Massage is basically the same whether your client is male or female. However, there are some key differences which should be kept in mind when dealing with male clients. Two of the chief issues are draping and male sexual response, both of which we will explore in depth along with some other differences.
Things You'll Need
Draping For Male Clients
Drape the male client appropriately. While a male client is prone (face-down) draping is no different than with a female client. Comfort and modesty regarding the gluteal area should direct the draping of a client, although there is some concern with the male genitalia when draping around the adductor muscles along the inner thigh. In some cases, you may need to allow your male client to adjust the position of his genitalia but at no time should you attempt to adjust your client’s genitals for him.
A male client can be uncovered to the waist when massaging the upper chest and abdomen. Considerations should still be taken for the comfort of the client, as massage tends to warm the body and uncovered skin will chill quite fast without the sheet and blanket.
If the client is lying on his back, drape the groin area, taking care to not expose the penis or testicles. Draping around the male groin area is probably the most problematic because the sexual organs protrude outward. By keeping the linens close to the body, you can allow the sheet to maneuver the client’s privates while you work along the hips and adductor muscles. Always make sure to tuck the sheet under the client’s leg to keep the sheet in place. This is especially important when doing stretching, as the movement of the hips could cause the genitals to shift and inadvertently become exposed.
Pay attention to pressure. Men tend to ask for firm or deep pressure in a massage including but not limited to the use of elbows, knuckles, or even massage tools designed for deep pressure work. Regardless, continue to check in with the client on pressure making sure you are providing enough without causing discomfort.
Incorporate some stretching with your male clients. Men have a tendency to not stretch as often or be as flexible as their female counterparts. Because they tend to be less flexible, they might not stretch as far or as easily as you are used to. Follow the client’s verbal and nonverbal cues to tell you when to stop a stretch.
Do a facial massage. Bear in mind that while you move from the chin to the forehead for a female client, a man’s facial hair or stubble might not allow that. Follow the contours of the face instead, using a non-scented lotion or lubricant.
Men are less likely to complain about too much pressure, so check in often to make sure you are not causing discomfort or pain. Back off the pressure a bit before checking in, which makes them ask for you to increase the pressure. This way you know you are not hurting them when you go deep.
Be aware that excessive movement of the sheet around the client’s groin may cause an involuntary sexual response. If this happens, do your best to move around it, but do not call attention to your client’s erection. That could cause embarrassment for both of you.
References and ResourcesTheory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage, 4th edition; Mark F. Beck;2006
Jered Ebenreck, LMT; Massage Instructor, Apollo College; 2008