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Sex In The Spa

How Sex Comes Up In a Spa...and The One Time It's Okay


Man having head massage at health spa
Marc Debnam/Iconica/Getty Images

Sex between therapist and guest is a no-no at the spa. The client is not supposed to throw off the sheet and ask for "extras". The massage therapist is not supposed to massage suggestively, compliment a woman on her body, or ask to meet later.

Most people understand and respect the boundaries of therapeutic massage. But it's a suggestive situation. You're usually naked underneath the sheets. You don't know the person touching you, especially if you're on vacation. So some people bring their sexual desires and erotic expectations to a spa treatment, even when they know they shouldn't.

Here are some of the ways sex and sexual energy get introduced into a spa setting.

1) "I'm Special. Do Me."

John Travolta was accused of the grossest kind of sexual behavior with a male massage therapist during an in-room massage at a luxury hotel in Atlanta. Travolta allegedly had an erection, tried to force the therapist to touch him, and when the therapist refused, started masturbating. The shaken therapist stopped the massage, documented the incident with emails to management, and later filed a lawsuit. Travolta denied wrongdoing.

As for the allegations, this is about as bad as it gets. Celebrities catch the headlines (and the lawsuits), but they're not the only ones who act out. In-room massage is especially risky, because massage therapists are more isolated, and clients are sometimes bolder in their own rooms. They may think they're entitled to sexual services, even if the therapist behaves professionally.

Other causes of this kind of inappropriate sexual behavior in the spa include drinking, which reduces inhibitions. Being naughty is part of the brand image of a place like Las Vegas, which might encourage a little bad behavior. Some people might be ignorant, thinking a spa is like the old-fashioned "massage parlor." Or maybe they don't care if they offend or upset the therapist. They might even enjoy it.

2) "I'm Interested...How About You?"

A sexual vibe gets introduced into a regular massage by the client or the therapist, and it's subtle enough that the other person doesn't stop the massage. Therapists are taught in school that an erection can be a sign of relaxation. So if someone gets a "woodie," therapists generally ignore it or put a thick towel over it, and keep massaging, as long as the person keeps quiet and doesn't start masturbating or ask for "extras".

Other creepy things that clients can do -- groan suggestively, grind on the table, watch the therapist while she's massaging him, ask for happy endings, lay on the table naked face up when the therapist comes into the room (even though they've been told they to get between the sheets) and act like they didn't know any better. Depending on how obvious the behavior is, the therapist can either give you a warning before stopping the massage, or end it right there. Male clients are generally the most common offenders.

Sometimes the bad behavior starts on the side of the massage therapist. A flirty (and popular) massage therapist ends his massages with a kiss on the forehead. A therapist massages a women's thighs with the flat of his hands and comes uncomfortably close to her private parts. One therapist even masturbated during a massage, but that didn't last long. He was arrested.

If there is anything that doesn't feel quite right, trust your instincts! If you don't feel comfortable with that, you have the right to end the massage.

I will say that sometimes it's not so much where the therapist is touching, but their intention, that counts. I've had Rolfers put their hands on my pelvic floor while I wore a swimsuit or underwear, but it was strictly therapeutic. And it was generally well into a series of treatments, where trust and understanding had been established.

3) "So...We're Alone...."

Sex sometimes becomes a part of the spa treatment even in a legitimate spa. It might happen by mutual agreement, achieved through non-verbal communication. The therapist massages the clients inner thighs...and she opens them a little wider. Even if it's consensual, it is a breach of a massage therapist's professional ethics. And it's not legal.

It's also fairly easy to get a "massage therapist" (some with a real license, some not) to come to your home by checking out alternative newspaper ads, on-line gay massage directories, and on-line ads for women who give "erotic massage". This is basically prostitution -- even if they have a license.

4) "We're A 'Spa'..Wink, Wink"

These are uninviting-looking places that may have neon signs that say "open," or signs that advertise full-body massage" or "Asian massage". It looks a little seedy. All the signals say, "Want a happy ending? Come on in!" Many of these places do offer sexual services, or are fronts for prostitution.

But beware. It could also be a "clip joint," which gives you the impression you're going to have sex. Instead, after taking your money, the "spa's" bouncers throw you out. An English tourist in Las Vegas was stabbed and critically injured at the "Red Devil Fitness and Spa" in 2012 after he got mad at a bouncer and threw a water bottle at him. In this case, tourists looking for sex were dropped off by taxi-drivers, who were in on the scam.

5) When Sex In A Spa Is Okay

Let's say you've paid a lot of money for a couples suite, with a fireplace and a big lounging bed. Your couples massage is over. The therapists have left, giving you a half-hour of relaxation time that was built into the treatment. No one would be too shocked if you used that time and place for a little love-making.

Just don't leave a mess.

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