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Posted by Angela Wood, May 10 2010 4:12PM

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Massage and nudity

Does anyone have any experience of providing massage for naturists?
I have been approached a couple of times by men who claim to be naturists and therefore require to be naked during the massage, this includes no draping with towels. This prospect makes me feel uncomfortable especially as one of these people started asking if I minded if he got an erection during the treatment and what I would do about it. I have consequently always turned these people away. However today I gave a man a massage unaware before I started that he was a so called naturist and it was only once I started that I realised he was completely naked, which wasnt an issue until he started complaining about having a towel draped over him, and also that I required him to lay on his back first in order to treat the anterior of the body first rather than finishing the treatment on the front.
I remained professional throughout and did not remove the draped towel despite his protestations, however I believe this man will rebook and am unsure as to how to proceed with this client. I would be interested to know how other therapists view this type of client and what treatment protocaol they follow.
Roushan Martens
May 10 2010 6:51PM
I would have felt really uncomfortable too, Angela! It all sounds a bit suspicious to me. I don't know any naturists, but I'm not sure they'd be so terribly uncomfortable having a towel draped over them. The bottom line is that you were uncomfortable.

As a female massage therapist especially, you are absolutely entitled to conduct your treatment of male clients in a way that ensures you feel safe and comfortable. Well done for holding your boundaries, and I would fully support you.

If the guy books again, you might want to just say you don't have any spaces at the moment, or if you feel okay booking him in, I would make sure when booking that he is clear you do not work without towels. You could suggest he goes to a male therapist, and see how he reacts to that - this may provide a clue as to his real intentions.

Just remember that you are totally right to refuse any request like this that makes you feel uncomfortable, as you are totally right to refuse further visits with any client with whom you don't feel safe.

Roushan
Angela Wood
May 11 2010 9:21AM
Thankyou so much for your reply and suggestions. Your comments have made me feel much more reasurred, Thankyou.
Elaine MacFarlane
May 12 2010 9:17AM
that would be a big no no for me....always protect yourself.elaine
Jeremy Andrew Clark
May 21 2010 2:05PM
This is a male, naturist, therapist's perspective...which may offer further insight.

Naturists hate having to wear clothing at the best of times, but especially for things where clothing seems unnecessary and potentially spoils the experience - like when it is warm and they are swimming, sleeping, having a sauna or a massage...

Having said that a towel draped over them during a massage should not interfere drastically with their enjoyment of the massage, in fact it should improve it as they may become cold otherwise. Also - a genuine naturist should never wish to make anyone else feel uncomfortable, although it can happen sometimes by mistake.

If you require clients to keep their underpants on (and I totally support you in that if nudity in this context makes you uncomfortable) then I would suggest that you should specify this clearly when asking them to change, then there is no doubt. That client may not come back if they disapprove which is fine for both of you. If they insist on being nude, you can terminate the process immediately.

The problem is, there are people out there claiming to be naturists who are in fact nothing of the sort, bringing naturism into disrepute just like some "therapists" by their actions sometimes bring massage therapy into disrepute.

As you are a female therapist in particular, I think it is important to set clear boundaries and insist that your clients fall in line with this - then massage can be an enjoyable, rewarding experience for both therapist and client. I agree you respond as "booked" when this client tries to rebook - or make it clear at the time of booking that it would have to be "underpants on"!

In summary, please do not think all naturists are like this. But do watch out for people claiming to be naturists going on to make unusual requests - it seems there are quite a few out there.

My wife and I are both happy treating clients who are naked under the draping - and it is just the same really - except a little easier to work on glutes etc. Most of the undesirables can be identified when they try to book and sent elsewhere.

Good luck, I hope you work it out.
Jem



Angela Wood
May 21 2010 7:21PM
Thankyou Gem. I fully appreciate and respect the naturists requirements and have no problem treating a client with draping, as you say it is easier to get to the gluts. Your reply, from a naturists point of view, has really helped, thankyou so much. I was a little bothered about what this man was expecting as he seemed to protest about me finishing the treatment on his back rather than front and started to talk about certain treatments in thailand which I quite definately would NOT provide. Your comments have cleared up my doubts as to whether this man is genuine or not.
Neville Dalton
Jun 7 2010 4:21PM
Hello Angela.
I don't think there are many doubts about this client's intentions. If that's what he wants, I'm sure there are plenty of legitimate outlets without needing to try to impose his preferences on you.
You were right to be suspicious, and as some of the other respondants have pointed out, you are at liberty to decide how the person should be dressed (or not), although plenty of legitimate therapists are happy to give the client the choice.
Many genuine clients will no doubt have a preference, but I can't imagine any genuine client would have any objection at least to being draped.
Your security and comfort have to be paramount. Otherwise, you'll both end up dissatisfied with the treatment.
Neville.
Paul Collins
Aug 28 2010 5:44PM
HI ANGELA
AS A MALE THERAPIST iF YOUR UNCOMFORTABLE WITH WORKING AROUND NUDITY WHAT i HAVE SUGGESTED TO FEMALE THERAPIST FRIENDS OF MINE IS TO SUGGEST A MALE THERAPIST TO WORK ON HIM THE NEXT TIME HIS RESPONSE WILL INDICATE TO YOU IF HE IS GENUINELY COMING FOR MASSAGE OR FOR ANOTHER PURPOSE.
Sara Oliver
Sep 17 2010 10:05AM
Hi I have just seen your post and The eaxct same thing has just happened to me. I had a male client who stripped off before I even left the room. He commented on me covering him up with a towel, I stated that it was just professional prceedure to keep the area covered up. He is trying to book again and I just keep saying im booked up. I have had gentlemen who have taken pants off before but they have always taken care to keep their genitals off show. It made me feel very uncomfortable.
Angela Wood
Sep 20 2010 7:45AM
I know exactly how you feel. Luckily my gentleman hasnt rebooked but a colleague of mine suggested I keep a pair of running shorts in a drawer and asked the gentleman to wear them. You could do this and before he even begins to undress give him the shorts and say that you require all clients to wear an item of clothing. The other alterenative is to just tell him that you will not be able to treat him unless he covers up due to professional protocol and code of ethics. As one of the earlier posts say, if the client is genuine he would not wish to put you in an awkward or compromising position. After all we are doing a job and trying to earn a living. If they are looking for something more than the masssage that we offer they can look in the personal section of the newspaper. I have had a coouple of requests for nude massage since the last nude gentleman and I now tell them No and hang up the phone, which as therapists we have every right to do. It sounds like the man in question is quite persistant so if you dont want to treat him again I think you may have to tell him so and suggest he find another therapist.
Kristel Horwood
Feb 2 2011 5:56PM
The phone rang, I was asked about a "happy ending" at the end of the treatment, I was speechless, I told the person I was a professional massage therapist and I did not provide that type of service. Phew, thank god he asked me while he wanted to make the appointment and not once he was on my couch.
Neville Dalton
Feb 2 2011 8:33PM
I think that's an important point, actually.
I know some therapists object even to being asked over the phone, but surely that is preferable to being confronted by the situation in the therapy room or even on the couch.
I have been asked several times over the phone by men looking for "something more" (and I'm a male!) and I never object to their asking.
I explain politely what professional massage really means, and they in turn are usually sheepish and invariably polite.
Given that many people are probably quite used to having legitimate massages while naked (though usually draped), I don't see any harm in their enquiring - as long as they accept it if you give them no for an answer.
Angela Wood
Feb 4 2011 10:01AM
I agree Neville. There is no harm in the asking its when they wont take No for an answer that really causes the discomfort, after all each to his own, but as therapists we deserve equal respect and consideration.
Anna Anderson LCHE
Feb 4 2011 11:54AM
unfortunately it seems like some guys (and maybe girls) will confuse a professional massage with an image a little outdated!!! certainly its happened to me, but gratefully over the phone and not in the clinic room. As self employed people we are at liberty to decide who we chose to treat and i will always make it clear what my treatment involves (or what it doesnt!!) and then will refuse to see anyone who has even hinted at something else. Personal safety and feeling good about your profession is vital
Ruben Dogliani
Oct 25 2011 11:47AM
Look, business is business at the end of the day. You need to decide in advance whether you're Comfortable or not with having naked man on your table.
If you decide to give it a try, just state clearly that a) you don't get naked during the session and b) if they ask about an erection say that you'll Ignore it.
Make sure someone knows about it if you have a tough one like this and if he's not happy before the session, he won't book one, but if he's not happy after
The session he won't come back, in the meantime you made business and maybe made a returning client!

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