5 Things I Learned From Getting an Erotic Massage

I recently had the blissful good fortune of getting a four-hand erotic massage from my friend Caitlin and her partner-in-crime Cosmo. Both of them have trained in the therapeutic touch modality known as Sexological Bodywork, a client-centered approach to erotic education that can help combat all sorts of sexual difficulties.

You can read more about my massage in an article I wrote for Kinkly about it. However, even once I chronicled the whole story in that piece, I still had more Thoughts and Feelings about the massage and what it meant to me. Here are five things I learned from my experience…

Asking for what you want usually works quite well. As someone who deals with sexual anxiety and a frequent fear of “not deserving” pleasure, I struggle a lot with asking for what I want. This is especially true for preferences that are specific and unusual – e.g. “Fingerfuck me deeper,” “Only touch my clit through the hood,” or “I like being spanked but not during sex.”

The night before I was to get my ~sexxxy~ massage, I was talking to Bex about it, and wondered aloud if I’d have an orgasm. “Probably not, right?” Bex hypothesized, “because don’t you need pretty specific things to get off?” This is true. It usually takes new partners several tries before they can make me come – particularly clitorally, since my clit is a princess: it knows what it likes, and it’s loath to respond to anything less.

But during the massage, once I was already super turned on and aching to come, Caitlin asked me, “Kate, how do you like your clitoris touched?” and I found myself motivated to explain in enough detail that I’d actually get what I wanted. “Only through the hood, ’cause it’s super sensitive,” I breathed. “In small circles. A little more pressure. A little more. Yeah, like that.”

It was that easy. So easy, in fact, that I had an orgasm just a few minutes later – which surprised me so much that I almost burst out laughing. “Why don’t I always do this?!” I wondered. “Why do I let partners muddle around down there, instead of telling them what would actually work?!” I think, in most cases, partners would be excited to learn the keys to my kingdom, so to speak. So I’m gonna try to get better at handing those keys over.

Accepting feedback gracefully is an art. Each and every time I gave Caitlin or Cosmo an instruction or a request, whether they’d solicited it or I’d just blurted it out, they responded: “Thank you.”

“I love having my hips squeezed.” “Thank you!” “I think I want something inside me.” “Thank you!” “Can you do that a little harder?” “Thank you!”

In my “IRL” sex life, making this type of request gives me hella anxiety. It makes me wince, sweat, and blush. I’m always expecting a grimace, an eye-roll, a resigned “…Okay.” So to receive a “Thank you” instead was, to say the least, revelatory.

The truth is, when a partner gives you this type of direction during sex, you should thank them. They are trusting you with their vulnerability, their bravery, their authentic desires. That is a big responsibility, and a gift. Even if you don’t actually utter the words “Thank you,” that attitude should come through in however you respond to their request. You should prove to them that you want to please them, and that you’re thrilled by any opportunity to do so.

I’ve been pondering how to bring this attitude into my sex life, both in terms of giving and receiving. I think it is going to make big changes for me, and for my partners.

From relaxation, pleasure comes. I learned from the books Becoming Cliterate and Come As You Are that day-to-day stress actually physiologically inhibits orgasm in women. (I would imagine this is true for some people who aren’t women, too!) If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry or sad in your everyday life, it will affect the extent to which you’re able to experience and enjoy pleasure.

I have a high libido and pretty much never say no to sex with pre-established partners unless I’m debilitatingly ill, physically injured, or too depressed to move (and even sometimes then, I pursue sex, because I believe – often correctly – that it’ll make me feel better). But even if my mouth says “Yes please,” my body might not respond with such enthusiasm if I’m stressed. I don’t get as turned on, I don’t get as psychologically immersed in what’s happening, and I’m not as sensitive or as orgasmic. It’s a real disappointment, particularly since sex could be such wonderful stress relief if I could relax into it a bit more!

The first several minutes of my erotic massage were just regular (albeit naked) massage: a combination of gentle and firm touches all over my body, designed to release my tension and get me into a pleasure-receptive headspace. And it worked. By the time we got to the more explicitly erotic touch, I felt I had melted into a pool of hot, sticky bliss. Being so relaxed and receptive made it much easier (and quicker!) for me to get turned on, feel okay about accepting pleasure, and build toward an orgasm. This is useful knowledge for me to keep in mind going forward!

Sometimes practitioners get turned on. I interviewed Caitlin and Cosmo after my massage, and one thing I asked them was – shyly, tentatively, uncertain if I was being rude – “Do you ever get turned on doing this work? I’m sorry if that’s a personal question…”

“Erotic energy is erotic energy,” Caitlin told me. “It’s a beautiful thing. We’re participating with your erotic energy, but we’re not requesting it back.”

“I think anyone who says they don’t feel arousal from playing with erotic energy… I would be surprised. I would be like, ‘You’re lying,'” Cosmo mused.

“And I would question how good they are at their job!” Caitlin added.

Obviously, there are lots of therapeutic modalities where the practitioner getting aroused would be inappropriate, unwanted, and even harmful. But for me, in receiving a Sexological Bodywork massage, I found it reassuring that I could feel the practitioners getting into it. I could hear their breath, smell their sweat, feel their energy intermingling with mine, and all of it was focused on me.

I think if I hadn’t felt those signs of engagement, I would have worried they were getting tired, or bored, or resentful – the same way I worry about exhausting my sexual partners when we’re bonin’ down. That type of anxiety takes me right out of the moment and decimates my capacity for pleasure, so it felt not only acceptable but great for my practitioners to wade into the wilds of erotic energy with me.

Fantasy is an important part of sexual enjoyment. In my post-massage chat with Caitlin and Cosmo, they both mentioned having fantasized sometimes when they were practicing receiving touch in their trainings. At first I bristled, because it’s been so ingrained in me that you’re not “supposed” to fantasize when you’ve got a real live person in front of you, doing stuff to you – but then I realized I had fantasized during my massage too!

Toward the end, when I was starting to get close to coming, I asked if one or both of them could put a hand on my upper chest and press down. This is something I often enjoy with dominant partners: it makes me feel like they’re holding me still, keeping me in place, so I have to take whatever sensations they’re administering to me. There’s no escape. And since there’s no escape, there’s also no room for me to get anxious about “taking too long” to come or being too sexually “needy.” Every moment that they’re holding me down, in my mind, is a moment they want to unfold exactly as it’s unfolding. If they didn’t want this, they wouldn’t be demanding it of me.

I thought about this while Caitlin and Cosmo held me down and fingerbanged me to orgasm. I thought about a partner pinning me in place with one hand while fucking me with the other hand, because my pleasure is paramount to them and they insist I’m not going anywhere until I’ve come at least once. I thought about how delicious it is to be pleasured for someone else’s amusement and not just my own.

Sometime around then, I came – loud, long, and spectacular. It made me think about all the other times I’ve fantasized while receiving sensation from partners. Mostly, it’s not malicious, in the way we often think of it being: “You were thinking about some other dude while I was fucking you?!” For me, I’m often thinking about the person I’m with – just in a slightly different situation. Maybe they’re being a little more aggressive with me; maybe they’re saying filthy shit that this person wouldn’t know to say; maybe I’m even replaying something they did to me a previous time we slept together! It’s all just a mental game that keeps me more engaged, more excited, more interested in my partner, not less.

Now that I’ve pondered this, I think I’m going to feel less guilty about fantasizing during sex in the future. I’ve even been tiptoeing into telling partners what I was fantasizing about after sex – “I was thinking about how hot it would be if you did/said [XYZ]…” – and that’s super fun too, if you can do it in a way that doesn’t feel like a criticism!

Have you ever received an erotic massage? What did you learn from the experience?

Monthly Faves: Hearts, Wands, & Tears

It’s been a tough month, but I feel very loved. Here were some of my fave things in August…

Sex toys

• Swoooon: this month I was gifted a red glittery Doxy Die Cast wand vibrator. Beyond just being stunning to look at, it’s also a remarkable wand. The vibrations are rumbly and shockingly strong, and I just love the way this sexy aluminum wand feels in my hands. Full review to come!

• My other exciting acquisition this month was an Njoy Pure Plug 2.0. It’s massive, and I haven’t been able to get it inside me yet, but I’m holding out hope that someday I will!

Fantasy fodder

• I received a four-hand erotic massage from some local sexological bodywork pros this month and it was fucking divine. This type of massage pings a lot of my kinks about sexual service and partners having intimate knowledge of my preferences, so I found it super hot at the time and continued to find it super hot when I revisited it in subsequent fantasies. (Side note: a hookup asked me how the massage went, and when I said it was so good that I wished I could get one every week, he replied, “Play your cards right and you just might…”!)

• Since I went through a pretty traumatic break-up this month, I’ve had to recalibrate my fantasy life a bit so it doesn’t just constantly make me cry (*sad trombone*). This has meant seeking out new porn, dirty fanfiction, and erotica, as well as cultivating crushes on new people (both celebrities and IRL folks) to ponder in private moments. Masturbation is no longer an emotionally painful process for me, so that’s something!

Sexcetera

• Some of my work elsewhere this month: For Kinkly, I wrote about how an erotic massage helped me get over my break-up. I investigated the new at-home HPV test for Glamour. I wrote a Letter to the Editor about female orgasms for the Walrus. I identified some killer sex toy combinations and common “taboo” fantasies for Ignite. Peepshow asked me to chronicle some weird things people have put in their butts. I was interviewed by Coffee & Kink. I hosted Sex City Radio, interviewing sex toy reviewer Epiphora, break-up coach Natalia Juarez, and asexual sex blogger Taryn. On our podcast, Bex and I interviewed our friends Suz and Claire, and talked about conferences, Woodhull, and dominance.

• Orgasm stats: This month I had 27 orgasms, 7 of which (25.9%) were from partners. I’m surprised I still managed to have so many, despite terrible depression wracking me lately!

• Like I said, I went through a devastating break-up a few weeks ago, and while my heart is broken and life has felt very difficult this month, this experience has reminded me that I have lots of people in my corner and my friends are always there for me. I’m very, very lucky.

Femme stuff

• As per usual, I’m experimenting with various perfume samples lately. Though I’ve mostly been sticking with my perennial favorite, John Varvatos, this month I’ve also been enjoying the Tom of Finland fragrance from Etat Libre d’Orange. It’s supposed to be masculine but on me it’s just femmey, warm and comforting. Good stuff!

• My new hot pink Tarina Tarantino heart necklace is giving me life. It’s HUGE and VERY SPARKLY. God bless Tarina and her magpie proclivities!

• I am looooving my new “Submissive” T-shirt from Pen & Kink. I ordered one in the tri-blend material, so it’s suuuper soft and comfy – truly the ideal garment for a lazy babygirl to lounge around in!

Little things

Bex sending me a selfie of them and their Sir. My new Seven-Year PenThe Bold Type. Emotionally cathartic kink with a trusted partner. Doing a live Dildorks recording in front of a crowd at Woodhull! Readers of my blog coming up to me to tell me how much they love my work. Spanking Suz with a bible. Hanging with my blogger babes. Deep sleeps in big comfy hotel beds. Cadence making me a gin and tonic and gently domming me into finishing my work when I was practically too depressed to move. Watching Friends on Netflix with Max for hours on end. Being comforted/supported by my FWB, who then attempted to fuck the sads out of me. A random guy offering me a no-strings-attached footrub at a sex club. Max bringing me Haagen Dazs. Swimming while stoned. Journaling on public transit. Crimson Wave Comedy. Pinegrove’s wonderful album Cardinal. Improv crushes. Making out in an alley with someone who makes me howl with laughter.

3 Sexual Fantasies I Hope to Act Out Someday

One of the best things about working in sex media: you’re constantly exposed to new kinks and scenarios, and therefore, if you’re lucky, you’re constantly coming up with new sexual fantasies to lust after.

I know what my main kinks are – the basic building blocks of my psychosexual makeup – but I’m always adding new things to my peripheral list of “hmm, maybe someday” kinds of kinks. Whether I’m reading fanfiction or classy erotica, watching art porn or raunchy amateur clips, discussing friends’ recent sexploits or telling them about mine, I’m always filling my head with new ideas for my “fucket list.”

Here are 3 fantasies I’m slightly fixated on lately…

An MFM threesome. I’ve had several threesomes, but all were with a man + either a non-binary person or another woman. They were all absolutely delightful, but gosh, I’d love to be the focus of two dudes’ focus at once. Maybe a dominant guy would tell a submissive guy what to do to me; maybe one dude would worshipfully go down on me while the other fucked my face; maybe we’d even work our way up to double penetration. (Ambitious!) Whatever the situation, I bet I’d love being the centre of attention.

Professor/schoolgirl roleplay. Maybe I’ve watched too much dialogue-heavy situational European porn, or maybe it’s just my inner teacher’s pet showing, but I’ve always had a thing for sexy teacher/student dynamics. I fetishize red apples used as ballgags and wooden rulers thwacked against nubile butts. I feel sexiest and sassiest in short thigh-baring skirts, and I get a little weak in the knees for tweed blazers with elbow patches. Someday I hope a well-dressed domly person (consensually) bends me over a wooden desk, tells me I’ve been a bad girl, and gives me an opportunity to earn some extra credit…!

Erotic massage. For as long as I can remember, I’ve eroticized the idea of someone deftly and expertly getting me off, like it’s their fuckin’ job – and in this fantasy, it is. Depending on my mood, sometimes I picture the masseuse actually finding me attractive and getting turned on in a highly unprofessional way – or sometimes I just want them to be stony and stoic, stroking me on autopilot until I fall apart. Either way, it’s a fantasy so hot that I tense up from arousal… and probably need a good massage to work out those kinks, if you know what I’m sayin’.

What fantasies are haunting your sex-brain recently?

 

This post was generously sponsored by the folks at PornDoe, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own!

Links & Hijinks: Frumps, Friendship, & Fidget Spinner Porn

• There’s nothing wrong with being frumpy! I feel like I am constantly unlearning the idea that, as a woman, I have to be sexually desirable at all times or I am valueless.

• And on that note: there is nothing wrong with being ugly, like Medusa. Sometimes ugliness can even be a superpower.

• Some people really, really like giving massages. “I think part of the reason why is that you’re doing stuff, but it’s not sexual except for the fact that you have your hands inside someone else’s shirt and they’re making pleasure sounds.” Oooof. This article also contains the phrase “intense butt massage,” which you gotta love.

• On internet-connected sex toys, cybersecurity, and the future of teledildonics.

• It’s okay if you don’t always feel like reciprocating oral sex. Related: I love Tristan Taormino’s concept of distinguishing between sexual equality and sexual symmetry. You don’t have to receive exactly the same sexual favors you give to your partner; both of you just have to get roughly equal amounts of what you want.

• I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch “2 Girls, 1 Cup” but I found this history of that video interesting nonetheless. It’s certainly an artifact of the internet age!

• Why do I love the shrug emoticon so much?! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

• Bex gives good sexting advice. “A thumbs-up emoji is not an appropriate response to my ass. Seriously. I have an exceptional ass.”

• Sarah wrote a beginner’s guide to sexting, and it’s full of A+ tips.

• “These feelings will be over soon” is a great anti-anxiety mantra. (Or, as I’ve seen it alternatively phrased before: “No moment is unendurable.“)

• The one-night stand is so passé; we are in the era of the several-night stand. These have sometimes been exactly the type of “relationship” I needed, at times when I wasn’t willing or able to commit to anyone and neither were my paramours – but gosh, it’s frustrating when you keep ending up in casual arrangements while desperately craving something more.

• Helena Fitzgerald, one of the most beautiful writers I’ve ever encountered, explains why socializing on the internet isn’t distancing us from each other but actually making intimacy easier to achieve.

• What if you like someone, but you’re pretty sure you only want to be friends?

• I’d rather make good art than answer emails in a timely manner. Sorry-not-sorry.

• Useful to me as a person whose best friend lives hundreds of miles away: how to keep a long-distance friendship alive. “Treat it like a long-distance romance. (Because, in a way, it is.)”

• Sooo, fidget spinner porn is a thing now. Good god, what a world we live in.

Be your best self with the people you love, because “relationships are stronger and more satisfying when they make you feel like the best, most aspirational version of who you can be.”

• More people are exploring consensual non-monogamy, and more research is finding it has many benefits (“lower jealousy, higher trust, and higher sexual satisfaction,” to list a few). But stigma still exists, and we have a long way to go before these relationships will be considered normal, valid options anyone can choose.

• Here’s a pep talk for picky daters. Sometimes you just gotta round that 0.67 up to “the one,” as Dan Savage would say.

Queers can totally have long nails. Sometimes even in queer porn!

• Here’s several couples explaining why they opened up their relationship. I love so many quotes in this piece! Like: “We never place limits on emotions other than love, like we don’t say you can only be sad or happy about this one thing, but with monogamy it’s like only one person is allowed to feel your love. And love is such a crazy emotion, so why not experience it with a bunch of people?” And: “I no longer have the desire to control my partner. Control is just an illusion anyway.”

What I’m Into: Sex as a Service

I think I’ve always had a thing for sexual servitude. I remember feverishly reading fanfiction as a young teen and experiencing a surge of arousal when words like “deftly” and “expertly” were used. Something about the idea of being skilfully, deliberately serviced was really appealing to my adolescent brain. And it still is.

The movie Hysteria fanned the flames for me. It’s hardly intended to be sexy, but Hugh Dancy as a doctor giving frustrated women “hysterical paroxysms” with his hand or a crude vibrator? Oh, swoon. Gimme some of that. (I know the whole idea of “female hysteria” is incredibly sexist and problematic. But, like Dylan Ryan says: your fantasy life is your fantasy life.)

Nowadays my fantasies often drift to service-related scenarios:

• The aforementioned hysteria doctors – dressed in full garb complete with lab coats and stethoscopes, of course – being perfectly on time for our appointment and dedicating several minutes of focused attention to bringing me to orgasm. Bonus points if there is a speculum involved.

Hired escorts (male or female or sometimes one of each). In this fantasy I am typically a total pillow princess and just lay back while things are done to me. Maybe a domineering fuck while I’m sensory-deprived and tied up. Maybe a service-top scenario, where I’m only allowed to come when I’m told (but I will definitely come at some point). Maybe a long, slow massage with a happy ending. Hoooo boy.

• Rachel Kramer Bussel’s excellent story about a restaurant where women can receive oral sex from trained providers in a back room in between courses. (Dear RKB: Can we get together for cupcakes and an extended discussion of spanking and submission? Because I feel like we are totally on the same page about all of those things. Sincerely, GJ, your adoring fan.)

• A dutiful slaveboy who lives to please his mistress. Ideally one who prides himself on his stellar oral sex skills. I read a story (maybe in the anthology Tasting Her? which is also a Rachel Kramer Bussel publication?) where this male sub is so proud of his cunnilingual abilities that his domme decides to offer his services to a slew of other dommes at a sex conference party. Um. Sign me up.

Servitude is one of those strange fantasies that would never appeal to me in real life, at least not nearly as much as it does in my head. If I get the slightest inkling that my partner isn’t into what they’re doing or isn’t attracted to me, my arousal deflates like a punctured blow-up doll. I’m sure plenty of escorts, erotic masseuses and phone sex operators are skilled at creating the illusion of mutual enthusiasm, and I’m sure their customers love that, but I’m not sure I’d ever be able to relax enough to enjoy myself.

For now, though? I’m happy to fantasize about Dr. Hugh Dancy jerking me off under a medical blanket like he’s done it to hundreds of other women before me. Oh, doctor, you sure do know what you’re doing.

This post was made possible by the lovely folks at Babes of London! Kisses!