rub downs

Why Gay Erotic Massage Therapists Make Business Hard for ‘Legit’ Ones

Gay massage therapists — the type who do not advertise themselves in the Village Voice‘s “erotic services” column, thank you very much — face some of the same dilemmas as gay wrestlers: Clients (or opponents) think you’re in it just to get sweaty and rub nasties with another dude. (Unlike openly straight college wrestler Hudson Taylor, who’s in it for LGBT rights, and not the chance to do this.) So what’s a legitimate gay masseur to do if he doesn’t want clients thinking he’s going to strip down and give ’em a handy?

Not advertising on certain Craigslist sections, or the back pages of alt weeklies, is a good start. But that won’t be enough to overcome some of the more common stereotypes in the massage industry, writes Jason Knight. “Whether straight or gay, therapists frequently battle homophobia from straight male clients who assume all male therapists are gay and looking to exploit their position for sexual pleasure. Conversely, therapists battle the extreme opposite with gay clientele who are looking for sexual pleasures from male therapists. On either side of the coin, being a legitimate gay male therapist can be nearly impossible.”

“Nearly impossible” might be taking things too far (and we’d argue the recession has a big part in the difficulties of a massage therapist these days), but certainly there’s more cash to be made in adult services. “The only way for a male to make a great income in the massage industry is by catering to gay men who are looking for a hot guy to rub them down,” a 20-year massage veteran in Cincinnati tells Knight. “Catering to erotic and sensual massage is where the money is at.”

And perhaps you’re among the very clientele shopping for these services? Word to the wise: Despite many law enforcement agencies turning a blind eye to the rampant Craigslist adverts, even sexual/sensual massage is illegal — it’s a form of prostitution, we’re told to believe. “When you exchange sex or sexual gratification for money, in this case, under the guise of a massage therapist, it is prostitution and we take that very seriously,” says the Seattle Police Department. Ugh. Just when we had settled on a career.