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I orgasm during massage: am I alone in that?

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ali asks:

I have looked extensively across the internet and can't find an answer to my bizarre situation. Almost every time I have a massage I orgasm. It seems to happen the most when they work on the lower part of my back. It is often unpredictable, occurring when I least expect it and am not even aroused. It doesn't matter when my masseusse is male or female either, it just happens.

They aren't necessarily intense orgasms, rather mini ones, but I've sometimes had up to 4 or 5 during a massage.
It has never happened with a friend or partner massaging me either, nothing even close. What is so peculiar about it is that I do not achieve orgasm easily when it comes to oral sex or masturbation. It is achievable, but I have never in my life orgasmed during intercourse and have often had even the most dedicated partners wanna give up trying. I myself put this down to medications, anatomical design and most likely having a few sex issues so am mentally unable to let go.
Can you tell me if i am alone in this? It bothers me in that I almost feel guilty getting a massage as if I was paying for sex, but I really enjoy my massages, orgasm excluded. Thanks for any advice you may be able to offer.

Heather Corinna replies:

You're not alone in this, and it's okay.

Remember that orgasm is primarily an event that occurs in, and is about, the nervous system. Yes, most people have most of their orgasms due to stimulation that is about or includes genital stimulus. But not all people, and again, for most, it's not JUST about that stimulation, but about whole body and whole mind stuff.

Reaching orgasm due to massage really isn't bizarre. Think about it: all the right factors are in place. You're relaxed, you feel safe, you're being attended to, and with what you're experiencing, you're having orgasms when parts of your spine and lower back muscles are getting stimulus, parts of your body which are massively tied to your nervous system. Too, you're not in a situation where you'll be feeling any performance pressure. Some of what I'm hearing when you talk about sexual partners is you feeling partners become very frustrated with you when you don't reach orgasm, and that scenario is bound to make you feel pressured. Orgasm and sexual response doesn't tend to respond well to performance concerns and pressures.

When it comes to when you are NOT reaching orgasm, a majority of women do not reach orgasm from vaginal intercourse. That's not abnormal: it's more common than not, and isn't surprising since vaginal intercourse by itself doesn't often stimulate our most sensitive parts, and for those which it can stimulate, often doesn't stimulate them as well as other activities can. And if any kind of sex you're having isn't really taking your whole body into account -- not just your genitals -- that would also be something that is likely a barrier to orgasm for you, and which is a barrier for many women. In fact, bodywork and massage are often one suggestion commonly made for anorgasmic women.

We can't make a lot of generalized, unilateral statements about human sexuality, but one of the few we can make is that human sexuality is incredibly individual and incredibly diverse.

I don't see a reason for you to feel guilty for your response to massage. Most bodyworkers fully recognize that sexuality and relaxation are very linked, and also don't expect clients to try and control their own physical responses to bodywork. They're also very comfortable with what happens spontaneously with people's bodies: they have to be. You're not manipulating them into doing sexwork when that isn't what they want to do: your body is responding as it is, beyond your control, to normal, nonsexual massages.

I should probably also mention that it's possible what you're experiencing isn't even orgasm at all, but instead, uterine contractions. Those are also normal with lower back bodywork.

Too? It sounds to me like if you KNOW massage is something that works for you, why not bring that to the table with partners and make massage part of the sex you're having, rather than viewing things as sex OR massage? For all you know, this might be one of the better discoveries you'll make in your sexual life: see it as a positive!

written 06 Dec 2007 . updated 28 Jan 2014

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