Note: You will find video demonstrations further down the page.
There are lots of reasons you might want to give your guy a massage. For example, he may be enduring a great deal of stress at work, and coming home to a relaxing massage can help to lift his mood and release built up tension. Further, offering the gift of touch is an intimate way of demonstrating how much you care about him.
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If you’ve been hoping he’ll give you a massage, one of the best ways to encourage it, is to first give him a massage – a move that helps put him in a different state of mind while offering him an informal demonstration of what to do when it’s his turn to become the masseuse.
While the art of sensual massage provides the perfect lead into foreplay (you’ll learn everything you need to know about foreplay here) and potentially a long evening of intimacy, the massage doesn’t always have to lead to physical intimacy. It provides the opportunity to be physically close to one another, and it allows the two of you to snuggle, to have “pillow talk” which is extremely important for maintaining clear, open and honest communication.
The truth is, many who are interested in giving him a massage simply don’t. Not because they don’t want to, but because they’re afraid of doing something wrong or of the experience not being pleasing to him. There really is no need to place that kind of pressure on yourself — almost everyone enjoys (and receives substantial benefits) from the power of touch. Plus, massage technique improves tremendously the more often you do it.
If you want to learn how to give him a massage, you’ll find some practical techniques in this guide which will give you a great starting point. However, you don’t have to attempt to master every technique right away. Simply begin by learning just one or two of the techniques.
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Some women find it helpful to think back to the last time you visited a spa and had a massage you thoroughly enjoyed. Recall the experience in your mind, thinking of the techniques, mood and amount of pressure that made it a pleasurable experience. Then start attempting to recreate that experience with your partner. He will appreciate the effort, enjoy the experience…and to be fair, he’ll probably ask for another very soon!
Benefits of Massage
Many of the benefits of massage are well known. For example, you know that getting a massage can work out the kinks in your neck and ameliorate muscle pain, especially back pain [1, 2]. But did you know massage has proven effective at reducing symptoms of arthritis, anxiety, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, and more [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ]? Circulation can also improve with massage [11, 12].
Of course, getting a massage can relax you. Massage can boost your mood and immune system, too. Massage can also increase energy levels . Even if you’re single and head to a massage therapist, you can reap these benefits.
Massage is a fun component of foreplay, but even if it’s a non-sexual massage without sexual connotations, massage can make you feel more connected to your partner, perhaps because people can express emotions through touch .
Risks of Massage
There are plenty of benefits to giving a massage, but there are a few risks if you don’t know how to give a massage properly [17, 18]. Temporary pain can occur if you pinch any body part, and massaging too deep can leave lingering soreness. Try not to manipulate any limbs unnaturally or forcefully and be careful with existing injuries.
However, massage is unlikely to cause a stroke .
Getting a massage releases waste products from muscles into the body and in extreme (but unlikely) events, it can create a poisoning known as rhabdomyolysis , which is one of the causes of post-massage soreness and illness .
As we mentioned, it’s important to dilute carrier oils to avoid skin irritation, and you’ll want to make sure any hot stones aren’t hot enough to create burns and blisters. Finally, massage candles can add ambiance, but make sure to test the heat of the wax before use. These candles use wax that melts at a low temperature, but it can still be quite warm. Pour from higher up to allow the wax to cool as it falls.
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Fortunately, injury from massage is typically rare .
Setting The Mood
Think, just for a moment, about the last time you enjoyed a professional massage. The atmosphere was free of clutter, and there was probably a light but refreshing scent in the room which you noticed the moment you arrived, right?
Chances are, you could probably hear relaxing “spa” music playing softly in the background, even if you were simply checking in for your appointment with the receptionist. The lighting in most spas is not exceptionally bright, even in the reception area; however, the room where the massage is to be performed often features dim lighting, pleasant scents, and a conducive atmosphere.
In other words, you begin settling into a state of relaxation before even encountering the massage therapist for the first time.
Even though you’re giving him a massage at home, you still want to take a little time (if you have it) to create a zen-like atmosphere in the room where you’ll perform the massage.
The pre-massage set up doesn’t have to take a long time (it usually requires just minutes), nor does it need to be expensive. The prep time should, however, reflect the meticulous concern a spa owner would take to create the appropriate atmosphere.
If you need some additional time to get the room ready, it’s not a bad idea to run him a nice, warm bath, which helps his muscles to relax and assists him in getting ready for this relaxing experience.
There are a number of channels on YouTube offering relaxing, instrumental music perfect for creating a spa-like atmosphere. These videos can range in length from about one hour to eight hours.
Some sites offer a wide variety of CDs, DVDs and digital downloads of relaxation music (including nature sounds and ambient noise) which are specifically geared toward creating the perfect, relaxing atmosphere. Of course, there are literally thousands of choices available through popular websites like Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. (Popular choices among massage therapists include Carlos Nakai, Celtic Harp Music (Instrumental), and Enya, among others.)
There’s no shortage of relaxing music available through internet radio sites. You’ll find some great songs that you can listen to for free on this playlist on Pandora.
Having dim lighting in the room is perfect for creating a warm, cozy and ethereal atmosphere. Setting several tealight candles around the room will provide just enough light in the room. Aromatherapy candles are also a great way to set the mood in the room, as the sense of smell is actually the most powerful of all our senses. We’ll delve more into aromatherapy in the next section.
Looking for more ideas to set the scene? Check out our guide to tantric massage.
Room Fragrances / Aromatherapy
Researchers have discovered that the section of our brains which controls the emotions — the deep limbic center — is directly connected to the olfactory system. Therefore, various scents have a powerful effect upon a person’s mood, and certain scents easily evoke memories based on what has been associated with that scent over time.
Using this knowledge as a foundation, then, the theory behind aromatherapy is that essential oils have a pharmacological effect (although no scientific proof of this has been discovered, preliminary clinical tests have yielded positive results).
Essential oils can be placed in a fragrance diffuser; once a bit of heat is applied (usually by a tealight candle), the oils evaporate into the air, giving off a pleasant and therapeutic fragrance. Essential oils can also be applied directly to the skin by adding a few drops to warm bath water or via massage. (It’s best, though, to ask him if he has any sensitivities to any particular essential oils first).
If you’re trying to decide which aromatherapy oils are best for relaxation (or sensual massage), the following is a short list of seven essential oils and their reported effects.
Although lavender has been used for centuries to soothe minor cuts and burns, it has become exceptionally popular in recent years because of its ability to promote feelings of relaxation, to alleviate insomnia, and to relieve headache symptoms .
Chamomile is a highly effective calming agent. It is widely used to promote a good night’s sleep among those suffering from insomnia and has a calming-sedative effect . Plus, it can help quell anxiety .
Lemon oil is said to elevate a person’s mood and is said to be highly effective for alleviating both stress and feelings of depression.
Arguably the most popular (and most beloved) among essential oils, the essential oil of vanilla is good for more than improving the taste of food. The essential oil of vanilla is said to have a calming, comforting and relaxing effect.
The seductive, floral and fruity scent derived from the essential oil of jasmine has been lauded by perfumers since ancient times. Jasmine is said to serve as an antidepressant, calming the emotions. However, the essential oil of jasmine is also said to have aphrodisiac qualities.
Sandalwood offers a rather distinctive fragrance; in fact, the portion of the tree from which the sandalwood essential oil is derived takes anywhere from five to eight decades to mature. Sandalwood is said to induce a calm, meditative state, to ease away anxiety and anger, and to promote better sleep. Because its fragrance is akin to human pheromone, sandalwood is also considered an aphrodisiac.
Also a popular scent in fragrances, bergamot is said to uplift a person’s mood and to alleviate feelings of anxiety.
Warning about essential oils: Although essential oils have plenty of benefits, they can be quite potent and irritate the skin. Because of this, you only want to use a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive oil. Never use more than 1 drop of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil  or about 10 drops per ounce of carrier oil for adults .
Remember, your man’s shirt will be removed during the massage, so the temperature in the room needs to be comfortable for him. A warm sheet (freshly removed from the dryer) and/or a flannel sheet can often help keep him comfortable during the massage.
To be extremely clear, the gift of massage is one of the most powerful gifts you can give to your significant other. It’s intimate, it’s pleasurable, and it demonstrates selfless giving. If you aren’t confident, yet, about how to give a massage, don’t put any undue pressure on yourself. It will get better over time.
With that, let’s get started learning some simple, yet effective techniques for giving him a massage.
NOTE: With each of these, your partner will lay — face down — as you work the muscles of his upper and lower back.
Although not many of us make our own biscuits or other bread from scratch anymore, if you have ever had the experience of kneading the dough, this technique will be quite familiar. It’s commonly used in Swedish massage .
In kneading, you’ll use both palms (and wrists) to massage the muscles deeply, using small semi-circles to manipulate the muscles. Using the palm, you’ll apply pressure to the muscles, turning the right hand clockwise and the left hand counterclockwise.
Generally, you’ll alternate from one hand to the other, rhythmically, keeping the wrists relatively straight. (Bending the wrists too far or too much can cause undue stress to your muscles which can lead to pain in the wrist later on).
With stripping, you’ll lay one hand flat against his back, with each of your fingers pressed closely, one to another. Afterward, you’ll place your other hand directly on top, then use the hand on top to apply pressure to the muscles. With stripping, the bottom hand should remain as relaxed as possible.
The goal of stripping is to allow for greater pressure to be applied to the muscle itself which will help his back muscles to relax faster and more completely.
With the fanning technique, you’ll start with both hands laying flat, fingers together, moving slowly and steadily across a muscle. The other hand, also flat with fingers together, goes immediately after the other hand, moving a little farther up or down the back.
With alternating hands, you’ll move slowly across his back, starting either at the shoulders or at the lower back and moving to the opposite end. If you find you need to apply additional pressure, consider folding your fingers inside at the knuckles (but with the fingers still pressed firmly together). You’ll find that by “knuckling” the fingers, applying additional pressure is easy. However, you’ll still want to gauge the amount of pressure he is comfortable with and adjust appropriately.
4. Deep Tissue Techniques
With deep tissue massage comes less “rhythm,” per se, than other massages. The reason for this is deep tissue massage targets certain trouble spots — areas that hold a great deal of tension and places where stiffness and chronic pain tend to settle.
The shoulders and shoulder blades tend to be an area where many people hold onto the greatest amount of tension. If your guy is a computer whiz and hovers over a computer keyboard all day, or if he tends to handle oversized packages all day, his shoulders may be really tense, tight and out of alignment.
To address the shoulders, start by pouring a bit of massage oil onto your palms, then rub your palms together. By rubbing your hands together, the friction begins to heat the oil, making it more pleasant for him as well as making it easier for you to utilize.
Start by spreading the massage oil across the upper shoulder area (across the trapezius muscles), rubbing your palms gently across the shoulders. You’ll begin to notice that you become attuned to his body, understanding where the tension has settled. You may find that you need to apply a greater amount of pressure; if so, simply place one palm down, then place your other hand on top, positioning your body so that more of your body weight is applied to the area (see the section on stripping).
If you discover muscles that seem to be “in a knot,” don’t move away from those areas. Knots can form from stress . It is often highly effective to simply apply pressure to that area only until you begin to feel the knot breaking apart or moving. If the knotted muscles feel relatively small, you can apply pressure, using your thumbs, until the muscles begin to become more pliable.
Another trick for particularly tight shoulder muscles — use a tennis ball, rolling it gently but firmly across the shoulders.
5. Using Hot Stones
With hot stone massage, the use of a hot stone allows heat to be transmitted deeply into the muscle tissue. Combined with other massage techniques, this type of massage is quite soothing and relaxing, and allows you to provide him with a deep, relaxing massage without having to apply a great deal of effort.
Warning: Hot stone massages can leave behind painful burns if you aren’t careful (or if left on the skin too long). Therefore, it’s important to remain in the room the entire time you’re giving him a massage with hot stones, and be sure to respond quickly if he mentions the stones are too warm. (It takes mere seconds to go from uncomfortably hot to visible burns that are painful to the touch). Also, never use a microwave to heat the stones; a crockpot will work well.
As the stones are heating, apply a small amount of massage oil onto the section of his back that you’ll be working. When the stones are cool enough for you to hold onto them comfortably, begin by using light ‘effleurage’ strokes, moving slowly but constantly across the back. Start with a stone in both hands, at his shoulders, then work slowly down his back muscles. (To start, keep your strokes close to either side of the spine). Once you get to the lower back, simply move the hands in opposite directions, creating a sort of oblong circle across his back, bringing the stones back toward the shoulders, finishing at the neck.
With hot stones, you never want to stop at any one particular spot or muscle group, as the heat serves to penetrate the muscles. Continue moving the stones across the length of the back, lower back and shoulders until the stones become cool to the touch.
If you’re interested in a trying a different form of massage, you might try cupping. Cupping comes from ancient China  and is sometimes offered by massage practitioners and practiced by some kinksters. It may help relieve pain [31, 32, 33].
The two most common types of cupping are vacuum pump and fire . Both involve placing a small cup on the skin, usually on the back but sometimes on other parts of the body, and creating suction that creates pressure .
Cups that attach to pumps allow you to manually vacuum air from the cups to create suction and pressure. Fire cupping involves quickly lighting an alcohol-soaked cotton ball on fire and dipping it into a glass or ceramic cup and placing the cup on the body. The flame eats oxygen to create suction. Hold the cup close to the body so that the flame doesn’t extinguish before you place the cup.
Vacuum cups don’t come with fire risk, and they both provide a similar sensation due to the suction. The skin will feel tight but shouldn’t hurt. You can break the seal when you’re done providing this massage, and a bruise-like mark may remain for a while.
Although we cannot stress enough how important non-sexual touch is, whether you get it from a massage therapist or provide it to your man, sometimes an erotic massage is just what the doctor ordered. This is the Bad Girls Bible, after all!
For the sensual massage (leading to foreplay), you’ll probably want to remain as close to him as possible during the entire massage. You may also want to consider a full body massage.
For a few tips on how to give him a massage that leads to something sexual, consider sitting on his buttocks as you massage away the stress from his shoulders and lower back. This just increases your physical contact, leading to greater feelings of intimacy.
The inner thigh area is highly erogenous; thus, after massaging his back muscles, you may ask him to turn over, and while he’s laying on his back, massage the inner thigh. (Be delicate, this area is highly sensitive!)
The area which runs from his belly button to his genitalia is highly erogenous (check out more male erogenous zones); therefore, you will want to gently massage this region for a few minutes. The tip of his penis (known as the glans area) is highly sensitive and responds well to touch; so, too, is the small ridge where the glans meets his shaft. If you want to move quickly into the erogenous zone, you’ll want to gently massage these areas (you won’t need to apply much pressure). For some great handjob tips, check out this detailed guide.
An erotic massage for a man is often called a happy ending massage and can be enjoyable for both parties. Get tips for a giving a happy ending massage in this post.
A similar type of massage that focuses on erotic power and energy is called a lingam massage.
From here, the two of you will hopefully move quickly into passionate foreplay. More on that here.
The benefits of massage might have you wanting to receive one as well as give one. There’s nothing wrong if you seek out a professional for a massage if you do not have a partner who can or is willing to massage you. But you can also use the techniques above to massage yourself and reap some of the benefits.
You can massage your free arm, thighs, legs, neck and stomach without much hassle. Here are a few tips for self-massage:
- Roll a tennis ball under your feet to relive sore arches
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat and place two tennis balls under your lower back to relieve pain
- Place a tennis ball between your back and the wall to relieve back and shoulder pain
- Purchase a trigger point massager to work out kinks in your back or a foam roller for your legs, shoulders, and hips
- Give your calves some extra attention after wearing heels
- Use cold and heat to enhance the massage experience (either ice packs, heating pads or specialty oil)
- Massage your skin whenever you apply oil
- Use your fingers, fists and even elbows to massage yourself
The key to self-massage is not to strain yourself trying to reach areas such as your back. Using tools, even those as simple as a tennis ball is a clever way to relax and relieve pain safely.
Learning how to give a massage isn’t difficult; it simply takes practice. However, there’s little as effective as the power of touch. Regardless of your motivation, your man is sure to enjoy and fully appreciate your efforts.
In this video below, you will learn the 5 most effective massage techniques you can use on your partner (the masseuse in the video may not seem like your stereotypical masseuse, but he knows his stuff, trust me!)
You will also learn some great techniques for massaging the neck and shoulders here:
This video by Buzzfeed about fire cupping explains the ancient Chinese process.
This article by John Cloud for Time gives insight into real-time physiological changes that occur after someone gets a massage.
Michelle Trudeau explains what happens to your body and brain when you experience touch in this podcast on NPR.
What The Science Says
You might be surprised to learn that scientists have looked into the effects of massage on both giver and receiver, but more than a few studies have revealed some interesting facts!
When you touch someone, your hands activate pressure receptors known as Pacinian corpuscles beneath the skin . These receptors then send signals to the brain via the vagus nerve , an important bundle of nerves involved in everything from your immune system to heart rate to your digestive system to oxytocin your networks .
No wonder that massage has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin  and boost mood; although, not all studies find this result. You might remember oxytocin as the “cuddle hormone,” which increases with physical touch such as holding hands or having sex [40, 41]. Oxytocin is also known for increasing trust between people  and making people feel close [43, 44].
Oxytocin also causes a surge of physiological activity that slows your heart rate  and drops your blood pressure [46, 47, 48] and makes you feel more relaxed. Holding a partner’s hand can lead to immediate increases in calmness . Imagine how much a longer massage can help.
Experiments have also found that massage reduces the production of cortisol [50, 51, 52, 53], a hormone that your adrenal glands make when stressed. Cortisol is known for decreasing immune function by blocking T-cells . Stress can be an impediment when it comes to sleep and even digestion, so these benefits affect a person long after a massage has ended .
Your body’s relaxation response can also increase serotonin [56, 57], a hormone that can positively impact your mood. In fact, some depression medication targets your brain’s ability to create serotonin directly .
It might seem counter-intuitive, but fifteen minutes of massage can increase adrenaline, which helps you feel more alert .
Studies have found that the orbital frontal cortex responds to touch (as well as taste and smell) [39, 60, 61]. Imagine how you respond to chocolate; your brain feels similarly about human touch. That’s powerful!
Other areas of the brain that respond to massage are the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sACC) and retrosplenial/posterior cingulate cortex .
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #1 – Why should I give my partner a massage?
Massages have been shown to relax both the giver and the receiver, and stress wreaks havoc on sexual desire. For this reason, massages work well as foreplay. Even if your massage doesn’t segue into sex, it can help relieve pain , and you might get one in return!
Furthermore, nonsexual physical touch is important in a relationship, and giving and receiving massages can help to foster intimacy between you and your partner.
FAQ #2 – How do I know that I’m doing it well?
When it comes to massages, just like sex, everyone is different. While you can follow our guidelines to give a massage, the best way to know if your partner likes it is to ask him. As you’re massaging him, you can say something like “How does this feel?” or “Is this pressure good?” Pay attention to his body language, too. If he suddenly stiffens, he probably doesn’t like what you’re doing.
You can also let him know that you’re open to feedback in the form of constructive criticism because then you can improve. Create a space where he feels free to comment; otherwise, he might just be enduring a massage that doesn’t work for him.
Get more tips like this in our guide to sexual communication, which can also work for giving a massage.
Finally, consider turning it into a game. For example, you can try each technique for 60 seconds and on different parts of his body, then solicit his feedback. What does he like the most? Do more of that!
FAQ #3 – How long should a massage last?
If you’re looking for an answer in minutes or even hours, you won’t find that here. Instead, consider the actual factors at play. If bad joints make it difficult for you to give a long massage, then you’ll spend less time massaging your partner. And if it turns into sex or your sensual strokes give your partner an orgasm, your massage will be over.
Some people set a timer that allows both partners time to be in the limelight and to lavish attention on the other. Keep an eye on the clock, but don’t just stop when the alarm goes off. This can be quite jarring and unpleasant!
You can wind down a massage if it doesn’t come to a natural (happy) ending. Slow your pace and decrease the intensity of your movements. A few soft strokes along his back, sides, and arms let him know that the end is near. Then, you can rest your hands on his skin for a few moments before removing your hands from him and proceeding to other activities.
FAQ #4 – Is oil really necessary when giving a massage?
While it might not be necessary, we strongly recommending using some sort of oil when giving a massage. Oil allows you to manipulate his skin without any uncomfortable tugging or snagging. You can glide your hands along his body easily, which reduces stress on your own hands. Warming oil can improve the experience for him, and the right scent can not only be pleasant but conducive to relaxation.
Psst, did you know you can use silicone-based lube as a massage glide? Find out more about lube here.
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