9 Benefits of Sexual Massage and How To Give Your Partner a Super-Hot One, According to Sex Experts

Photo: Getty Images/ Maria Korneeva
While any massage can leave you feeling good (even with that weird, intense need to pee after a massage!) sexual massage has many long-lasting benefits unique to just forms of erotic massage. This practice commonly refers to the practice of stimulating erogenous areas of the body with the intent to induce pleasure or orgasm, as sex educator Jillian Amodio, LMSW, explains.

In the context of self-discovery or playing with a partner, sexual massage can be a regular, consensual massage with the intention of turning your partner on, or can focus more specifically on erogenous zones and or genitalia. “Sexual massage can increase intimacy and foster connection between partners and reduce stress.” Amodio explains.

Experts In This Article

And while you might see sensual massage, and tantric massage used interchangeably, there can also be some distinctions between the two. The difference can be a “personal distinction between the two,” Amodio explains, adding that these nuances are “why it is important for the person giving the massage and the person receiving the massage to understand exactly what the goal and intent of the interaction is meant to be.”

“Sexual massage can increase intimacy and foster connection between partners and reduce stress.” —Jillian Amodio, LMSW, sex educator

But, sexual massage doesn’t always need to be for the sake of having an orgasm. In fact, female sexuality specialist Sara Silverstein, an intimacy coach who is trained in yoni massage, says that her massage sessions are non-sexualized experiences, where the aim is “to guide women and vulva-havers into a deeper understanding and connection with their yoni.”

Because these categories can be a bit confusing, we spoke with some experts to help break down the similarities, differences, and defining features of yoni, lingam, and sexual massage.

Different types of sexual massage

Sensual massage

Amodio explains that sensual massage “is all about pleasure through touch and might be intended to promote sexual intimacy.” Sensual massage can also often involve other senses, like smell (via essential oils), hot stones, and temperature play involving warm oils, she adds.

Tantric Massage

For tantric massage, Amodio says that this practice focuses more on “the energy of the exchange and may also involve promoting or encouraging sexual pleasure.” So, while sensual is more about the physical sensations through massage, tantric can be thought of as more abstract.

What is a yoni massage?

Yoni massage focuses on the vulva and vagina (including the clitoris), says Amodio. The term “yoni” is “simply the Sanskrit word that can be translated as vagina, womb, or source,” explains Silverstein. The term is “commonly used in Hinduism and Tantra to refer to feminine genitalia in the deepest of reverence,” Silverstein adds.

This practice (which Silverstein also refers to as “yoni mapping,”) can be an effective way of healing sexual trauma, but must only be done with a true understanding of consent and the recipient of the massage must always remain in complete control, Amodio says. Silverstein agrees, emphasizing that for her personally, she believes that “yoni mapping sessions should only be practiced if you have been trained and ideally from vulva haver to vulva haver” the same way lingam massage should be practiced by trained professionals and ideally from penis haver to penis haver. For this kind of intimate massage or intimate bodywork where you’re not interacting with yourself or with a trusted partner, it really is probably better left to the professionals.

What is lingam massage?

Similarly, lingam (sometimes spelled “lingham”) massage refers to massage for assigned male sex organs such as the penis, testicles, prostate, and perineum Amodio adds. “The main goal should not only be orgasm, but also love, attention, acceptance, long-term pleasure, feeling safe, nurtured, cherished, and cared for.” The same way “yoni” is used to describe female genitalia with reverence, the same consideration is to be paid to male genitalia in a lingam massage.

How to give your partner a sexual massage:

If you’re looking to give your partner a sexual massage but don’t know where to start, try these tips from Amodio.

1. Ask your partner what they like and what feels good for them

Learn about your partner’s preferences by asking if they prefer feelings like firm or soft touch, tickling sensations, warm stones, oil, safe use of candle or massage wax, fingernails down the back, etc, Amodio suggests. As we all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to massage and sex, it can be really important to know what style of massage you’re going to give your partner beforehand for true relaxation and pleasure.

2. Pre-plan some ambiance

“Intimacy involves all of our senses,” Amodio says, and suggests taking the time to “create a multi-sensory experience,” with things like lighting, music, candles, diffusers, and more. If you want to make things extra special, she also suggests planning a romantic dinner beforehand or setting out a tray of dessert for afterwards. After all, there are few things hotter than consideration and seeing your partner take the time to focus on your experience.

3. Don’t overthink it

While it can definitely be easy to overthink things, Amodio suggests “get[ting] out of your head and into the moment. Read each other’s body language and lose yourself in the joy and sensual activity of connecting through consensual touch.”

9 ways sexual massage can make sex with your partner better

1. It’s a good way to connect with your partner before engaging in sexual activity

Incorporating sexual massage into your repertoire can be a great way to slow down and connect on a deeper level with your partner before engaging foreplay or sex. “The time between two partners is so sacred,” explains Silverstein, adding that “When we take a moment to slow down from our hectic lives to truly connect to one another, your nervous system can settle and your mind can clear so you can be fully present in your intimate moments.”

2. Sexual massage allows you to utilize your senses more

Another benefit of sexual massage is how utilizing your senses in the process can allow your busy brain to quiet and calm down, Silverstein adds. “Most of us don’t utilize our senses on a day-to-day basis, which is such a missed opportunity since pleasure is around us all the time,” she adds. Tap into your sense of touch, smell, and sight to increase your and your partner’s pleasure and lead to a heightened sense of pleasure for both of you.

3. You'll form a deeper understanding of arousal

“With our skin being our largest sex organ, sexual massage can deepen a person’s experience of pleasure, as well as ignite sexual connection for a couple,” says sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr. “When done for the pleasure of massage (and not to only get a partner to climax), it can lead the receiver and the giver to higher levels of connection, passion, and arousal.”

4. It can help get you out of your head

The pressure to perform may distract some people during sex, making it harder for them to climax or have a pleasurable experience. “Because sexual massage is typically done one person at a time (one person gives and the other receives), it creates a conscious connection between the giver and the receiver,” says Fehr. If you’d like, you can also experiment with sexual massage with the lights on or off. Having the lights on makes receiving sexual massage extra vulnerable, which can be exciting as well, Fehr adds. And for those who prefer lights off: relying on your other senses can be extra stimulating for both partners as well.

5. Sexual massage can improve communication

Sexual massage can also allow partners to vocalize their needs and give adjustments without worrying about hurting their partner's feelings. Since a solid sexual massage session can take 45 minutes to an hour, this time period “ allows for profound relaxation and a sense of safety,” Fehr explains. Like any massage, sexual massage allows the receiver to give feedback on what they like and don’t like: is the pressure okay, are these movements too fast, etc.

6. Sexual massage can lead to feelings of euphoria

Done correctly, sexual massage can also boost oxytocin, the powerful bonding chemical released during orgasm, Fehr adds. When combined with the 45 minute-to-hour-long massage process, the slow and prolonged practice of sexual massage can also “create a natural state of altered consciousness, including feelings of euphoria, openness, and general pleasure, without resorting to the use of drugs or alcohol.” Fehr adds.

7. Sexual massage can intensify your bond with your partner

The intimacy created through sexual massage with your partner increases your connection. “It allows you to spend time together in close proximity, exploring and appreciating each other's bodies," explains sex and relationship Tatyana Dyachenko. Dyachenko adds that there’s also the element of vulnerability with sexual massage, as more often than not, you’ll be completely naked while receiving it, and of course, being naked and vulnerable requires a lot of trust and comfort with your partner.

8. Massage (in general) is good for your body, mind, and soul

Not only does massage feel pretty darn good, but it’s also good for you. “A massage of any type is good for your general wellbeing,” Dyachenko says. “The lymphatic systems within our bodies often get blocked due to diet, fast-paced lifestyles, stress, and anxiety,” she adds. Massages (even the non-erotic kind) can “help to release any blockages and reduce tension,” she notes. A massage can help improve circulation, relieve any pain you might have, and also releases feel-good hormones (like serotonin) into our body, says Dyachenko.

9. Erotic bodywork can jump-start your libido

“If you’ve not been feeling horny of late, a sexual massage can really get you in the mood," Dyachenko says. "You can start with a normal massage to help you relax and then take it from there." Inviting your partner to give you a sexual massage or offering to give your partner one can not only deepen your connection emotionally and physically with one another, but also gives you a chance to appreciate each other’s bodies in an enthusiastic and sexy way.

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