#metoo A Massage Therapists Guide to Sexual Harassment
#MeToo – A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Sexual Harassment
“Do you do happy endings?” “Is this a full release massage?” “Your husband must be a lucky man!” “Who massages you?” “I really don’t need this sheet.”
Sad but true, I actually wrote this piece about 10 years ago as part of a training manual for new hire massage therapists. The “inappropriate guest” memo. Why do I still have to address these things in 2017??
Unfortunately, sex trafficking and the sex trade has operated under the guise of massage therapy for decades. As licensed healing professionals, it is up to us to educate and inform our community and clients this is NOT the standard, nor should it be. The fact that we accept and expect sexual harassment at least once in a while as just “part of the job” is sad.
Until a major culture shift happens it will probably continue… So say it with me people – Professional massage is therapeutic & non-sexual! It is Human-to-Human connection, meant be healing and relaxing. Intimate but not in a sexual way. I think this is where America has a steep learning curve. When something feels good, or someone helps us feel good about ourselves, we tend to go instant caveman and primal. However, there is a higher consciousness level of connection available to us all. That is what we trained professionals get paid to create during our sessions. Beautiful things happen during an amazing massage. Bliss. Peace. Positivity. Hope. Healing. Massage Therapy IS an act of love… for you as a person, for humanity. It does NOT mean we want to touch your privates.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the 4 types of Massage Perverts. They usually troll sites like backpage or craigslist, but occasionally end up on our table. Beware.
**Please be advised this is just my opinion and attempt at educating using a bit of humor and reality**
It is written with men as the offenders (due to personal experience) but I am fully aware of female clients harassing therapists as well.
Please feel free to share your opinions if you’ve encountered other species of perverts as well. We will continue to document the types.
4 Types of Massage Perverts by Julie Bevel
1. The John
These guys are actually my fave of the perverts. They will straight up proposition you for the “Happy Ending” or “Full Release”, you decline, and then can continue the session as friends. As one of my favorite Bellagio colleagues Lisa would say – “I’m all for sex worker’s rights – I’m simply not one of them.”
2. The Squirmer
Men occasionally need to “adjust” during a massage. That’s understandable. Once or twice. Anything more than that, and he’s crossing the line. Grinding the table while I work your hips is not cool. “Are you comfortable sir? Then I need you to be still, or this massage is over”. Back arching during glute work is also a no-no. Use your firm authoritative voice and they will usually stop. Otherwise, leave the room. These guys are pretty harmless – they are usually embarrassed or uncomfortable, fishing for the boundary – and will behave if you hold them accountable.
3. The Migrating Drape
These guys get off on exposing themselves and trying to make YOU uncomfortable. They may start off in consultation asking for groin work, mentioning adductor pulls from lunging, etc… And you know what? During a legit sports massage I’m happy to work psoas, adductors, hip flexors and rotators – but we have to be on the legit level. They will complain about being hot and/or the itchy sheet, and then may try and move the sheet themselves while you’re working their feet or neck. Watch for them shifting the sheet inch by inch, pulling it down to try and expose themselves. “I move the drape, not you sir. Thank you for understanding or this massage is over.”
BEWARE – the Migrating Draper has also been known to have Migrating Hands – where he tries to cop a feel on your leg or whatever body part they can by “harmlessly” having their hands hanging wide off the side of the table.
4. The Creeper
These are the yucky ones. The ones that tip-toe up to the line but don’t quite cross it. That have red flags popping up all during the session but nothing you can quite pin down or end the session on. They tend to have lots of questions, some personal, some about the nature of massage and connection… and no amount of one word answers will stop them. They also might moan, squirm, adjust the drape, but not enough to really defend you ending the session. I’m here to give you permission to end the session anyways. You know when they’re a Creeper, and feel free to trust your gut and say “Sir, I don’t think we should be working together, I’m ending our session.” It’s liberating. I’ll have your back on that call as I escort them off premises and remind them of the cameras we have at the front desk.