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So from what I gather, draping is really a state thing first and then based on the state's code of ethics, a client-therapist consideration.

With that said, I believe TX's current regulations states: draping will be used during the session, unless otherwise agreed to by both the client and the licensee

I read this to say that draping is NOT a state requirement but a client-therapist consideration. This may explain why I get a lot of requests for non draping sessions.

Just yesterday I got a request from someone looking for a professional massage but states that he does not like draping. He also offered to pay more if I would allow this.

My first instinct with all these clients is that no draping request = wanting something extra than a professional massage. However the state regulations says contrary.

So am I foolish for turning down a session because of this? I know I must follow my intuition, so I have already written him a note thanking him for the interest but letting him know that it would make me too uncomfortable. I explained that this was not how I was taught or how I practice, and therefore doing such a session would not be giving him the best I could give.

But I am curious as to other's thoughts and practices with regards to draping. Do you get a lot of requests to exclude it? What are your state's regulations? Have you ever worked on someone who wasn't draped?

Let the dialog begin...


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How unfortunate that so many confuse the two. Sensuality and the balance it brings to the body is so important in massage. Especially in a culture that so limits freedom of the senses.

Sandy said:

Tonya, I would not agree with the "sexual" massage, but I would say that a light swedish (were you taught not to remove your hand from touching at any time) is very sensual.  We need not to confuse the two words.

Sandy, et al:

 

I've been to Deco in Amsterdam which very well could be one of the places you are referring to. It's an amazing facility and an amazing environment. At a minimum it is very similar to the place you describe.

 

I have been heavily criticized on this board for proposing that many times people (MT's and clients) can't separate sexuality (sensuality as you put it) from massage and I've proposed that it is OK if they don't. I’ve been accused of dragging sexuality into the conversation while I feel it’s been there all along and people just don’t want to acknowledge it. Your observations touch on this yet again.

 

Europeans are not asexual. Probably to the contrary, they are more sexual than North American's. They enjoy the naked form of the opposite sex more than we do. The proof is in their art and their movies and their media. Nudity and sex in their culture is way more prevalent than in North America. Yet they do exactly what you describe and take their co workers and meet friends and some even take their children to cross-gendered spas where everyone is undressed in the same room let alone just in front of a single MT. The reason they can have these facilities without anyone having sex in them is because as a culture they have accepted human sexuality and they expect it to be present. They understand there is a huge leap between sexuality and sex itself. Because sexuality (not sex) is so common place they are very desensitized towards it. Most MT’s, spa workers, and estheticians see the naked body and simply say, “So what? Big deal!” To them it’s no different than a woman wearing lipstick and high-heeled shoes to work. It’s sexual but they are not confused into thinking the woman is trying to have sex with someone. Sexuality without sex can comfortably exist in their minds.

 

In a previous professional life I traveled to Shenzhen, China with my Chinese based company. After our company dinner the management took the whole company (men and women) for massages….AT 10:30 AT NIGHT!! We all know that in North America if you are getting a massage at 10:30 at night you are probably breaking a law somewhere. Nervously, the mostly US employees went along to find a beautiful spa where we used gender specific changing areas to change into robes and hugely oversized boxer shorts. The waistband fit but you could have fit two of me inside these shorts. This was their idea of draping.

 

We got mani / pedi’s, we had our own wait staff who got us drinks ranging from water and juice to alcoholic drinks. Eventually our turn for massage came and one by one we were taken off to massage rooms. The oversized shorts allowed the MT to move anywhere she wanted. I’m sure she saw everything and didn’t touch anything she should not have. Every treatment room had a smoked glass door. Each door had a clear circle about 5 feet up that the management used to look in on your treatment and verify everything was proper. Try to imagine that in North America?

 

The staff was comprised of very good looking, very muscular men in tight T-Shirts doing all the mani / pedi work for both sexes and the MT’s were all beautiful young ladies in short, thigh-length uniform dresses that reminded me of what airline stewardesses wore back when they were called stewardesses. This was not a coincidence. When we left at 12:30am people were coming in from the bars. No one did anything sexual in that entire facility that night but who could pretend that the spa was not using sexuality as a draw? Who goes for a massage, intoxicated, at midnight expecting a completely clinical experience?

 

 But this is North America. Our culture and views on sexuality are different than both Europe and Asia. Many people here will be angry at me for just telling this story. Fortunately I’m not in areas of the world where I could be dragged to the public square and stoned for telling the story. Global cultures are all over the board. Cultures aren’t uniform across any given  society either – some are liberal and some are conservative within each culture.

 

In the minds of some on this board my putting massage in these lights will minimize the importance of their work. It will stain their profession and imply it is something untoward. People have pointed out how hard the industry has worked to promote the understanding massage has nothing to do with sexuality and is completely clinical or therapeutic. Unfortunately, that’s like convincing people on a cloudy day that the sun didn’t rise. It’s still there. It’s just draped and the sun is hiding behind that drape.

 

The people on the table are humans. The MT’s are human. They can’t check their sexuality values at the door and leave them behind when they come in. They have sexual fears and sexual desires that are latent in each of them. It seems foolish to me to pretend they vanish during a massage. In the end there are two people in the room. The boundaries for each person should be understood and respected. However, you’ll never know what the other person feels unless you are willing to talk to them and get to know them. If the MT and client don’t see things in similar ways or can’t find common and comfortable ground the client should move on to the next MT. If MT’s and clients communicate then MT’s will find clients that fit their services and clients will find MT’s that provide service they are comfortable with…..draped or undraped.

I live in TX and you are correct it is not a requirement for there to be draping if the client and therapist agree.

I personally have several customers who prefer not to be draped during their sessions. At first I thought the same thing that you do, but i knew some people personally who preferred not to have draping so I started out saying that the first appointment I require to be draped but then after that I go to towel draping.

 

Towel Draping

If you just use a towel to drape across their pelvic area when they are on their back it gives you a better feeling of ease because they are no longer showing anything that you wouldn't have seen anyways. I just use a hand towel or two for women (though i haven't gotten the request from a women).

 

I hope this helped.

All,

I'm quite amazed by some of the posts I've been reading.  Let me start by saying I am a male practicing in the state of Texas.  In Texas, no draping is allowed.  I've had several clients request undraped massage.  As most everyone who has posted, I consider myself to be a "professional" massage therapist.  The bottom line is, you have to do what you are comfortable with.  

 

I would also add that giving an undraped massage is not about whether the client is cute or (as someone said) "well endowed", it's about making your client feel comfortable.  Will this excite you as a therapist?  Probaby (unless you are a eunich)!  That's only natural.  If you are an adult, the chances are you've seen at least one naked body in your lifetime.  As long as you are clear that the genitals will not be massaged, you can relax and do your thing.  Also, I would add that your client will receive a better massage when it's undraped vs when fully draped.  This is because the therapist is not worried about the draping.  There's no worry about accidentally exposing the client.  Also, check your anatomy and find where the muscles in the leg originate and insert.  Arent you supposed to massage that ENTIRE area?  With draped massages, this can be difficult as it includes blindly reaching under draping and possibly exposing the client.  With undraped massage, this is probably not an issue.

 

Everyone is different and everyone has a different level of modesty.  The most important thing you should do if you are considering allowing undraped massage is to put it somewhere on your intake form.  You will also want to put underneath it a statement that clearly states what will or wont be massaged during an undraped session.  Also, put a line next to it so the client can initial it - this way, you know you are both on the same page.

 

I'm constantly amazed by how many body workers are afraid of the body!

I can't imagine any good coming from an undraped session.

 

It's not like you are removing the draping so you can massage those areas, so why do they need to be exposed?

 

In my book, one person being unnecessarily totally naked crosses the line into something sexual.

That is why it is a personal choice. People differ in their idea of what is acceptable and not. If you equate simply being nude with sexual activity, the choice is clear. You believe a sheet separates you from engaging in sex. If you do not connect the two as being synonymous, then it is not an issue. There are many situations where nudity is acceptable such as a gym shower, locker rooms, saunas, Korean Spas, Beaches (depending on local laws) and it varies by custom and locale. If you can't separate nudity from having sex then it is better the client stays covered.

At a German Spa which is pricey and very upscale both genders were in the crowded sauna and use the showers to cool down on exiting. Some laid on the lounge chairs in the garden to cool off. Swimsuits are not permitted in most German saunas and the towel is to sit on. Everyone seemed to be relaxing and there was no evidence sex was on anyone's mind.

~

 

In Nevada draping is required by law.  This isn't my choice or the clients choice.  We play by the rules. 

 

I'm in the city of Las Vegas and from what I see, I truly believe we are the fake breast capital of the world.  Many female clients wish (and do) to expose their breasts.  Please understand that I'm not talking strippers, show dancers or prostitutes or whatnot.  I'm talking many average, everyday women.  I don't know...is there an inherent desire to want to show them off?!?!?!

 

Regardless, it's not what they do, it's what I do.  I'm in charge.  It's my massage room, my business, my decision.  When the female client rolls over and exposes themselves, I explain to them the law WHILE I'm re-draping their chest area.  This isn't a discussion, it's a statement and action from me.  99.99% are fine with this, and 99.99% of these ladies are still my clients.  Why shouldn't they be?  I don't know their intent in undraping, (they are an undercover cop looking to bust me, looking for a cheap thrill to work me up as a man, just wanting to show off the new SCUD missles, etc., etc.,) but again, I'm unconcerned with THEIR intent...to a point.  First mishap is Ok, I'll correct it.  Anything else and you're done.  Once again, I'm in control of the situation whatever it may be.

 

Kris (male massage therapist)

   

 

 

I have worked on a lot of Europeans. They are much more casual about nudity and they don't seem to give it a second thought. Nudity doesn't equal sex to them. When I re-draped one quite elderly woman who exposed her breasts, in her very thick Turkish accent she said "You Americans...so modest."

Daniel Cohen said:

That is why it is a personal choice. People differ in their idea of what is acceptable and not. If you equate simply being nude with sexual activity, the choice is clear. You believe a sheet separates you from engaging in sex. If you do not connect the two as being synonymous, then it is not an issue. There are many situations where nudity is acceptable such as a gym shower, locker rooms, saunas, Korean Spas, Beaches (depending on local laws) and it varies by custom and locale. If you can't separate nudity from having sex then it is better the client stays covered.

At a German Spa which is pricey and very upscale both genders were in the crowded sauna and use the showers to cool down on exiting. Some laid on the lounge chairs in the garden to cool off. Swimsuits are not permitted in most German saunas and the towel is to sit on. Everyone seemed to be relaxing and there was no evidence sex was on anyone's mind.

I have a feeling that this is actually happening WAY more often than any of us think. Someone astutely suggested earlier that people may be hesitant to acknowledge they do this because they are afraid of repercussion from governing bodies. Many more may just consider it no one’s business what they do. I don’t know.

After watching this thread for quite a while I think that there are many that do after they have reached a certain level of rapport and understanding with a given client.

I don’t know for sure but I think we have more states now that allow people smoke, buy, and sell marijuana than we have states that allow MT's to massage someone's naked @$$. How funny are we?

i'd much rather smoke weed than massage someone undraped. ;)

Randy

You put it very well.  The problem is (no offense meant) people like Lisa who think the body is "nude".  It is a body.  We did cadavers in school.

 

Yes  I usually do draped until I know the client - or at least drape the front.  But I would challenge anybody that they can give or receive as good as massage draped than undraped!

LOL. I'm cool with that too. It's what make you the person you are. You just go with it. This is all a great example of how something that can seem small and trivial to one person may not be so small and trivial to someone else.

 

Amsterdam, where almost anyting is legal, prides themselves on being "tolerant." It's a word they specifically choose. Not everyone there wants all the things that are legal and acceptable but the all tolerate people with different preferences and are happy those people can do their thing.

Lisa said:

i'd much rather smoke weed than massage someone undraped. ;)

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