Vicki here. . .
Kevin and I perform a ritual before each Loving Massage. Our ritual is different each time, depending on the type of massage, but each includes some of the components below. Your ritual will be different from ours in ways that make it uniquely your own. When you and your partner compose your ritual and do it with intention together, your massage becomes magical.
1. Set the scene
- The goal is to create a safe, romantic environment for your massage. A quiet, secluded place where you won’t be disturbed is best. We turned a small bedroom into our massage/yoga room. The walls of the room are flamingo pink, the carpet deep purple, and there is a small table in one corner where the candles, incense, and massage oils are kept. Yoga props are stacked in another corner, and the walls are bare except for a Tibetan tapestry of two lovers in yab yum.
- In addition to making your space clean and tidy, turn off and remove all media from the massage area, such as computers, phones, TV (or drape the screen to eliminate its influence). These technologies are distracting and interfere with your coming together. The exception is soft music, usually without words, choosen for the occasion. We intentionally keep the massage room free of everything else–no desks, dressers, storage boxes, personal pictures, knick-knacks, or electronic cables. This eliminates distractions so we can focus solely on the love we bring to the room. It’s our favorite room in the house.
- Ideally, you should have a massage table. You can give the massage on the floor, bed, or comfortable sofa, but bending over is hard on the knees and back, especially for old folks. So, we highly recommend you buy one. There are many massage tables to choose from, which can be confusing. To make things simpler, we chose three tables at different prices and quality to begin your search. In the end, you don’t need an expensive one as most tables are strong, easy-to-carry, and hold up to 450 pounds. Having a massage table dedicated to each other’s pleasure is a big step toward making intimacy a priority in your lives.
2. Prepare yourselves
- Our ritual begins by taking a shower because a clean body is more pleasant to touch! Most often we bathe separately while we prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the massage. You may want to bathe together—ritually washing away the remnants of the day in warm, sweet-smelling water is a sensuous way to begin your connection.
- Give some thought to your feelings. Take note of your physical and emotional state. If you are upset or angry about something, try to shift your mind away from it. If you cannot let it go, then discuss the issue with your partner before the massage. But if you’re in a bad mood or angry and can’t clear it, it’s best to postpone the massage until another time. Because Loving Massage is so intimate, the giver will feel the negativity coming from your body or your agitation will pass onto the receiver through your hands, and your time together will be spoiled.
- Dress to express your mood, which may sound silly if you’re getting a massage. But dressing in what makes you feel sexy, and then seductively taking it off, continues the drama of the massage. This applies to both giver and receiver. When receiving a massage, I dress in a slip or negligee, something soft and easy to remove. When I give Kevin a non-sexual, therapeutic massage to relieve pain, I wear what’s comfortable. And when the massage is a date and I’m the giver, I wear whatever reflects my mood at the time, perhaps a flowing dress, sexy underwear, leather, or nothing. I like to change it up to keep Kevin guessing!
3. Decide the type of massage and your boundaries
- Sit down facing one another and take turns talking about your intention for the massage. Ask yourselves these questions:
Receiver: Do you want a sexual or non-sexual massage? Are any parts of your body off limits? Are there places too tender to touch? Or painful places you want soothed? Where is your itch? What are you hungry for right now? Tell the giver what would please you most, but leave the option open, in case you change your mind later.
(Hint: The more information you give about what pleases you, the juicier your massage will be.)
Giver: Let your partner know what you’re able and willing to give. You might be too tired for a full-body massage or emotionally unable to give what’s asked of you. You may be feeling sexy and want to devour your partner or have a sexual fantasy you want to play out. Be honest, and see what the response is. You may be pleasantly surprised.
(Hint: Offer other ideas of what could be pleasurable, in case the other hadn’t considered them.)
- Determine the length of the massage.
- Both giver and receiver have boundaries, which should be discussed now. This is the time to address any fears and concerns you have about the massage or personal issues that may be bothering you. But this is not the time to try and solve big problems. Better that you discuss troubling issues and let them go for the time being so that you can fully enjoy the massage. Stay positive and listen to the other person, assuming they have your best interests in mind.
Engaging in a ritual may feel like a silly thing to do, but behaving in a non-ordinary way invokes the specialness of the moment. The ritual gives rise to a separate reality where you can tune into each other and experience a deeper level of intimacy.
None of this will happen on its own
Yes, you have to make Loving Massage a priority in your life, or it will never happen. That means getting out your calendar and setting a date. It’s well-known that the more couples connect physically, the happier and healthier they are. So, if you’re not already trading massages with your partner, it’s time to start.
Most of us live fast-paced lives full of distraction, so we have to consciously make time for a massage. We’re conditioned to think that most everything is more important than being intimate with our beloved, so making love (let alone massaging each other) is at the bottom of the list after work, the kids, exercise, eating, watching TV, and sleep. Having sex is a great idea (all 15 minutes of it), but setting aside an hour to give your sweetheart a delicious massage is healthier and more bonding than anything else you can do.
Another reason making time for massages is challenging is that we live in a touch-phobic society. Teachers can’t touch kids, therapists can’t touch their clients, and some long-married couples even consider sensual touch rude and degenerate outside the bedroom. It’s one thing to celebrate anniversaries and make date nights, but how many of you dedicate time to exploring your lover’s body or even hold each other for a long, melting embrace?
Where to begin if Loving Massage seems too big a step
OK, so giving and especially receiving a Loving Massage sounds like a great idea, but you can’t imagine doing it quite yet. The answer is simple—just begin by touching your beloved more often. To increase the time you’re physically connected, you can:
- Hold hands or take an elbow while walking,
- Give lots of warm, affectionate hugs,
- Sit next to each other with your bodies touching,
- Kiss more often. . .and, on the lips,
- Take turns giving each other shoulder, neck, and back rubs,
- Cuddle while watching TV, and
- Take up dancing.
All the little touches add up, and soon you will be ordering your massage table and enjoying the pleasures of loving touch.
Kevin here. . .
Ritual, ceremony, creating the moment. . .it’s all about focus and commitment. Focus on your intimacy. Commitment to being present as you prepare for the massage together.
I love doing our ritual regardless of whether I’m giving or receiving the massage. When it’s my turn to give Vicki a Loving Massage, I take a long, thorough shower while she’s getting ready. I breathe deeply and revel in the delight of the hot, soapy water. . .the bathing soothes me, and I drop into a mild trance state.
My body begins to awaken, and I quiet my mind. I listen to any hopes or fears that arise inside me. . .and let them go. I have fantasies of what we might do together, and I store them away, knowing I can share them later with Vicki. (Whether or not they reappear in our lovemaking doesn’t matter because our commitment is to coming together, not about satisfying my fantasies, although. . .) My sensuality surges as my mind imagines touching her body.
Spotless, I feel anointed and smile as I skip the antiperspirant knowing she enjoys my fresh body odor. I arrange the massage room in the same mindful way I cleansed myself. I arrange a pillow and blanket on the massage table to welcome her. Then, I choose a massage oil scent that seems right for the moment and place it nearby. I choose a channel of our favorite music and adjust the sound so it’s soothing, not blaring.
After I have ritually prepared the room, I leave. Vicki and I find each other and then enter the room together. One by one, we jointly light the candles. We sit on the massage table and breathe slowly while gazing into each other’s eyes. Sometimes it’s for just a few breaths, other times for much longer if one of us needs more time to settle in.
Then, we are ready to begin talking about our intentions for the massage. We let the other know how we’re feeling in general, and then what we each want from the massage. We share our concerns and anxieties, if any, about what is to come. We’ll take as much time as we need to clear anything that might distract us from enjoying the massage. We are here in the room for each other, and that warms my spirit.
The ritual summons us outside our mundane lives to a special place where our union is primary. We do it just for us, to strengthen our connection and ensure that we have a deeply connected experience.
The ritual is the physical manifestation of our agreement to come together as one. . .to breathe and laugh through the awkward moments. . .to ride the sexual energies and currents flowing through us. We breathe deeply and begin to touch, and the sweetness of Vicki being there with me, for me and for herself, rises and transforms the room and the universe.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!