Hands up, are you comfortable with a massage from a male therapist? If you’re given the choice, would you take a treatment from a woman over a man?
It’s one of those questions that I’ve often been asked, and I suppose it depends on your point of view. There’s absolutely no reason why a male therapist can’t give you as good a treatment as a female, even a massage. The back, neck and shoulder massage I had when I visited the London Marriott County Hall Hotel and Spa back in February was amazing – it just so happened that the masseur was also a trained physiotherapist and he managed to work wonders on my aching back and shoulders.
Would I have felt as comfortable with him massaging my thighs? To be honest, even an enlightened spa-goer like me has reservations about just which areas of my body I’m completely happy with a strange man getting his hands on. Silly, I know.
It’s not just me; according to the New York Times, when they are given an option, most women prefer a female therapist. It’s not a difficult request to accommodate, given that the vast majority of therapists are women, too. Some nationalities and cultures are more insistent than others. Like me, most Europeans (male and female) seem reasonably OK with a male therapist, while American and Middle Eastern women usually insist on a female.
Some religions also ban physical contact of any type between men and women who aren’t related or married, and Islam forbids a man to touch any woman unrelated to him. Obviously, in those situations there’s no leeway – the massage has to be carried out by a woman.
What about if the male masseur was exceptionally good-looking? Some women find that if they think the therapist is attractive, it’s harder to relax. Personally, that wouldn’t bother me, as I have my eyes closed during the whole thing anyway and I’m usually enjoying the experience (and sometimes mentally writing the review in my head as it’s happening, which sort of defeats the object…)
Is it really such a big deal? What about women who’re attracted to women, would they automatically find a female therapist better or worse? Do gay men automatically find a male masseur off-putting for the same reason a straight woman would find an attractive male massaging them distracting? Do you think we’re just used to being touched and massaged by women, but not so much men?
I’d love to know what you think…