Despite this preference to be touched by a woman, I found myself without a choice earlier this morning when I arrived for my 10 a.m. massage. It was a very small place with, as I would learn, only one treatment room and only one staff member present: A male masseuse.
There was no way I was going to be that offensive - asking to switch is one thing, but walking out is a whole other ballgame. To not go through with it would be wrong, not to mention borderline homophobic, I told myself. Massages are intimate, not sexual. You can handle this.
As with most things you put off trying in life, I immediately felt like a complete idiot for unnecessarily avoiding a massage from a man all these years. In fact, I thought the massage from a man was better in a lot of ways than those I have experience from a female, mostly in the realms of pressure and the lack of sexual tension.
The former is pretty obvious: Men are stronger than women, and can work your muscles in a way a 100-pound female therapist simply cannot. I asked for deep tissue, and I got every penny of my money's worth, the intensity alternating on the pain/pleasure scale of 30/70 and 50/50 at my request. Those knots in my shoulders, which are sometimes impenetrable for female therapists even when they stand on their toes, had absolutely no chance.
Then there's this whole concept of sexual tension that comes along with being massaged (and naked). There are so many intimate parts of a massage, from the feel of the sheets to the smell of the room to the touch of the fingertips. For a young heterosexual guy, these are comfortable when administered by a female. But get a man involved and I could understand how one might not feel so warm and fuzzy.
To be honest, though, as soon as I realized I was getting a male therapist, the whole process became different. I wasn't noticing the softness of the sheets or thinking about what my therapist was doing after. I was completely focused on the benefits of the massage, every potential daydream squashed before it began. There's value in that, for sure, because whether anyone wants to admit it or not, even the most professional mind wanders from time to time, drawing focus away from the task at hand: Healing your body.
So, dudes... if you want to feel pampered and spend an afternoon daydreaming in the spa, keep on requesting those female therapists. But if you're truly in the market for a good massage, don't let your manliness get in the way. You might just like it.
[Photo: You Tube]