I have been checking out this forum and it seems to be the case that a lot of female therapists have to deal with the added concern of carefully screening potential male clients. Then, if they have a male client, the possibility of them getting an erection during a massage is high not to mention they might have bodily fluids coming out. Yes that's normal I know but I'm not too sure I care to go through that. In addition, one might experience a dirty creep who plays around with the sheet or tries to ask for more services. I get that it's not that often depending on where you work and how you advertise and carry yourself but still I find it quite an uncomfortable situation to be in.
When I have given a shiatsu massage to a guy there has been no problem since they are clothed. But when it comes to massaging them skin to skin I feel that several (not all) of my male classmates get nervous or weird. I just feel the energy is off. When I work and trade with my female classmates it's wonderful and I feel comfortable and great afterwards.
Am I being unreasonable?
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In my experience it was more common when I was fresh out of school (ie I had people ask for sensual massage three times in my first year, and one of those was a woman) and then only once in the next 8 years. In my total of 12 years doing bodywork on people I have seen maybe 2 erections, and I'm not even really sure about one of them.
It is a very uncomfortable situation to be in. But once you get your energy and boundaries in place, and do proper intake (which is not a pain, or an extra thing women have to do, but just good business practice) no one will consider asking you for anything or acting inappropriately because they will see clearly from the beginning that you are a professional.
Keep in mind that people come online to post about the experiences with which they need help. We don't post about the thousands of massages that go over without a hitch. It's a very very small percentage.
And don't forget, just because someone is the same gender as you doesn't mean they won't act sexually inappropriately. Men will do it to men, and women to women.
O friend, understand. / The body is like the ocean, rich with hidden treasures. / Open your innermost chamber / And light its lamp - Mirabai
Blue Lotus Day Spa, Ruidoso, NM | Residential Yoga Teacher Trainings & Bali Yoga Retreats
I have had plenty of men who have made inappropriate comments/phone calls or who have acted inapropriately.
I prefer to work on female clients because I am really tired of dealing with this nonsense.
The vast majority of male clients are fine. I would guess that the problem ones number far less than even 10%.
But those few tend to really stick in your mind. It's annoying to say the least...brings my opinion of the entire gender down several notches.
Most of my clients are women.
When you work FOR someone, it's kind of unreasonable to say "I won't work on male clientele". But it is VERY reasonable to say "I don't tolerate inappropriate behaviour or comments and will end a session immediately if it occurs". Most businesses will back you up on this.
But when you work for yourself, you can choose your clientele. It doesn't stop the prank phone calls (grown men acting like 9 year-olds!) but at least you would not have to deal with them in your business.
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This blog post may also be helpful:
Simple Phone Protocol to Decrease Questionable Clients
One other thing... you are able to create the practice you want. If you think you are going to be nervous every time a male walks through your doors, then you may want to only see females - because people will feel your mis-trust. Here are a few other ideas regarding male clients, if you need them:
- • Only see clients By Referral Only
• Not see unknown male clients within 24-48 hours of the phone call
Houston Massage Therapy - Advanced Massage Therapy - Lucas & Lucas, LLC
I work at a health club where my clientele is probably 15-20% male (some therapists there see more men, some less.) Seeing an average of 8-16 clients a week over the last 7+years, I can count on one hand the total number of inappropriate clients I've had. The worst of which was an 81yo man whose kids bought him a birthday massage (dropped some hints that he'd appreciate a "birthday present", but played hard of hearing and innocent when I told him if he kept up that talk the massage was over - he then behaved) and the last guy that had any form of a noticeable erection (maybe 3-4 in my years there? and only 1 I'd consider inappropriate) appeared pretty embarrassed and self conscious about hiding it.
As the others have said, just give yourself some time. With practice you'll most likely become more comfortable, as will your male classmates. The less of an issue it becomes for you, the more your clients will be able to relax as well. We've all been there for one reason or another - You'll come through fine .
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In NY, where massage therapists are considered health professionals, they are barred by their licensing to restrict clientele.
So be careful what you wish for in the areas of equal rights and upgrading the professionalism of massage -- there are lots of unintended consequences that may affect you.