Preventing erections during massage
April 9, 2009 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Some questions about getting an erection during a massage

I am a 20 yr old male who is interested in seeing a masseuse to relieve some tension and pain I have all over my body as a result of an intense judo/jiu-jitsu regime I have started.

I am concerned about getting an erection during the massage. Maybe it's just me, my age, or both, but I get erections very easily. Sometimes I get them while leaning against the bathroom sink to get a close inspection of my teeth in the mirror.

How do masseuses react to erections? How can I prevent one, and what do I do if I do indeed get an erection?
posted by ascetic to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Masseuses are professionals and act accordingly. Don't worry, they'll ignore it. They've seen them before and they'll see them again.
posted by studentbaker at 7:25 AM on April 9, 2009

The irony of this is that the whole point of the massage is to relax, and yet lots of guys will spend the entire session in knots of anxiety over the erection issue.

Try to just let it go. This is one of those situations where you're basically turning your body and all its functions and parts over to a professional. As long as you're respectful, there's nothing to be ashamed of, as studentbaker said, they've seen it all.
posted by hermitosis at 7:33 AM on April 9, 2009

If you get an erection, ask the masseuse to get you something from outside the room. A glass of water, a new towel or something. Maybe even just ask him or her to step outside a minute. Then do a bunch of push-ups really quick. Ever had a boner while doing push ups? I don't think so.
posted by mullacc at 7:43 AM on April 9, 2009

I think you have a misguided assumption about normal massage procedure.

At least in my experience, you're never fully exposed. They usually put a blanket over you (and a somewhat heavy one, at that) and then pull it back for each part of the body they need to work on. E.g. only your right leg may be exposed while they work on it, the rest of your body remains covered.

Don't worry, your penis will not be exposed during the massage. The masseuse will never see it. And you'll be so relaxed (hopefully!) that an erection will be the last thing on your mind. Even if it happens, they are professionals, and they will not care (and may not even notice).
posted by bengarland at 7:46 AM on April 9, 2009

I don't think that you will. . I have had a lot of massages, some from women that I have found very attractive, and it's never been an issue. Part of it, I think, is due the the "transaction" issue, and part of it is that, for me at least, it would be mortifying to get an erection in that context, akin to being nude in other such inappropriate places, such as church, in front of one's mother, etc. All of it tends to mitigate arousal.

(I have never gotten a massage with a "happy ending," so I can't speak to that kind of thng.)
posted by Danf at 7:47 AM on April 9, 2009

Also, I do not think that mullacc's advice is very good. I would not recommend distracting the masseuse and doing pushups. You are there to relax, and they are professionals. Respect them, and they will respect you.
posted by bengarland at 7:47 AM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Do math problems in your head.

Think about baseball stats.

Bea Arthur in a two piece? (Whole body shiver.)
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:49 AM on April 9, 2009

you'll be so relaxed (hopefully!) that an erection will be the last thing on your mind.

Actually, I was so taken aback by the ferocity of my first massage - and it wasn't one of those special ultra-ferocious massages, whatever they're called, it was regular Swedish - that an erection was the last thing on my mind. But the result (no chance of an erection) was the same.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:00 AM on April 9, 2009

You are there to relax, and they are professionals. Respect them, and they will respect you.

If it's that easy, then why do "lots of guys will spend the entire session in knots of anxiety over the erection issue," as hermitosis said? If he has a plan to get rid of his erection, that may put his mind at ease even if he doesn't actually do it. I don't know about other people, but in my experience, being told to relax is a pretty ineffective relaxation method.
posted by mullacc at 8:01 AM on April 9, 2009

I occasionally get massages. For this reason, and the fact that I'm really ticklish, I always request that I stay on my stomach, facing down, for the entire procedure. Problem solved.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:03 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've never had a professional massage, but I wouldn't think full on nudity is a necessity. Perhaps you could keep a pair of boxer briefs or something on and make sure you're, uh, aimed the right direction so that if you do get aroused it'll lay flat instead of up and out?

The peace of mind that would afford would ensure you relax and get your money's worth.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:04 AM on April 9, 2009

Here’s how very massage I have ever had generally happens: The masseuse brings me into a darkened room and asks if I need anything. They then show me where I can leave my clothes (if I’m not already in a robe) then excuse themselves from the room. While out of the room, I lay on the able and cover myself with a very thick, heavy towel and wait for them to return. They knock before coming in. They readjust the towel and tuck it at my sides. They start the massage. About half way through, they ask me to roll over. When this happens, they will lift the towel off my body and hold it between me and them like a screen. I’ll roll over and they’ll readjust the towel. Again, the towel is thick and heavy. You won’t be pitching an embarrassing tent, unless you are Ron Jeremy and can lift dumbbells with it. They’ll finish the massage and leave the room for me to dress. And yes, you can wear your underwear. Whatever makes you most comfortable.
posted by studentbaker at 8:07 AM on April 9, 2009

"How do masseuses react to erections?"

They don't care. Really. These people are professionals who spend their time in close proximity with a lot of different human bodies, including those similar to yours. Please assume that your massage therapist is a competent professional who is going to completely ignore the state of your genitals.

Besides, the customary draping procedure means that your massage therapist isn't going to be glaring directly upon your hardened man bits even if you roll over, and they'll ignore the presence of any tent poles.

"How can I prevent one, and what do I do if I do indeed get an erection?"

Don't even try. You're concerning yourself with a total nonissue. Just enjoy the massage and stop undermining yourself with reasons not to.
posted by majick at 8:17 AM on April 9, 2009

First, and very, very importantly--they are massage therapists. Not masseuses or masseurs--both are offensive terms to the professionals today.

Second, they're professionals and they've pretty much seen whatever you care to throw at them (erections, bizarre tattoos, requests for happy endings, fugly skin or scars or acne, whatever). You're welcome to continue wearing your underwear and you will also be covered by a towel, blanket, or sheet throughout the massage.

Third, professional massage is relaxing and therapeutic, yes, but it's not erotic. It can be intense, aggressive, and almost painful at times. My boyfriend and I had a couples massage a few months ago and he said it was one of the least erotic things that had ever happened to him and didn't arouse him in the least.

If you do get an erection, ignore it. You don't need to apologize for it or be embarrassed. I have both fallen asleep and cried on the massage table before--human touch brings out a lot of emotions, but massage therapists are used to seeing these things and will treat you with dignity.

posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:24 AM on April 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

As others have noted, you'll be draped, so while it's possible you'll react thusly, it's not as if you'll be sproinging up into the air.

This is a very common concern, but really, don't worry about it. Masseuses are used to various physical reactions -- clients fall asleep for a moment and snore, twitch in reflex, are ticklish, and yeah, get erections. The masseuse will just ignore it completely.
posted by desuetude at 8:25 AM on April 9, 2009

I get a therapeutic massage every 2 weeks. I started out pretty ticklish, but that's seriously over. If the therapist is doing there job correctly, the experience will be pretty intense. Sports massage isn't a rub. All of the above is accurate, but the obvious solution is this: Get your massage from a male therapist. All those NFL, MLB, and NBA professionals do. If you've got a thing about being touched by another guy, you'll be over it in one session.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 8:42 AM on April 9, 2009

Wear stretch cotton boxer briefs (like Hugo Boss or DKNY's) so you don't pitch a tent.
posted by Zambrano at 8:59 AM on April 9, 2009

Well, I am a massage therapist* and I've massaged lots of male clients over the years. And yes, a few of them have gotten an erection during the treatment. Do I care? No. Unless they are trying to swing it around, grinding, or are otherwise trying to say 'I actually came here expecting extras, wink wink nudge nudge', I don't care at all. It's just a bodily function, it happens. And for those suggesting that getting a sports/deep massage, or getting your massage from a male will prevent it, don't be so sure on that. Like I said, it's a bodily function.

* peanut_mcgillicuty is right, we really prefer not to be called masseuses. While that term is technically correct, these days it tends to be slang for, well, that other kind of massage.
posted by nyxie at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Getting an erection during the massage is really , absolutely no big deal. They've all seen it. Generally they are very professional and will just ignore. No reason to be ashamed. To be honest, if I were the massage therapist, I'd get a bit of a kick out it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:15 AM on April 9, 2009

There are a lot of answers here. Ignore all of them except the ones that say "they are professionals; they can deal with it."

I lived with people who were in one-year program to become massage therapists. They were taught specific strategies for dealing with erections.

The only thing that might disrupt the massage somewhat would be if you seemed to want them to see it, like you wanted the massage to become a sexual thing, but that doesn't sound like your question; I'm just including it for completeness.
posted by salvia at 9:27 AM on April 9, 2009

And just to add, if you are going to a massage therapist who specializes in sports massage and you've got aches and pains from judo? You are likely going to be experiencing some intense and deep massage to work out all those muscle knots. The more you go, the better it gets, but I really doubt you'll be feeling erotic. Don't worry and go for it. I echo others here that you don't need to comment on it with the therapist. Be cool.
posted by amanda at 10:22 AM on April 9, 2009

2nding amanda. I get a great sports massage every month, and I'm being so beat up from training I'm in agony for most of the session. However, I'm female, so my ladyboner isn't visible anyways.
posted by poissonrouge at 11:04 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Empty the chamber immediately before your massage.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

3rding amanda.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:06 PM on April 9, 2009

My friend bought her dad a gift certificate for a Swedish massage for his birthday. He came home very pleased with the experience and kept raving about how amazing the massage had been, and "how professional the masseuse was". I drew my own conclusions about what that meant.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:22 PM on April 9, 2009

I've never gotten a massage that's failed to...hoist the mainsail, if you know what I mean. Just lay back and relax and it will drift away. Or it won't. Either way, they won't mention it. And neither should you.
posted by ColdChef at 4:13 PM on April 9, 2009

I thought about this before I got my first Thai message last year. This was in Thailand, home of the "happy ending," so getting an erection during the message would have been totally normal. However, despite the (hot) misseuse's best efforts, it wasn't an issue. A Western misseuse won't be bothered by erection, even if you manage to get one. Don't worry.
posted by smorange at 10:17 PM on April 9, 2009

Can't you just jerk off before you go?
posted by Cyrano at 11:50 PM on April 9, 2009

What nyxie said.

I'm current studying massage therapy, and one suggested way to avoid male clients getting embarrassed is to ensure there's a bit of loose draping around the groin, so if the flag does get raised, it isn't noticeable.

If your therapist doesn't do this for you, then when you're lying on your back, just pull the towel or sheet up yourself, and leave some extra cloth there.

At about 0:22 into this leg draping video, the therapist has piled a bit of extra draping onto the client's groin area, in order to access the leg. It's that extra draping you can use for camouflage :) Also note at around 0:40 that the draping is pulled securely under the leg so no dangly bits pop out.

Enjoy your massage!
posted by flutable at 10:14 PM on April 10, 2009

They typically start you off on your front and spend more time working on your back before they tell you to flip over onto your back. If you've got wood when you're on your front, no problem. If you've still got wood when they tell you to flip, you can say that you'd like for them to concentrate on your back some more.
posted by Askr at 8:26 PM on April 11, 2009

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