How to Give a Sensual Massage That Makes Your Partner Feel Great

If you’re seeking new ways to feel close to your partner, you might be wondering how to give them a good sensual massage to help you connect. (And a downright sexy massage offers even more opportunities for intimacy.) Horny touching, including massage, causes our brains to release oxytocin, a.k.a. the “love hormone”, so an erotic massage is the perfect recipe for bonding, relaxation, and arousal—possibly even a better sex life.

Read on as experts share how to give a sexy back massage to turn on both you and your partner—and maybe set the mood for more.

Talk to your partner about what their dream massage would look like.

There’s no one way to give an erotic massage, so before you pump up the Marvin Gaye and break out the “good” massage oil, ask your partner what they’d like to get out of this experience—and share your own desires too.

“The ‘why’ of the massage should dictate the ‘how,’” Barbara Carrellas, an AASECT-certified sex educator who teaches erotic massage, tells SELF. So: Are you and your partner seeking connection, or maybe novelty? Are you wanting to take some pressure off of your sexual performance? Are you having trouble getting out of your own head and looking for new forms of foreplay? Do you just think their back is hot and want to love up on it a little? Find out!

Once you’re clear on the “why” behind your sexy massage, decide together how you’d like it to feel. “Erotic massages can be therapeutic, relaxing, stimulating, healing, sensual, sexual, kinky, or whatever other intention you set,” Carrellas says.

Check in about where and how your partner wants to be touched and if there are any no-go zones, AASECT-certified sex therapist Amanda Pasciucco, LMFT, CST, tells SELF.

You should definitely ask whether your partner wants the massage to include overtly sexual contact. “Each person likes to be touched in a different way,” Pasciucco explains. “Some people love the adrenaline of just going toward the genitals, while many others enjoy long, slow strokes to build up anticipation.”

Make your surroundings feel sexier.

Use dim lighting, a playlist featuring gentle music, and candles to create an ambiance that helps your partner feel relaxed, Pasciucco says. (Just make sure the candles are securely placed far from the massage zone—catching your hair on fire would kill the mood.)

One of the best—but often overlooked—massage tips isn’t about what you set up, but what you get the hell out of sight at home. Pasciucco suggests removing any potential distractions from the room, like pets, phones, piles of laundry, and family photos (you probably won’t want your relatives staring you down while you zealously knead your partner’s butt cheeks).

If this kind of traditional massage setup feels slightly corny to you, Pasciucco suggests leaning into the cringe. “Making your bedroom look like a temple of love might not be your norm, but do it anyway,” she says. Trust that once you’re squeezing your partner’s thighs, you’ll probably both be too turned-on to feel embarrassed—and until you get there, it’s okay to laugh a little too.

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