Male Massage Therapists
Regardless of how far we think our society has come in overcoming sexual discrimination, massage therapy professionals know otherwise. Not only are men a clear minority in this business, they also may have a harder time booking legitimate bodywork appointments. This inequity between the sexes may discourage some males from pursuing a livelihood in massage therapy. However, those with drive can take several steps to prevail over the public’s gender bias and enjoy a successful, rewarding career.
The Blazing Disproportion
According to The American Association of Massage Therapy, over 80 percent of massage therapists are female. Even though this statistic may create the illusion that male massage therapists are in higher demand, many people prefer receiving treatment from female bodyworkers. Whether a therapist is hoping to find employment or attract new clientele, these facts point to discrimination against male bodyworkers.
Undeniably, day spas, destination spas and resort spas typically experience a majority of their clients preferring female practitioners. Upon booking an appointment within the burgeoning spa industry, potential clients are usually asked if they would prefer a male or female massage therapist. Although some may argue that this practice initiates potential discrimination, choosing gender can optimize client comfort – and thus encourage repeat business. The good news is that the more consumers are educated about massage therapy, the more they support gender neutrality. Experts believe this trend is due to the abundance of press educating the public about bodywork’s value as a therapeutic modality.
Preference for Females
While frequent spa-goers recognize that the importance of a practitioner’s skill supersedes a practitioner’s gender, those newer to receiving bodywork tend to prefer female therapists for many reasons. Although not based in logic or fact, the following causes of gender preference are rooted in the psychological web of our popular culture:
- Feeling Safe – People typically feel vulnerable after they disrobe and may believe that a female will be less threatening.
- Judgment – As the most likely sex to seek massage therapy, a woman’s insecurity about her body may harbor fears that a male therapist might judge her physical appearance.
- Sexuality – A result of sex industry ventures masquerading as massage services, many people worry that a massage may be sexualized. This misconception represents a constant battle for massage therapy professionals.
- Homophobia – For men who are uncomfortable with intimacy within their own gender, men may avoid being massaged by men because of their own homophobia. Combined with this fear, the possibility of getting a spontaneous erection during a session with a man may fuel their preference for a female therapist.
- Nurturing – Likely due to their traditional roles in child-rearing, many people assume women to be superior nurturers to men. Individuals who are dealing with emotional issues such as violation, depression or loneliness, are prone to choosing a practitioner most likely to nurture them.