Sensual Massage or Tantric Massage, whats the difference?

Article by Master Masseur Colin Richards

A sensual massage is a massage given with a humanistic approach to arousal. It works with the body’s natural arousal processes incorporating them into the whole massage experience. It encourages the receiver to express the feelings and to let go of inhibition. A sensual massage should be given with a genuine sense of care and intimacy and involve intentional arousal of the body. It is both a physical and emotional experience and include sensual and sexual exploration and often mutual touch with the masseur. The sensual massage usually includes orgasm.

Although It is also intimate and arousing the true Tantric Massage tends to be more prescriptive. It mostly follows routine based on ancient philosophy and can include certain spiritual ceremony and ritual, such as chanting and deep breathing exercises and also is often given as a spiritual healing. Often the masseurs giving Tantric Massage will remain clothed and not encourage two-way touch but make it more “your” experience. Orgasm is also not necessarily the goal and often the receiver will be encouraged to not orgasm but to withhold the energy.

What is confusing though is that the word “Tantric” is being used nowadays very freely. It has, in some cases, become a pseudonym for the “Rub & Tug” massage; i.e. the lie down, let me rub your body for a few minutes and then give you a hand job, pay now and go experience.

In a genuine tantric massage the ethos is to not take the receiver to full orgasm but to near orgasm. It can also be that the tantric masseur will remain partially or fully clothed and not have the massage become mutually intimate. Whereas in a sensual massage mutual nudity and intimate touch is an important part of the treatment. The sensual masseur is usually naked when giving the massage and will often incorporate lots of body to body contact.

In analogistic terms taking an erotic massage can be seen as similar to seeking somewhere to eat. You can choose to go to Mac Donalds, fill up quickly with a Big Mac, or go to a Themed Nouvelle Cuisine Restaurant where the meal is an art form but usually not particularly fulfilling. Where as a true Sensual Massage should be more like entering a top class Organic Steak Bar where the food is of high quality and plentiful, the service is meaningful, the environment welcoming and the result so good it makes you want to go back for more!

The perfect sensual massage should be founded upon a high-quality therapeutic massage that can be given firmly to work the muscles or gently to promote relaxation or a combination of both. It should be intentionally arousing and include light touch with fingers and nails all over the body including the hands, feet, head as well as the genitals and bum. A good sensual masseur should be able to build the arousal slowly throughout the whole treatment, to seduce the body to help the ‘receivers’ mind to relax and focus solely on the feelings being felt. It should be an experience that is exciting and stimulating where two human beings share a dance of erotic intimacy the extent of which is left to the chemistry and energy of the moment.

Why do we love to be touched?

Without a shadow of doubt receiving intimate sensual touch is one of the most pleasant sensations that a person can experience. The sense of touch is a vital part of the human condition and is arguably one of our earliest forms of communication. It is accepted that both our physiology and neurology are specifically designed to facilitate it and when a person is touched it also has a profound effect on our psychology. A slap given with aggression can hurt and indicate anger causing us to feel fear or anger in return. A firm hand on the shoulder or back will give us a feeling of friendship or support. Intimate, caring touch, particularly when combined with stimulating arousal can create a feeling of trust and closeness, a factor that is essential in the bonding of human relationships and thus the continuation of the species.

In the beginning

From our earliest Homo Sapiens ancestors who lived 250,000 years ago to probably as recent as 5000 years ago, tactile intimate touch between humans would almost certainly have been offered and received unconditionally. It would be given without cultural, religious or social controls and probably not seen solely as sexual communication but also as a system to establish both mixed and same sex cooperation. It would have stimulated group security and collaboration, ensuring in times of danger and stress, the support between one human to another. It would have helped determine hierarchy, established trusting relationships, promote teamwork and loving bonds.

Not much has changed in our biology since those early times and for most of us the desire and pleasure to be touched by another is still very much within us. When we are touched the skin receptors pass the response information through to the central nervous system which in turn influences the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system connects to the deepest and most ancient part of our brain known as the Stem or Reptilian brain. This ancient part of the brain can be traced back to over 200 million years of mammal evolution. It is concerned with our most basic primary needs such as survival, physical maintenance, hoarding, dominance, preening and mating and from these basic urges activate the emotions of love, hate, fear, lust, and contentment.

In early man, the distinction of intimate behaviour being appropriate or inappropriate would not have existed, there would have been no social, cultural or religious rules controlling our natural desires and need for intimate touch. Our behaviour would be instinctual, when hungry; we would look for food. When under threat; we fought or ran and when in need of a sense of belonging; we would have sought intimacy from other humans. There is no greater affirmation of an individual’s acceptance than to touch and be touched intimately, to care and be cared for, without condition, expectation or obligation.

Sensual Massage is an ancient natural medicine for today’s stressful times

By providing a person with a non-judgemental, honest, open environment where it is not only “ok” to feel arousal but actually appropriate, makes the sensual massage probably one of the most relaxing fulfilling experiences a person can have. It enables both the body and mind to relax in a way that regular massage does not. By reducing tension and stress or an anxiety of the body reacting the mind remains calm. As the body becomes more sensually aroused the sensory messages transmitting from the skin, and erogenous areas reaffirm the mind that we are safe. Hormones such as oxytocin, progesterone and testosterone are released causing us our muscles to relax, the mind falls into a subconscious state and for a few hours we can literally exist in the “moment” .

Who can benefit from having a sensual massage?

Everyone, but, of course, since we are all individuals each with a unique life experience and lifestyle the benefit can vary from person to person. For many the massage can be a glorious discovery of escapism, for others it can be a place to release the tension of a hectic life, for some it can be about exploration of the self, ones sensuality and sexuality. It can also be very beneficial for those experiencing sexual anxieties and performance problems.

In men particularly, it can simply be about male to male bonding or it can help with overcoming erectile issues, premature ejaculation, sexuality exploration, loss of libido, fear of intimacy. For women, the massage can be about having the opportunity to have their body physically seduced and stimulated without feeling self-conscious or that they may be judged or expected to perform in a particular way sexually. For couples, it is a wonderful way to reignite the sexual relationship by learning now skills to practice on one another. It can be given as a gift by one partner to the other to let them experience another person’s touch without threatening the relationship.

Whoever is receiving the massage it will be an experience that is profound and rrevolutionary We live in a time when there is so much controlled, and much is expected of us. By having a sensual massage we return to our primal instincts and our primal desires.

Sensual massage is ultimately about caring for oneself through another person’s energy and physical skills. Arousal and stimulation is an essential part of the massage but orgasm is optional but can also be an important part of the process since following orgasm the sense of relaxation and wellbeing can be profound.

How can I tell a good sensual massage therapist
The therapist should be professional in style and approach inspiring trust and a sense of integrity in the client. The treatment area should be warm, clean, comfortable and welcoming. The therapist should take time to explain the process of the massage and answer any questions that the client may have.The massage should include both therapeutic massage of the whole body as well as intimate sensual arousing massage of the erogenous and genital areas.The massage should be caring and meaningful with the therapist inspiring a sense of genuine “love” for what they do and to whom they do it too. The therapist should be able to work intuitively understanding the clients specific needs but at the same time making clear their own personal physical boundaries.

Description of a Sensual Massage

Below is a general description of the 90 minute sensual massage that I give. However every massage is different as this will depend wether I am giving to a man or a woman and whether it is being given for relaxation and escapism,sexual and sensational  exploration, performance reasons or same sex exploration.

The 4 Sensual Massage Phases

  • Stage 1: Sensual Therapeutic phase (15 minutes)
  • Stage 2: Gentle Arousal phase (15 minutes)
  • Stage 3: Sensual Arousal phase (30 minutes)
  • Stage 4: Erotic & Orgasmic phase to total relaxation (30 minutes)

Sensual Therapeutic Phase

The Sensual Therapeutic phase lasts about 20 minutes and is focused on the shoulders and back of the upper body. The aim is to encourage the client into a further relaxed state. With the use of light touch, feathers and soft caring touch combined with more traditional deep tissue muscle work  causes the client to further to “let go”. The combination of soft strokes with stronger deeper massage generates a confidence within the client and a genuine feeling of being cared for. This is followed by gentle teasing of the more intimate areas of the body making  the skins sensory preceptors to send signals to the brain, the brain responds by stimulating the body’s para sympathetic nervous system (relax and rest mode) and the massage progresses in to the Gentle Arousal Phase.

Gentle Arousal phase

By now the client is usually well on the sensual journey, still aware of what is taking place but beginning to “drift away” losing themselves to the sensations of the massage. Further exploration into the intimate crevices of the body namely the neck, armpits, groin and pelvic areas are all stimulated. Arousal begins to increase usually causing erection (men) and lubrication (women) accompanied by deeper breathing and some involuntary movements of the body. The skin becomes more sensitive as body contact between the masseur and client increases. And the brain begins to drifts in and out of awareness.

The Sensual Arousal phase
During this phase direct contact with the genitals takes place, in the male the Penis (now erect), Scrotum and in women the outer lips of the Vagina and areas around the Groin and Anus are lightly touched and massaged. Careful notice is taken not to take the client to orgasm but to hold them at a high level of arousal then falling back to relaxation and back again to high arousal, this is done several times. During this phase in the massage the client is encouraged to be self focussed enjoying the stimulation and to not worry about their “performance” or the “other” however for some physical contact with the masseur preferred and since when an “intimate connection” is made arousal can increase considerably.

Orgasm to Relaxation

The male sexual response cycle consists of excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. The first 3 phases of this massage cover the first two elements of this cycle. During this phase of the massage the body and mind becomes paradoxically, both deeply relaxed and highly aroused, this contradictory state causes the bodies’ nervous system to oscillate between its sympathetic and para sympathetic modes as the mind focuses on the sensations of the final ascent to orgasm. At the pinnacle of orgasm control is given over to the primal response of orgasm and in men ejaculation) the muscles tense, the breathing increases, often the client becomes more verbal emitting pleasurable moans. Orgasms are usually a combination of peripheral (genital or extra-genital) stimulation and a mental “letting go.” Neurologically speaking, it is accepted that the pathways
for ejaculation and orgasm are under a tonic inhibitory influence, and that the release of this inhibition is cerebrally influenced. Without this release, the normal
orgasmic and ejaculatory reflexes cannot be expressed.With the final orgasmic rush comes a massive release of energy, triggering the immediate after effect of relaxation when the male body, immediately following ejaculation, falls back into the deep state of resolution. The body relaxes and encouraged by stroking of the head and scalp the body quickly falls in to “rest, relax and re cooperate mode. With the drifting into a deep state of sub conscious even light sleep.