Question about seducing a client

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Question about seducing a client

Postby wifeofbodyworker on Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:13 pm

Hi,

Hopefully this question is appropriate.

I am the wife of an osteopath. He regularly trades bodywork sessions with other bodyworkers.

A few months ago, he traded with a 19 year-old female. At the time, she was studying a massage program (now graduated). They had traded two sessions with each other and then set up a third session.

For this third session, he was the recipient of the massage. He suggested they do it in his office and she kept suggesting her home. So, he went to her home. She invited him into her bedroom for the massage (apparently, she did a lot of massages out of her bedroom). He said he would rather do it in her living room, so they did.

This is what he told me happened:

Towards the end of the massage, he was on his back and she held his sacrum from beneath his bum. He shook for a few minutes, releasing trauma. He said that during this period, he felt a sense of arousal. That arousal passed and the massage ended. He reached up to hug her, in appreciation (that's what he told me). She then started to caress his arms (him still lying on his back, her standing above him). She took his hands into hers and started to move his hands around, grazing them against her breasts. She said, "I could explore your body endlessly". He let his hands go limp, so they would stop touching her breasts and she stopped.

When he got up to get dressed, she did not leave the room and saw him naked.

There was obviously a breach in his faithfulness to me, which is something we're dealing with (he should have pulled his hands away immediately, but instead was tempted).

But, I'm on this forum to ask specifically about her level of responsibility in the situation. She blamed him entirely, saying that it's his responsibility to abide by the boundaries set in his relationship. She said the lesson she learned was not to trust someone in a relationship.

After the incident, my husband pulled her aside to talk to her and set very clear boundaries. During this conversation, she told my husband that when she feels sexual energy, she likes to chase it.

But then a few minutes later, talked to me and denied that she had any sexual intentions with my husband. She told me that her words, "I could explore your body endlessly" were not a sexual advance, but that my husband has a "unique body" and she wanted to study it. (Uhm, yeah, right).

She also told me that she's a "sensual being" and that anything that happened between the two of them was out of "pure love". She said she didn't mean to interfere with our marriage, she just wanted to be "nourished" by the connection between them.

My viewpoint is that the responsibility was 100% hers, as the practitioner, to maintain professional boundaries, regardless of sexual attraction. I think it's the person who's in the position of power, the practitioner, who is charged with the responsibility to redirect any sexual energy and make sure the massage remains non-sexual.

I wrote to the head teacher of her program, anonymously, to ask what had been taught in her program. This was the answer I received:

I feel chilled and shaken to hear that such a thing has happened.

A therapeutic relationship is by nature unequal, and therefore it's very important to always operate respectfully, to always honour people’s boundaries and their comfort levels, and to explain everything and to ask for their consent. If there is mutual attraction and interest in an intimate relationship, then the therapeutic relationship must stop and then there is a period of 6 months when nothing should happen, after which they are free to pursue a different relationship.


I wrote to the 19 year-old and quoted what her teacher wrote me. She never replied and, from what she previously told me, continued to absolve herself of any wrongdoing. To add to this, she has herpes and told my husband that she would like to do yoni (vaginal) massages with women.

I feel concerned about a few things and would like your advice.

1) I'm concerned that this massage therapist will repeat her actions and try to seduce other clientele without prior consent. If she believes she has no responsibility in maintaining boundaries with clients who are in relationships, I'm concerned she thinks it's ok to hit on them and will cause more pain in other relationships. I'm concerned about someone who uses her profession to be nourished by her clients and not merely to give therapeutic treatment.

2) She has genital herpes. I do know that it's highly unlikely, if not impossible to spread herpes through massage, I don't know her hand-washing or sheet-washing practices. And if she wants to give genital massages to women (or men, for that matter), I'm concerned for their health, especially in the hands of someone who's shown unethical, dishonest tendencies.

3) I don't know how much "legal" responsibility my husband had in also maintaining clear boundaries. Because he's a bodyworker, I don't know if he's at risk of losing his license if this information got out.

4) I feel shaken about the bodywork profession, in general. I need to be able to trust my husband as a bodyworker. There's a lot of trust that needs rebuilding within our relationship, regardless of his profession. I also now feel uncomfortable with bodywork and the level of violation that's possible.

So far, I have kept my emails anonymous to her teacher because I don't want to hurt anyone. But, it continues to disturb me that she has gone silent, which says to me that she's not interested in learning the proper way to conduct herself. Would you divulge her identity to her teacher?

One of the main reasons I haven't yet is to protect my husband. I don't want to sabotage his career, even if it was inappropriate and hurtful.

The thing is, he's shown remorse and taken steps to be in his integrity. She hasn't. This is my concern.
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Re: Question about seducing a client

Postby MarionFM on Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:51 am

I am not going to try to give you advice, just a few thoughts. Unfortunately, this site was down for some time so everything might be resolved for you by now.

When someone is a professional (bodyworker, doctor etc etc), they have the power, they are in a position of authority. The person on the table is considered vulnerable. It is somewhat irrelevant as to whether your husband is a bodyworker or what his career is - while he is on the table. He obviously saw red flags and did what he could to mitigate risk. Could he have done more? Yes, probably, but if one is coming from a place of integrity, one does not expect the other person to show a lack of integrity and appear to be willing to seduce him. Could his actions have been (or be) misinterpreted? Yes, but look back again at who is in the vulnerable position. The person on the table can become aroused: it is up to the practitioner to handle the situation with delicacy and tact.

That the practitioner does not accept responsibility for her actions is most unfortunate and unprofessional and will get her into trouble, likely sooner rather than later.

To say nothing of the issue of safety, inviting men into her bedroom for massage is a highly risky thing to be doing.

You and he together will have to decide what else should be done. Can it be resolved between you or do you need couples' counselling? You have spoken with the school. How many 19 year olds do they have? They probably have a good idea who it was, but appear not to want to act on it. Perhaps it will have been a learning lesson all around. If not comfortable with that resolution, perhaps a formal complaint to her massage board would be indicated.
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