I was a (CMT) certified female massage therapist with 20 years experience. For the last several years of my career I offered a *hands only* element to my sessions.
These intense business encounters reveal much about the attitudes men have toward respecting women.
A client of mine once said I must have “seen it all” in that massage room.
I assured him I hadn’t (no one ever does) but I have seen a huge variety of men. Every age (21 to 83!), every ethnicity, all industries, backgrounds and income levels.
And to date, whenever I’ve heard a man say, “Oh, I really love and respect women” I’ve balked.
Why would I balk at a man talking about respecting women? Well, because usually, up until that point…. I hadn’t felt respected by them.
Most the declaration of respecting women is made within the first 15 minutes of our meeting.
As well, during that 15 minutes they have done at least several of the following:
- -arrived late
- -didn’t apologize for being late or bother to give even a brief explanation
- -began walking in the opposite direction from where I just told them the massage room was
- -began asking me very personal questions right away (Am I married? Where do I live?)
- -start “rescheduling” as soon as they get there. Meaning, they will ask for a shorter or longer session on arrival and expect me to accommodate them
- -they will start “leading” the session. Meaning, they will suggest where I should massage next or want to turn on their backs much sooner than I normally ask a client to
- -ask me if I want to take a break during the session or worry too much about my comfort level
Now you may be saying to yourself “What’s the big deal?”
If so, that’s part of the reason I wrote this article.
I’m a mature woman (50+).
I’ve learned to pay attention to the details.
I’ve learned it’s the small things people do and say that reveal who they are… not the big crises.
I’m not saying these clients of mine are bad guys. Not at all. They just aren’t who they think they are.
However, the bigger the gap between our self image and the reality of who we are, the bigger the problems.
One example of this is of the 35 year old guy with the shaven head and pasty, super-sized gut.
He began the session like all my other clients do… face down on the massage table. Within 10 minutes he insisted he turn over on his back. There seemed to be no other reason for this premature roll over other than to ask for my opinion on his… genitalia.
I responded by saying that the only opinion that mattered was his. It’s not what he wanted to hear. He was hoping for some humiliation. He said it turned him on. I told him he would be disappointed.
He then told me about his on-again-off-again girlfriend of a decade who had taken him to a tattoo parlor one day to have her name tattooed on his body.
She then had sex with the tattoo artist who inked him.
My client said it was “intense.”
I’m sure it was.
This begs the question: Why would a grown man allow a woman to treat him this way?
This is a stark example but not uncommon.
I’ve come to the conclusion that men who behave as I’ve described above and who profess to really respect women…
are just plain scared.
They’re scared of women in general.
They’re scared of the responsibility of being the kind of man who is strong enough to stand up to her and for her at the right times.
However, for a man to get to the point where he can genuinely support a woman emotionally and energetically, requires him to face the possibility of rejection, criticism and feelings of guilt.
For many men this is a task on par with climbing Mt. Everest. It’s just easier to hang back and take some emotional shrapnel.
So whenever I’ve heard a man utter the words, “I really respect women” I’m wary.
Give me a man who doesn’t need to talk about respecting women… because it’s more likely it’s genuine.
Why? A man will have dignified himself first… which is where all of life starts… within.
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