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Erotic massage or sensuous massage is the use of massage techniques to achieve or enhance sexual arousal. Massages have been used for medical purposes for a very long time, and their use for erotic purposes also has a long history. Today, erotic massage is used by some people on occasion as a part of sex, either as foreplay or as the final sex act. Erotic massages typically feature massages in the erogenous zones of the body to increase sexual arousal.
Erotic massages are typically performed in a person's erogenous zones to achieve or enhance sexual arousal. In the case of women, the two focal areas are the breasts and pubis. In case of men, the focal area is the genitals.
Amateur erotic massage
A wide range of erotic massage books, videos, accessories and lubricants are marketed for private use.
The internal migration of Thai females consists mostly of young girls from the hill tribes of the North and Northeast of the country. Most of these internally migrated girls are sent to closed brothels, which operate under prison-like conditions. Thousands of women from rural Thailand, China, Laos, Burma and Cambodia are sold to brothels in Bangkok or to other countries by "job brokers," who often operate in organized international syndicates. One million women from Burma, southern China, Laos and Vietnam have been trafficked into Thailand.
In 1996, foreign women made up the majority of prostitutes from forty sex establishments in eighteen border provinces that were actually brothels masquerading as karaoke bars, restaurants and traditional massage parlors. In some venues though, there were no Thai women at all. In mid-1997, an increasing number of young girls, were entering Thailand through the Mae Sai checkpoint into massage parlors, brothels, etc.
Fifty percent of the prostituted women in Chiang Rai are Burmese. Thousands of indigenous Burmese women from Shan State in the North and Keng Tung in Eastern Burma have been sold into brothels in Bangkok and throughout Thailand.
In the UK, prostitution itself is legal, but associated activities such as kerb crawling, soliciting in public, keeping a brothel and pimping are not. The Policing and Crime Act of 2009 made it illegal to pay for sex with a prostitute who has been "subjected to force", and this is a strict liability offence, which means that clients can be prosecuted even if they didn’t know the prostitute was forced. In the United Kingdom many illegal brothels are disguised as "massage parlours" in the UK.
In 2005, it was reported that, in Manchester, there were around eighty "massage parlours" which were fronts for prostitution and that the police ignored those establishments, focusing instead on reducing street prostitution. On October 12, 2005, the Evening News reported that "A self-confessed pimp walked free from court after a judge was told police had 'turned a blind eye' to organised prostitution in massage parlours in Manchester."
In Rhode Island, prostitution was legal "behind closed doors" from 1980 until 2009. For this reason, massage parlors (also known there as "spas") were known to be involved in prostitution.
Law enforcement in the USA does try to shut down or fine massage parlor establishments that break federal, state or local laws. The penalty for breaking the law in these instances can be very high in some cases, especially cases that involve human trafficking.
Erotic massage may be utilized as a sex therapy, that is, as a means of stimulating the libido or increasing the ability of a person to respond positively to sensual stimulus. In some cases, erotic massage can be a form of foreplay without sexual gratification, intended to heighten the sensitivity of an individual prior to another engagement where sexual arousal and fulfillment is intended. In other cases, erotic massage may be used professionally to help men address issues of premature ejaculation. Methods employed may teach the recipient to relax the musculature of his pelvis and thus prolong arousal and increase pleasure.
Neotantra, or tantric sex, is the modern, Western variation of tantra. This includes both the new age and modern Western interpretations of traditional Indian and Buddhist tantra. Tantric massage is a form of erotic massage carried out within this tradition.
Commercial erotic and sexual massage
These may be provided by independent providers, providers of broader sexual services, or through organized massage parlors or brothels. It takes many forms, from massage techniques that aim to integrate the sexual, spiritual and physical, to massage whose purpose is the achievement of an orgasm through a handjob, oral sex, or sexual intercourse. A 'happy ending' (typically a handjob) is sometimes offered as an addition to any other type of massage. The legality of commercial sexual massage varies by jurisdiction.
Use in medicine
In the Western medical tradition, genital massage of a woman to orgasm by a physician or midwife was a standard treatment for female hysteria, an ailment considered common and chronic in women. In 1653, Pieter van Foreest advised the technique of genital massage for a disease called "womb disease" to bring the woman into "hysterical paroxysm".
Such cases were quite profitable for physicians, since the patients were at no risk of death but needed constant treatment. However, the vaginal massage procedure (generally referred to as 'pelvic massage') was tedious and time consuming for physicians. The technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve "hysterical paroxysm". Referral to midwives, which had been common practice, meant a loss of business for the physician, and, at times, husbands were asked to assist.
Development of the vibrator
A solution was the invention of massage devices, which shortened the needed treatment from hours to minutes, removing the need for midwives and increasing a physician's treatment capacity. Already at the turn of the century, hydrotherapy devices were available at Bath, and by the mid-19th century, they were popular at many high-profile bathing resorts across Europe and in America. By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians. In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria.
While physicians of the period acknowledged that the disorder stemmed from sexual dissatisfaction, they seemed unaware of or unwilling to admit the sexual purposes of the devices used to treat it. In fact, the introduction of the speculum was far more controversial than that of the vibrator.
By the turn of the 20th century, the spread of home electricity brought the vibrator to the consumer market. The appeal of cheaper treatment in the privacy of one's own home understandably made the vibrator a popular early home appliance. In fact, the electric home vibrator was on the market before many other home appliance 'essentials': nine years before the electric vacuum cleaner and 10 years before the electric iron. A page from a Sears catalog of home electrical appliances from 1918 includes a portable vibrator with attachments, billed as "very useful and satisfactory for home service".
The expression "happy ending" is a colloquial term for the practice of a provider offering sexual release to a client.
The 2009 documentary "Happy Endings?" follows women who work in Asian massage parlors in Rhode Island where prostitution was legal at the time of filming. Although the film focuses on full service massage parlors, "rub and tug" massage parlours (where only handjobs are offered) are also covered.
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