Guide to Erotic Massage for Partners

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

Erotic massage is an excellent way to practice being sensually present with your partner. Between whole-body touch exploration and slow, intentional movements you open the door to experiencing pleasure in a whole new way.

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.

Sensual massage brings partners together in intimacy. It encourages you to bond through shared experience and touch.

Let’s discuss how to get started.

Setting the Scene

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


For some, lighting candles, burning erotic 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.


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.

A friend of mine once admitted, “I can’t orgasm if there are dirty dishes in the sink. It’s all I can think about!”

Make sure your minds are clear of to-do items to ensure a relaxing experienece.

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.


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. A dedicated floor pillow adds a nice touch.

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

New to erotic massage and looking for a little direction? Leave the scene setting to me by booking a private session. I’ll guide you virtually or at my exclusive French Quarter location.

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 internally.

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

100% plant-based oils are the ideal massage oil. That’s because they’re:

  • long-lasting
  • heat conductive
  • sensually slippery
  • body-safe
  • widely available

However, there are some things to be aware of when it comes to using these oils. For example, they:

  • damage latex
  • stain fabric
  • may cause adverse reactions

Don’t use massage oils if you plan to use condoms or other latex materials. (I’ll share water- and silicone-based options next.)

Additionally, plan to use a blanket you don’t mind staining, or grab a multi-colored blanket for massages.

To reduce the chance of an adverse reaction, it’s important to choose a massage oil that has a 100% pure formula. I’ll list some of my favorites below.

If an erotic massage recipient is prone to vaginal infections or allergic to the natural oils listed below, scroll to the next section.

Natural massage oils I recommend are:

  • 100% avocado oil
  • 100% coconut oil
  • 100% olive 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.

Tips for Massaging with Natural Oil

  • Before the massage, put your oil into a small bowl. Set it somewhere nearby where it won’t tip over. Now you won’t have to handle a slippery container during the massage.
  • If you want to warm the oil, place the bowl of oil into a larger container with an inch or two of hot water. Alternatively, simply rub the oil between your hands before touching your partner; oil warms up quickly with friction.
  • Do not microwave massage oil. It is extremely easy to burn sensitive skin with oil that feels bearable on your hands.

If you’re worried about stains or adverse reactions, or if you’re planning to use latex, you’ll want to use water-based or silicone lube.

Silicone-Based Lubricants

Photo by Jan Kopu0159iva

Silicone-based lubricants have all the benefits of 100% oil…and then some. They are long-lasting, slippery, body-safe, latex-safe, and hypoallergenic. When used properly, they’re unlikely to cause issues with internal use.

Silicone lubes also wash off most fabric and skin with soap and water. Fabrics that hold silicone stains can be dry-cleaned for stain removal.

If silicone lubes are so great, why do I use oils in my massage classes? Mostly, it comes down to price point. Silicone lubes simply cost more than plant-based oils.

Still, one bottle of silicone lube will last multiple massages and won’t break the bank. I recommend trying it out at least once, even if just to compare it with your experience using natural oils. You might find you like silicone even better!

Best Silicone Lubes for Massage

A few of my favorite brands of silicone-based lubricant for massages are:

  • Überlube (my personal go-to)
  • Wet Platinum
  • Pjur

Apply silicone lubricant to your hands and rub them together to warm it up before applying it to your partner’s body. You can also use the bowl and warm water trick from earlier.

As with massage oil, do not microwave or otherwise attempt to heat up silicone lubes. It’s easy to accidentally make them too hot. I also worry that microwaves may change the chemical makeup of silicone lubes for unpredictable results.

Water-Based Lubricants

If you’re on a budget, water-based lubricants are a reasonable alternative to silicone-based ones.

However, this comes at a cost.

Water-based lubricants won’t cause adverse reactions or stains, but they also aren’t very long-lasting.

If you use water-based lubricants, be prepared to reapply often throughout your erotic massage. Pre-dispensing plenty of lube into a bowl before the massage should help.

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.


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.


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?


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? Come to one of my virtual classes! I’ll show you everything you need to know while you follow along at home.

Alternatively, book a private class with me in New Orleans. I’m happy to verbally coach you and your partner(s) through a truly unique and thrilling massage experience.

Looking for new ideas in the bedroom?

Snag my free list of 100 ideas for experienced lovers:

100 New Sex Ideas for Experienced Lovers
Shannon Burton, SXI

Hi there! I’m Sex Coach Shannon. I offer private coaching and classes both virtually and in my New Orleans studio.

Book a discovery call to learn how I help clients take their sex lives to the next level:

Follow me to keep in touch:

Enjoyed this post? Subscribe to get new ones by Sex Coach Shannon delivered to your inbox:

Published by Shannon Burton

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

%d bloggers like this: