Sex: Very Desperate Housewives
BRIAN HAS BEEN a massage therapist for 20 years, starting the “Pleasing Hands” leg of his trade six years ago. One of his regular clients broached the subject of getting a “full-release” massage, he did it, and she then referred him to a friend of hers, which started the chain of word-of-mouth referrals that led Brian to advertise himself as a full-release massage therapist.
At first, he offered the full-release service to both men and women. “It wasn’t necessarily a gay thing with my male clients,” Brian says. “Many of them were men who had chronic pain and literally needed a strong man to work on their muscles. The orgasm release at the end is just finishing the job: release of tension, release of stress, release of pain, release of orgasm.”
Brian’s impulse to cater to both genders was touchingly democratic, but he acceded to his female clients’ desire that he work only on them. To a man, a full-release massage that actually gets out the kinks in his back is just one more way he can generally get whatever he wants. For a woman, it’s an act of liberation and courage whose exclusivity to women increases this exact appeal.
Brian sees anywhere between five and 15 massage clients a week, roughly 75 percent of them women who want to experience a full release. His competition is limited to one other practitioner Brian considers to be legitimate: a man named Frank who works in the area and uses the same Internet marketing resources as Brian (Craigslist, Sensualzen.com, Frank’s own website, Tantricserenity.com). Frank tends to play up the aspect of tantra in his copy, whereas Brian bypasses this to focus on sounding professional and nurturing.
Clients such as Betty, though, are still somewhat circumspect about their use of Brian’s services. “I don’t have a happy marriage,” she says, “but I want my home to be as peaceful and happy as possible for my children. It’s not a perfect world. Brian needs to be my secret. I don’t feel I’m cheating, but I can see how it would be seen that way.”
Betty’s right; it’s not a perfect world. When you speak to Brian’s clients, it’s easy to forget just how much could go wrong when a woman hires a man to address her sexual needs. Safety concerns aside, sexuality is still an inner minefield for many women. Even in an age in which sex-toy parties have replaced Tupperware nights, it’s still the few and the brave among women who hire a professional to help them get off. And it’s the even fewer and braver men who’ve stepped up to the task and figured out how to meet these women’s needs in a way that satisfies their female clients, as opposed to their own libidos.