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In this Post: Unwanted sexual advances in the massage industry, unfortunately, are one of the problems we encounter as massage therapists! Check out this resource for knowing how to deter them from ever happening.
In so many cases, massage school doesn’t prepare us for the sexual advances we often encounter in our line of work.
I remember my school, the Boulder College of Massage Therapy, reminding us that erections are a natural reaction. And while this is true, it also didn’t prepare me with the language necessary to protect myself effectively in the case that I was solicited for “more.” As well reputed as my school was, it kind of glossed over this important topic!
When I got out of school, I eagerly accepted every massage request I received. I was green, and I was hungry!
My Story with An Unwanted Sexual Advance
One night as I was about to walk out the door to meet friends at a bar, I received a call from a tourist requesting a massage where he was staying. It wasn’t an unusual request in the ski town where I live, and I had already done quite a few of these types of mobile massages.
Normally, when I went to these types of appointments, I made sure to dress conservatively. But, I was already dressed and ready to go. I was wearing a shirt that was a little more revealing than I would usually wear when giving massage. My hair and make-up were done up, and I was looking good!
And, the bar I was meeting friends at was right next door to this man’s condo. So, I figured what the harm, I’ll make sure to act professionally. He sounded perfectly harmless on the phone. I was not going to go to the hassle of changing just to have to change again.
I began the massage, and the man asked to make sure that I saved plenty of time for his quads because he had been skiing hard the last couple of days. Again, not that unusual of a request, given my location.
Yet, something felt off. I began to second guess my decision not to change my shirt. How hard would it have been just to put on a different shirt for goodness sakes.
And then, there it was, the erection. At first, I tried to ignore it, but then he asked if I did any “more of a relaxing massage.” I was appalled and paralyzed. I didn’t know what to say. So I mumbled something about how no I didn’t do anything more relaxing. I sounded meek and unconvincing.
And then, he began to help himself. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Quickly, I covered him up and again mumbled something about going to the bathroom to wash up.
I was not convincing – I was not assertive – I was not projecting myself in the professional manner in which I would have liked.
Learn How to Avoid Unwanted Sexual Advances in The Massage Industry
I wished my school had prepared me more – I wished I had been more confident in my approach. And I wished I had been through The Sailing Massage Therapists course Respect Massage – Ethics and Boundaries.
In this course, you learn how to have an exit plan in place. You will rehearse different scenarios so that the language needed to get out of uncomfortable situations is right there on the tip of your tongue when you need it.
If, like me, you don’t feel that your school prepared you how to exit uncomfortable or dangerous situations effectively, I urge you to check out this course!
Joyce Gauthier, the founder of The Sailing Massage Therapist, has created a whole movement on trying to protect massage therapists from unwanted sexual advances. She works tirelessly trying to help legitimize our industry.
I did make it out of that condo, and I did get paid. But I also walked away feeling shame and remorse. Things that I never want to feel in a profession I LOVE!
I learned from my experience. I know now how to better screen clients, ALWAYS to dress conservatively, and to watch for warning signs. But, I would have much rather learned this hard lesson through role-play in an online course from the comfort of my own home as opposed to out on the field.
Please therapists, takes steps to protect yourself before you have to learn lessons the hard way!
Check Out: How to Protect Yourself From Illicit Massage Requests & Respect Massage – Ethics and Boundaries for more resources.
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008
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