Yesterday I went to a breakfast sponsored by Zestra which is a woman's arousal gel that I have written about before. They had all of these sexperts at the breakfast there to talk to us writers, bloggers and reporters about female arousal, sexuality, desire and orgasm. I love that - so I went. During a presentation - one of the sexperts quoted a survey that stated when women were given the choice between sex and a massage - they picked the massage! The study results got the desired response - everyone laughed and groaned. But not me. First of all - I hated the question - I mean why do we have to pick between two incredibly pleasurable activities - and then have the answer be used as a commentary? But I knew why the study was done - and I knew the answer before it was given that women would pick the massage over sex - and that the sexperts were using that answer to show the sorry state of female sexuality. But really - no disrespect intended here - neither the survey makers or the sexperts really got it. But I did. I don't mean to be bratty here - but I simply didn't draw the same conclusions.
I understood why the women picked massage as their first choice - and it had nothing to do at all with the sorry state of female sexuality. The answer was all about being sex positive - not sex negative! We just have to be willing to open up our minds a little bit about what constitutes a sensuous and satisfying embodied activity! What was missing from the understanding of the survey makers - and perhaps even from the sexperts who used this study as an example of women not wanting sex - was that massage - even traditional massage - is a very sensuous and pleasurable activity that allows us to feel touch for a very extended amount of time without doing anything back! The most traditional of massage experiences allows women to go deeply into their bodies - and receive sensuous pleasure - that is all about them!
Most women don't get the opportunity to do this. To simply - get naked, lie on a table and allow someone to touch them in a non erotic - yet sensuous safe way that gives pleasure for an extended amount of time. It is positively delicious - and for many women - this experience is not as available as traditional sex. So of course they picked massage over sex in the ill conceived survey. Women are not stupid!
It was a funny coincidence - but yesterday I also received an incredible massage and I was again reminded of the spectacular healing and delicious pleasure that can happen on the massage table. Yes - pleasure - pure and simple. Healing pleasure. And in my mind - in my experience - pleasure is not only healing - it is transformational.
It had been a long time since I had climbed aboard a massage table and simply - magnificently - divinely - received one way healing touch. Oh - I have made lots of reasons why I haven't gone. There is the money - the time - and the fact that every once in a while - even I - the great SHAMELESS wonder has moments of body shame. So I deny myself what I know to be one of the most healing, restorative, regenerative , and pleasurable activities that I can think of - and that is receiving a massage.
But John Ellsworth, an old friend and one of the most talented massage therapists I know - offered me a massage as an early birthday present. I almost didn't go - after all - I am a very busy lady! I have so much to do! There are families to build in my fertility work, blogs to write and a book to promote! There are dinners to cook - and an apartment to clean! I could go all day and not finish all of the things that I need to do. But I stopped - and I went after work - and it was such an important reminder that receiving massage is one of the most important things that I can make time for to keep myself ticking.
I know that there can be a lot of discomfort in recognizing and having a massage - something that we pay for - as something other than a therapeutic activity that we engage in because we have a bad back - or a pulled shoulder - or as a way for us to keep our muscles in shape as athletes. Not many people are willing to say that they embrace massage as a way to give themselves pleasure. We are a pleasure denied society - that talks about pleasure a lot - and then puts a lot of taboos around it. And anything that has nudity, touch and possibly money involved in it - we have to put lots and lots of boundaries around - so that other people will know that we are engaging in the activity for "medical purposes".
We don't want anyone to think - that possibly we are doing this for pleasure's sake only!
So let me help out on this one. Pleasure is important. Pleasure can change your life. Sensuous pleasure is healing and feels great! Traditional non-erotic massage is an incredible tool for getting reconnected with the power of pleasure that we can all have in our own bodies - and yes - if it helps you justify the experience - it is healing! And we don't have to do anything to receive this but show up and climb on the table.
I left John's studio feeling transformed after 90 minutes of pure pleasure that didn't involve sex - but was just as delicious.
Thank you John for the reminder - and the women in the study were no dummies!