Vicki here. . .
The first step in giving a great Loving Massage is to perform a Ritual that sets an intimate tone and separates your time together from everything else. The intention is to create a safe container that allows you both to feel relaxed, loving, and generous with each other.
Kevin and I perform a ritual before every massage. Our rituals are different each time, depending on our mood and the type of massage, but they always include some of the components listed below. Your Ritual will be different from ours in ways that make it uniquely your own. When you and your partner compose your ritual and do it with intention together, your massage becomes magical.
1. Set the scene
- Creating a safe, romantic environment for the massage is the goal here. You’ll want a quiet, secluded place where you won’t be interrupted, preferably a spare room or uncluttered corner of your bedroom. A small room separated from the house and dedicated solely to Loving Massage would be ideal.We turned a spare bedroom into our massage and yoga room. Although massage tables are easy to take down, we leave ours up most of the time. The walls of the room are flamingo pink, the carpet deep purple, and there is a small table in one corner where the candles, incense, remote speakers, and massage oil are kept. Yoga props are stacked in another corner, and the walls are bare except for a Tibetan tapestry of two lovers sitting in yab yum.
- In addition to making your space clean and tidy, turn off and remove all media from the massage area, such as computers, phones, TV (or drape the screen to eliminate its influence); these technologies are distracting and interfere with your coming together. The exception is soft music, usually without words, that you choose for the occasion.We intentionally keep the massage room free of everything personal except for the massage table, small table with candles, and yoga props, meaning no desks, dressers, storage boxes, personal pictures, knick-knacks, or electronic cables. Doing that eliminates distractions so we can focus solely on the love we bring to the room. It’s my favorite room in our house.
- Ideally, you should have a massage table. Most people don’t own one, so they give the massage on the floor, bed, or on a comfortable sofa. But bending over is difficult on the knees and back, especially for older folks, so buying your own massage table is the best idea in the long run.
2. Prepare yourselves
- Our Ritual begins with us taking a shower. Most often we bathe separately while we prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the Loving Massage–and a clean body is much more pleasant to touch! You may want to bathe together—ritually washing away the remnants of the day in a warm, sweet-smelling bath is a sensuous way to begin your connection.
- Give some thought to how you are feeling. Take a status of your physical and emotional state. If you are upset or angry about anything, try to shift your mind away from that; if you cannot let it pass, then discuss it with your partner before the massage. If you’re in a bad mood or angry and can’t clear it, it’s best to postpone the massage until another time. This is because Loving Massage is so intimate that the giver will feel the negativity coming from your body, or your upset emotions will pass onto the receiver through your hands, and your time together will be spoiled.
- Dress to express your mood, which may sound silly if you’re getting a massage, but dressing in what makes you feel sexy, and then seductively taking it off, continues the drama of the massage. This applies to both giver and receiver.When receiving a massage, I dress in a slip or negligee, something soft and easy to remove. When I give Kevin a non-sexual, therapeutic massage to relieve pain, I wear what’s comfortable. When the massage is a date and I’m the giver, I wear whatever reflects my mood at the time, perhaps a flowing dress, sexy underwear, leather, or nothing. I like to change it up. . .keeps Kevin guessing!
3. Decide together the type of massage and discuss your boundaries
- Sit down facing one another and take turns talking about your intention for the massage.
Receiver: Do you want a sexual or non-sexual massage? Are any parts of your body off limits? Are there places too tender to touch? Or painful places you want massaged? Tell the giver what would give you the most pleasure then, but leave the option open to change your mind later.
(Hint: The more information you give about what pleases you, the juicier your massage will be.)
Giver: Let your partner know what you’re able and willing to give. You might be too tired to do a full body massage, or your body might be unable to give what the receiver wants. Be realistic and don’t over promise.
(Hint: Offer other ideas of what could be pleasurable, in case the other hadn’t considered them.)
- Determine the length of the massage.
- Both giver and receiver have boundaries, which should be discussed now. This is the time to address any fears and concerns you have about the massage, or personal issues that may be bothering you. But this is not the time to try and solve big problems. Better that you discuss troubling issues and let them go for the time being, so you can fully enjoy the massage. Stay positive and listen to the other person, assuming they have your best interests in mind.
Engaging in a ritual may feel like a silly thing to do, but behaving in a non-ordinary way invokes the specialness of the moment. The Ritual gives rise to a separate reality where you can tune into each other and experience a deeper level of intimacy .
None of this will happen on its own.
Yep, you have to make Loving Massage a priority in your life, or it will never happen. That means getting out your calendar and setting dates. It’s well-known that the more couples connect physically, the happier and healthier they are. So, if you’re not already trading massages with your partner, it’s time to start.
Most of us live fast-paced lives full of distraction, so we have to consciously make time for massages. We’re conditioned to think that most everything is more important than being intimate with our beloved, so making love (let alone massaging each other) is at the bottom of the list after work, the kids, exercise, eating, watching TV, and sleep. Having sex is a great idea (all 15 minutes of it), but setting aside an hour to give your sweetheart a delicious massage is healthier, and more bonding, than anything else you can do.
Another reason making time for massages is challenging is that we live in a touch-averse society. Teachers can’t touch kids, therapists can’t touch their clients, and some long-married couples even consider sensual touch rude and degenerate outside the bedroom. It’s one thing to celebrate anniversaries and make date nights, but how many of you dedicate time to exploring your lover’s body or to just hold each other for a long melting embrace?
Where to begin if Loving Massage seems too big a step
OK, so giving and especially receiving a Loving Massage sounds like a great idea, but you can’t imagine doing it quite yet. The answer is simple–just begin by touching your beloved more often. To increase the time you’re physically connected, you can:
- Hold a hand or take an elbow while walking,
- Give lots of warm, affectionate hugs,
- Sit next to each other with your bodies touching,
- Kiss more often. . .and, on the lips,
- Take turns giving each other shoulder, neck, and back rubs,
- Cuddle while watching TV,
- Take up dancing.
All the little touches add up, and soon you will be ordering your massage table and delightfully in love again.
Kevin here. . .
Ritual, ceremony, creating the moment. . .it’s all about focus and commitment. Focus on our intimacy. Commitment to being present as we prepare for the massage together.
I love doing our Ritual regardless of whether I’m giving or receiving the massage. When it’s my turn to give Vicki a Loving Massage, I take a long, thorough shower while she’s getting ready. I breathe deeply and revel in the delight of the hot, soapy water. . .the batheing soothes me and I drop into a mild trance state.
My body begins to awaken, and I quiet my mind. I listen to any hopes or fears which arise inside me. . .and let them go. I have fantasies of what we might do together and I store them away, knowing I can share them later with Vicki. (Whether or not they reappear in our lovemaking doesn’t matter because our commitment is to coming together, not about satisfying my fantasies.) My sensuality surges as my mind imagines touching her body.
Spotless, I feel anointed and smile as I skip the antiperspirant knowing she enjoys my fresh body odor. I arrange the massage room in the same mindful way I cleaned myself. I set up a pillow and blanket on the massage table to welcome and comfort her; then, I choose a massage oil scent that seems right for the evening and place it nearby. Since I always prepare the music, I choose a channel of our favorites and adjust the sound so it’s soothing, not blaring.
After I have ritually prepared the room, I leave. Vicki and I find each other and then enter the room together. One by one we jointly light the candles. We sit on the massage table and breathe slowly while gazing into each other’s eyes, sometimes for just a few breaths, other times for much longer if one of us needs more time to settle in.
Then, we are ready to begin talking about our intentions for the massage. We let the other know how we are feeling, and what we each want from the massage. We share our concerns and anxieties, if any, about what is to come. We’ll take as much time as we need to clear any issues or emotions that would distract from enjoying the massage. We are here for each other and that warms my spirit.
The Ritual summons us outside our mundane lives to a special place where our union is primary. We do it just for us, just to strengthen our connection and ensure that we have a deeply connecting experience.
The Ritual is the physical manifestation of our agreement to come together as one. . .to breathe and laugh through the awkward moments. . .to ride the sexual energies and currents flowing through us. We breathe deeply and begin to touch, and the sweetness of Vicki being there with me, for me and for herself, rises and transforms the room and the universe.