Do you practice sensual massage on a regular basis?I asked some friends what came to mind when they heard the term “sensual oil massage.” One said it reminded them of the Zodiac sign Taurus because of how they crave touch; another said that it sounded like softcore porn but the one thing everyone agreed on was that sensual massage was a poor substitution for sex.
They didn’t get that while sensual oil massage isn’t about reaching a climax, it does do a number of amazing things for a couple’s relationship. And the bonus is that it can benefit their sex life, too.
Of all the ways we can give or get pleasure from our partners, it would seem as if sensual oil massage is the most misunderstood, underused, and unappreciated one of all. People need to revise their thinking because sensual oil massage isn’t the consolation prize for when you can’t have intercourse—it’s an excellent way to show your partner how much you care and make them feel incredible in the process.
Sensual oil massages are like any other kind of massages except that they are done by one partner for another. All of the focus of the massage is on the entire body, not just the erogenous zones. While a sensual massage may have some sexual elements, it doesn’t have the end goal of producing an orgasm or ejaculation.
Carol Queen, Ph.D. staff sexologist at GoodVibrations, says that sensuality, erotic experience, massage, and touch do some very significant things:“They help you understand your partner’s whole body as an erotic zone and you learn more about what parts of their bodies are especially sensual. This will pay off not just while you’re engaged in massage, but also when you make love in other ways. One extremely common reason people don’t have optimal sex is that they forget the whole body’s sensuality, and sex turns into penis plus vagina and little else. Sensual massage can keep you in touch, literally.”
16 Things you need to know about sensual oil massage
Puts the focus on giving:
Since one person is the giver and the other the recipient, there isn’t a competition. Giving a sensual oil massage is a selfless act and a beautiful way to express your feelings of love and care. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and when it’s paid attention to and touched, we feel good all over. When you give a sensual massage, you’re physically letting your partner know their happiness and well-being is a top priority for you.
You can change it up:
The giver decides how complicated the massage will be. It could be as simple as a back rub or as involved as starting with the feet and working your way up the body. Sensual oil massage can include caressing, squeezing, light touch, touch with more pressure, licking, random stroking, stroking in sequence, and even scalp massage to name a few techniques.
You can involve more than one sense:
Your goal in giving your partner a massage isn’t to pummel them or twist their body in uncomfortable ways. You’re there to pamper them and make them feel good. So, set the mood and light some scented candles, play gentle and calming music, and use edible oils. Be creative—the more senses you involve—the better!
Your hands are your most important tool:
Since your hands are extremely crucial to a good sensual oil massage, take care of them. Make sure they’re moisturized, and that your nails are trimmed. Don’t forget to warm your hands before touching your partner. Sensual massage therapist, Jazmin Light advises, “A pair of sensitive hands with or without oil is enough,” and then cautions, “A couple of untrained rough hands on the other hand, can actually create more stress and make the receiver more nervous and irritated.” So, make sure your hands aren’t too rough and that you don’t try to speed through the massage.
Extra equipment is optional:
The tools needed for sensual massage aren’t expensive and can make things a lot easier. Giving someone a massage while they’re lying on a bed is trickier than you’d think. It can be difficult to reach all the parts of the body you want to focus on, and you might end up hurting your back or straining a muscle. Solution—invest in a massage table. You can cover the table with sheets and a blanket, or you can purchase a fleecy massage table cover—it’s entirely up to you.
Make sure to have a pillow or two available for support and comfort. If you want to use an electric massager, that’s okay too, but check with your partner first. You don’t want to do something that would overstimulate them in a painful way.
It creates a climate free of expectation:
While sex is a vital part of a relationship, it can sometimes be the only way that a couple will relate physically to each other. “Sensual massage is a great way to connect with a partner in a way we sometimes forget to do when we’re having sex; a way that is free of expectations and totally based on giving someone else pleasure,” says Tara Struyk, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Kinkly. “It can be easier to do that [focus on our partner’s pleasure] when orgasms—whether our own or our partner’s—aren’t in the mix.
Strengthens your bond:
Trust is one of the most essential parts of a relationship, and sensual massage is a great way to help build intimacy, trust, and closeness with a partner. Sensual massage is about giving pleasure through touch to your partner, gently breaking down defenses, and creating an atmosphere of true bliss. The partner receiving the massage puts themselves in the hands of the giver and a feeling of safety and protection is created. When we trust that someone has our best interests at heart, we naturally feel close to them.
Helps the low-libido partner:
People have varying degrees of sexual desire and this can change over time. Sensual massage is one way to help the low libido partner with their arousal. They may need a lot of time to become excited, which they may not get it in a sexual situation. “Many couples skip sensual touch in their marriage and go straight to sexual touch. For the low libido partner, this can be jarring and frustrating,” says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, licensed marriage counselor in Boulder, Colorado. “Slowing down for sensual massage introduces tactile connection and closeness, plus it allows the lower libido partner time to build arousal.” There’s no turn-off like feeling pressured.
Helps you to de-stress:
Too much stress affects many different areas of our lives—including our sex lives. “It’s no secret that stress and anxiety can cause a serious rift in a relationship, even if your stress has nothing to do with your partner, which is why it’s so important to find simple and effective ways to unwind,” says Adina Mahalli of Maple Holistics.
Regulates your hormones:
Sensual massage can help reduce the stress hormones cortisol (aka the fight or flight hormone) and adrenocorticotropin and it can trigger feel-good hormones. “Massage has been scientifically proven to boost the body’s happy chemicals: Serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins,” says Jazmin Light. “When the giver of the massage is your partner, the gratefulness and appreciation (and love) can grow.”
Gives you a chance to slow down:
There are many benefits to slowing down the pace, focusing on one thing at a time, and not feeling pressured to perform. “Most research shows that being more relaxed and taking our time at sex greatly increases sexual satisfaction.” says Tara Struyk. “Taking the time to massage your partner is a great way to slow down the pace.”
Sensual massage can improve your sex life:
Erotic massage isn’t supposed to eliminate the need for sex. Think of it as a supplemental practice that will ultimately improve your sex life. While you’re giving a sensual oil massage, make a mental note of things your partner responds to while you’re exploring their body through touch.
Sensual massage gives you the freedom to touch all of the body—all over—not just the genitals. “Sensual massage focuses on sensation and touch. It’s easy to share a few kisses, touch a few sensitive spots, and jump right into sex,” says sexpert/writer Kayla Lords. “Sensual massage requires focus on new and different erogenous zones. Some people find that they really enjoy touching and being touched in parts of their body they never imagined—[such as their] legs, stomach, shoulders. And while fingers and hands are moving across the body, they can touch very familiar erogenous zones—breasts, genitals, etc.—in new ways. The result is pure seduction.”
Opens up sexual-communication:
It can be challenging for some people to say what they want in a sexual situation. A sensual massage allows them the opportunity to say what they like and want they don’t in a safe space. Nancy Wong, OTR/L, OTD says: “Sensual massage can provide time for couples to practice communication skills regarding what they feel, want, and desire in a relatively safe environment.”
Benefits overall well-being and health:
Besides reducing stress hormones and encouraging make-you-happy hormones like Oxytocin, it has a myriad of health benefits. It can help relieve pain, improve sleep, stimulate circulation, and promote muscle and joint health, and help boost your mood. It’s self-care with a partner and should be practiced on a semi-regular basis.
Illuminates your level of commitment:
When you show that you’re willing and eager to put your partner’s needs before your own, you demonstrate how serious you are about making your partner happy and strengthening your relationship. “In truth, there are few better ways to a person’s heart than through pampering and making them feel special,” says Adina Mahalli. “Furthermore, de-stressing together with massages can illustrate your commitment to each other’s overall well-being and that is sexy.”
Sensual oil massage may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about pleasing your partner, but when you see the results, you’ll want to do it more often. Couples who engage in sensual oil massage find that their connection intensifies, they’re less stressed, and that their sex life gets better and better.