temperature. Particularly if a recipient will be nude and covered in massage oil, make sure they will be comfortable.

Choosing a Massage Oil or Lubricant

Photo by Alesia Kozik

While massage oil or lubricant isn’t required for an erotic massage, many people enjoy the enhanced sensation. It also makes it easier for the massager to smoothly and firmly rub their hands over their partner’s body for longer periods.

Traditional massage oils, especially scented ones, are not safe for internal use. That includes in the vagina and rectum. Avoid using essential oils and scented, flavored, or warming agents if penetrative stimulation is a possibility.

Particularly for vulva-owning massage recipients, it’s very important not to let irritating lotions, oils, or lubricants come in contact with the genitals. Here are some better options:

Natural Massage Oils

Natural massage oils are body-safe, but should not be used with latex condoms, as they can break them down. These oils may also stain fabric, and partners should be aware of potential allergies.

Look for 100% pure formulas. If an erotic massage recipient is prone to vaginal infections or reactions, use water- or silicone-based lubricants instead.

  • avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil

Note: Despite what some professionals suggest, adding essential oils to these natural oils makes them dangerous for vaginal use. To add scent to a massage, light scented candles or incense instead.

Silicone-Based Lubricants

Photo by Jan Kopu0159iva

Silicone-based lubricants are long-lasting, body-safe, condom-safe, and hypoallergenic. They wash off fabric and skin with soap and water. When used properly, they’re unlikely to cause issues with internal use. A few options are:

  • Überlube
  • Wet Platinum
  • Sliquid Silver
  • Pjur

Always apply oil or lubricant to your hands first, rubbing them together to warm it up before applying to a partner’s body. Do not microwave or otherwise attempt to heat up oils and lubes, as it’s easy to accidentally make them too hot and cause burns.

The Role of a Recipient

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Most articles on erotic massage focus on the role of the massager. It’s hard to find information on the role of the recipient. Yet, it’s a question I’ve gotten a few times. For example, a partner may wonder:

  • What am I supposed to do while I receive the erotic massage?
  • Is it bad if my mind wanders to other things?
  • Am I supposed to get aroused?
  • Am I supposed to orgasm?

These are all valid concerns. Let’s talk about to role of a recipient during an erotic massage.

Settle in.

Begin by getting comfortable. It is up to you whether you lie face down, face up, or prefer to sit or recline for your massage. It is also up to you how much clothing you do or do not wear.

If a massaging partner has a heavy preference for your positioning or clothing, take it into consideration. But remember—this is meant to feel good for you. Do what feels right and in alliance with your needs and relationship dynamic.

Breathe.

Take a few deep breaths, and feel how the breath enters and leaves your body. Focus on the sensation of flow inward, then outward.

As their hands touch your skin, shift your focus to that touch. Mentally trace their motions across your body. Feel the pressure against your muscles. Let them know when something feels good, or when something doesn’t feel good.

Re-center.

If thoughts from the outside world creep in, that’s normal. There’s no reason to be hard on yourself if this happens. Especially for those of us who lead busy lives, it can be tough to switch off the to-do lists and problem-solving.

When this happens, take a few deep breaths, and notice again where the touch is happening on your body. Resume mentally tracing the motions and communicating feedback.

Let go of arousal and orgasm.

Many a good erotic massage has been ruined by the expectation of arousal or orgasm. In most cases, the higher the expectation, the less likely it is to happen anyway. Leave behind any self-imposed pressure to perform, even and especially during the transition into erotic touch.

Instead, tune into those sensations the same way you did with the rest of your body. Be curious about the sensations, and keep breathing deeply to remain relaxed. Revel in the erotic freedom from expectation.

The Role of a Massager

Photo by Sora Shimazaki

Now, on to the massager. Remember that orgasm is not the goal here. Rather, try to see this as a fun experiment: How much erotic sensation can you provide for a partner without making them come?

Breathe.

Encourage your partner(s) to take a few deep breaths, and take breaths with them. Once you begin the massage, continue to tune into your own breathing throughout. If you get distracted from your task, a few deep breaths can help re-focus you.

Start slow.

Begin by applying gentle pressure to non-sexual areas. You can use your thumbs and palms, or other parts of your body if you’d like. Pay special attention to sore muscles, if any are communicated. Be careful to avoid any areas where touch causes pain or discomfort. Most importantly, take your time. This is meant to be an extended, sensual experience.

Increase pressure.

Introduce firm pressure to large muscles like those in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs. Look for any response from the recipient. Check in to make sure the pressure is pleasurable, and not too strong. Your goal is to relax and relieve tension before transitioning into erotic touch. Try to explore large muscle groups for five minutes or more. You can then massage the hands, feet, and neck.

Introduce erotic touch.

When you’re ready, gently begin massaging the erogenous zones. Nipples, inner thighs, groin, and genitals are popular choices. Some partners also enjoy the buttocks and/or the anus. Use your palms first if you can, experimenting with pressure and motions. Think about any unique needs when it comes to pleasure for this person. For example, if they like to be touched on their chest, sides, or other places—include those. Remember, there is no goal to bring them to orgasm.

Retain the slow pace.

Use the same slow intentionality for erotic touch that you used on other body areas. Spend at least a couple minutes just tracing the genitals, as if committing them to memory through touch. If you graduate into slow stroking or penetration with your hands, resist the urge to speed things up. Savor the sensation on your hands; tune into what this part of the body feels like. If you know how to massage the g-area or prostate, do so slowly. Draw out the experience.

Take care of yourself, so you can take care of them.

Erotic massage is a service to the receiver, but it is important not to exhaust or hurt yourself in its delivery. Particularly if there’s a possibility of sex after the massage, retain some energy for whatever comes next. If sex is not desired, retrieve glasses of water when you feel finished, and sit or lay together to transition out of the experience.

Introduce Erotic Massage to Your Sex Life

Ready to try erotic massage? Check out the great instructional video below, or reach out to request a class.

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Published by Shannon Burton

Sex educator and writer by day, poet and flash fiction author by night, I occasionally manage to get out of the house to enjoy New Orleans as it's meant to be.

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