The How-To Part
Preparing for a sensuous massage is like setting the mood for love. It doesn’t have to be terribly involved. just find someplace where you’re sure you won’t be interrupted-the bedroom is fine. Don’t focus on giving your lover a massage for any particular amount of time; just do it for as long as it feels good. (It’s worse to persist if you feel bored or resentful.).
It’s nice to use massage oils, because they feel great and tend to make the skin more sensitive to touch. Safflower oil works fine, and it’s cheap. Others prefer coconut oil, which is light, nongreasy, and odorless. It’s best to warm it a little before use. Try putting it into a plastic squeeze bottle for convenience. Instead of oil, some people like to use cornstarch, which is so silky to the touch it almost feels wet.
• Martha Brown, a registered massage therapist in Charlottesville, Virginia, says that people tend to touch each other during massage in the same way they like to be touched. The result: Women tend to massage men too gently, and men tend to massage women too firmly. The solution: just keep asking for feedback. “How does this pressure feel?” “Should I bear down harder?” “Is that too soft?” The only unforgivable sin of massage is to make your partner feel uncomfortable. Says Inkeles: “One moment of pain destroys an hour of good massage.”.
• People tend to hold lots of tension in their faces. Try massaging the forehead, jaw muscles, temples. Use strokes that “smooth out” or go across the lines on the face. Another great spot to focus on: the feet.
• Women tend to hold tension in their neck and shoulders; men tend to hold it in the small of their backs, Inkeles says. Give those areas special attention.
• Any place where the skin is thin is especially sensitive, such as around the ankles, the neck, and the insides of the arms.
• You really don’t need any fancy equipment to give a great massage, but sometimes a vibrator can be used for spice. Try strapping the device to the back of your hand so that your fingertips transmit the good vibrations.
Another Form of Sex Therapy
The sensuous magic of massage has not been lost on
sex therapists. In fact, a form of massage has been a key part of many sex therapy programs for more than 20 years. Sensate focus exercises (sometimes called nondemand pleasuring) are a way for couples in sexual distress to break free of mutually reinforcing avoidance. But even people who are not having sex troubles can use these exercises to great effect.
Basically, nondemand pleasuring works like this: A couple get naked together in a quiet, romantic place and take turns caressing each other’s body. (Usually, at least to begin, the couple is seated, with the receiver sitting between the giver’s legs.) There’s just one rule: The breasts and genitals are off-limits, and so is intercourse. There is no pressure to achieve orgasm, no pressure to strive for anything or get anywhere, no pressure to “return the favour.”.
There’s no place to go except into the sensuality and stillness of the moment.