Freqently Asked Questions
Is there a best time for a massage?
The earlier the better! Some places don’t open until 10 am or noon but if you can get in early, you’ll have masseuses that are fresh, well-rested (hopefully), and eager to serve! Early is also a nice way to start the day. Late at night is probably the worst time. The girls are often tired and cranky and eager to go home. Late night is not always the safest time to be wandering around, either!
What kind of training do these masseuses get?
Unless you go to a really high end spa or some chiropractic clinic where you might get an actual Registered Massage Therapist or the equivalent, you’re probably going to get a woman who’s been trained on the job by other women who were trained in the same way. There may be the odd one that’s been trained professionally in a massage school like Bangkok’s Wat Po massage but most often, it’s on-the-job training by their ‘sisters.’ The abilities vary tremendously. If you find one you like, stick with her. That doesn’t mean they’re bad. Even these ‘amateurs’ can give a great massage.
Are there any underaged masseuses?
I haven’t seen any underage girls in massage shops in any of the usual tourist areas. I believe 18 is generally the minimum age for working in a massage shop. Most girls are in their 20s and 30s. Occasionally, might see somewhat younger girls working on foot massages (such as on the open street foot massage places in the Pub Street area of Siem Reap). I got the impression that these same girls were not allowed to do in-house full body massages until they were 18 or older.
Are massage girls available for dating or marriage?
Often, these girls were married and/or have a child but the husband left for some reason (many Asian men, according to my masseuses are ‘butterflies’ and like to ‘sample’ other ‘flowers’). Suddenly, they are left high and dry without support, many without working skills, and one of the quickest ways to get work, is to become a masseuse. It takes a minimal amount of training and no education is necessary. It involves a move to the big city or wherever there’s enough business to keep a massage shop going, and it provides a cheap place to stay usually, as well as some money. Many massage girls live in the same shop that they work in. A formerly married woman with a child or two, or a single unwed mother has few prospects for a new relationship with a local man. So, if she manages to start a relationship with a rich westerner ,it will be like hitting the jackpot for her.
Yes, they are often available in the sense that they are unattached. The problem often, is that they usually have to work long hours (12 or more hours a day) and get maybe 2-4 days off a month. I’ve offered to take a few girls out to dinner, just to give them something decent to eat and have a chance to chat, as well as do some massage research. Most of the time, they don’t have the time as they have to keep working (in which case, I often bring some food, like a pizza, right to the shop). Food is such a great gift, especially luxury items like pizza or a chocolate bar, items they couldn’t afford to buy on their own.
If you do fall in love with one of them and want to take them on a trip for a few days, you might be able to talk to the boss, explain the situation, and offer some money to replace the lost earnings for the period she’ll be gone. You might also consider offering the woman an equivalent amount of lost wages.
Many younger masseuses will be fresh from the country and won’t have any kids yet. They often don’t have boyfriends as well, possibly because they’re too busy working all the time. Some have said that local guys won’t date them because they’re working in a massage shop. There can be some really good women in these situations that might end up being wonderful wives or girlfriends.
Can you flirt with your masseuse or give compliments?
Play it by ear. Pay little compliments at first, like your hands are so soft and feel so good. Your eyes are pretty. Many darker-skinned Asian girls are insecure about their looks, because they think their dark skin and their Asian eyes are considered ugly. I continually try to reassure them that their eyes are beautiful and so is their skin. I say that many western women are always suntanning to get darker.
Like any woman, compliments are usually welcome. If you like a girl and are going to make repeat visits, perhaps some small gifts will be appreciated. Some cheap jewelry or tasty edible treats, maybe?
Why do these girls like white skin so much?
To me, pure white skin looks sickly and pale. Of course, a few words of mine won’t change their opinion overnight.
They are constantly bombarded with the message: white is beautiful, dark is ugly. There is a huge cosmetics industry selling billions of dollars worth of whitening creams (there are even creams to whiten nipples!). One often sees girls wearing face masks in public to keep the sun off their face. Or they’re walking around with an umbrella.
One person said that the amount of sun exposure one exhibits reflects directly on their social status: if one is dark and sunburnt, it’s assumed that they have a lower class job working as a manual laborer or farmer in the sun. If one is pale, one has an office or inside job, implying that one has probably had more education and a better breeding. They sure don’t get a lot of sunshine working as a masseuse.
Is there any slavery going on in the massage industry? Do masseuses get abused?
Undoubtedly abuse happens in some locations but I don’t believe it’s at all common. I think most women are working as masseuse voluntarily (whether they enjoy their work is another matter as they are often there for economic reasons). I haven’t personally seen any evidence of slavery but I’m sure there are some masseuses working under difficult conditions or some form of indenture, like long-term contracts that can’t be escaped. This is probably a more common situation in the sex industry.
I did read about some slavery situations in Saigon. Do a Google search for ‘brothels disguised as massage parlours’ and you’ll find some horrific stories. You should be able to tell a brothel from a nice, legitimate massage place with relaxed, professionally dressed masseuses.
What kind of things can I talk about with my masseuse?
Some guys like to relax and have some peace and quiet and don’t talk at all. I like to have a bit of chat just to make it a bit more personal. I like to ask her what her name is and where she’s from. I like to make it personal and let them know that I care about them as a person. They’re not just a machine to me.
If it’s going to be a chatty massage, I’ll find out where they’re from, whether they’re married or not, have a boyfriend, have children. Do they enjoy massage work and if not, what would they rather be doing. The depth of these conversations, of course, are dependent on how much of their language you know and how much English they have. They’ll often ask the questions first.
Can I touch my masseuse?
On your first visit, you are strangers and meeting for the first time, so I would say ‘no.’ If you make repeat visits with your favorite masseuse and develop some rapport, it won’t be hard to establish a relationship of sorts, even becoming friends. If you sense it’s the right thing to do, start experimenting.
If your masseuse likes you and is playful, as in, doing some extraneous tickling or whatever, then maybe you could test the waters and do some tickling or light touching in return.
With my regular girls, when my arm is being massaged I like to rest it on her waist or her leg or whatever part of her is within reach. I also do a little bit of reciprocal massage from time to time. For instance, sometimes I’ll take her hand and give her a bit of a hand massage back. Or if she’s massaging some other part of me and her foot is in handy reach, I’ll start giving her a light foot massage. It’s usually appreciated.
Can I give my masseuse a massage?
Occasionally, I’ve wanted to return the favour and give my girl a massage. I’ve paid them for the hour the usual rate and given them a good rubdown. I’m no expert but after a few hundred massages, you get to learn the routine. I wanted to do something nice for her.
Are four hands better than two?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I had my best and my worst 4-handers in Bali. The best was at a professional spa in Ubud where two girls worked in perfect synchronization together working up and down my body. It was almost overwhelmingly good, a sensory overload. These girls obviously had lots of experience together. The worst was in nearby Kuta in a budget massage joint where two young girls each pinched at me half-heartedly while constantly talking to each other and the other girls in the parlour. There was no coordination at all and it was a waste of money.
How much money do they earn?
In Cambodia, many of these girls get as little as $50 a month and might have to work every day with maybe 2 to 4 days off a month. They get a free place to stay with the deal, sleeping on the same mattresses that they use to massage you! The girls get tips on top of their basic salary. Others offer a small commission on each massage they complete. They might make $1 for each $8 massage (plus tips). Tips can make a huge difference in the quality of their life.
In Thailand, the girls make a bit more but the living expenses are higher as well. The most generous place I saw was in Pattaya where the girls were able to keep half of the money received.
Are massage parlours safe places?
In high traffic tourist areas, massage shops are very safe. There are lots of people around and it’s important for these businesses to provide safe and clean environment for the clients and staff. Use common sense and avoid seedy areas late at night. Stick to well lit areas well used by tourists.
Are massage parlours clean?
Cleanliness varied tremendously. I’ve seen cheap places that change the sheets and towels religiously after every massage while other higher end places just have their girls straighten out the soiled sheets and towels, not even trying to hide the fact. I’ve seen oil and sweat soaked towels (and who knows what else!) being put right back on the bed after I was on it so who knows how many times they’ve been used. If you’re not happy with the cleanliness, you can either leave or ask for bedding and towels.
Undoubtedly, unscrupulous and greedy owners want to maximize profits and not have to spend extra on washing towels and sheets. If you spot dirty linens and towels, ask for fresh ones. If they refuse, go somewhere else. Let them know that it’s not acceptable. I suppose if you’re desperate to get a massage from a particular masseuse, and you know the venue is less than spotless, you could bring your own sheet and towel or have them come to your hotel room.
Can I pick up any diseases?
It’s remotely possible that in a dirty place you might pick up bedbugs, crabs, fleas or other vermin. Fortunately, it’s never happened to me.
As far as her hands go, they’re usually washed many times a day so they should be alright. I’ve never caught anything skin-related.
Lots of times, I’ve heard my masseuse sniffling and coughing and I’m sure I’ve picked up the odd common cold from one of them but I can’t prove that. You can pick up a cold anywhere; that’s one of the hazards of living in a world with other human beings.
Are massages a risk to health?
Be careful with girls who walk on your back. If they’re small and light and do it carefully, there shouldn’t be too much risk. But if you sense that it might not end well, ask them not to do it. Say ‘ouch’ or ‘jep’ (in Thailand) or ‘cheuw’ (Cambodia). I’ve gotten skin burns from girls who rubbed too long in one area with too little oil.
Otherwise, the benefits and pleasures of massage far outweigh the risk.
With regards to nudity, how much clothing do I have on during the massage?
Here’s the usual process: you are shown to your massage table or bed which will probably have curtains around it if it’s an oil massage. She’ll leave you alone to prepare. If it’s a Thai massage with no oil, you’ll be given a loose-fitting pair of shorts and a top to put on. Disrobe completely and put these two garments on. The shorts may have an elastic waist band (one size fits all) or may come equipped with a couple of strings. These go in the back and you’ll wrap them around you and tie them together in front. If it’s an oil massage, depending on the country or individual, you will usually be given a towel and asked to undress completely or asked to take everything off but your underwear. Lie facedown on the bed and drape the towel over your buttocks. Some experienced guys will just lay facedown or faceup and not put the towel on, signaling to the masseuse that he is ready for anything and everything.
I was painfully shy at first but after a few massages, the shyness diminished. Now, I still put a towel over me at the beginning of the massage but if she takes it off, it doesn’t bother me. Remember, these girls have seen it all: fat, skinny, short, long, crooked , pimply. As one girl said: ‘after seeing a few hundred naked bodies, I don’t find them that interesting.”
Should I tip my masseuse? How much is appropriate?
Yes, and tip generously. Tips are a really important supplement to their meager income. Click here for a more elaborate discussion.
Relationships with masseuses:
As with any relationship, familiarity breeds comfort (and hopefully not contempt). It’s pretty easy to fall for your masseuse. Here you have someone giving your pleasure, someone who is getting to know your body, what you like and don’t like, just the right amount of pressure to use. Maybe you’ve been chatting about things and getting too know each other. The environment is pretty conducive to falling in love. Just a word of warning, though: if she ‘falls in love’ quickly and easily, be aware that she may have fallen in love with other guys, too, perhaps many of them, if you catch my drift. They are in the business of touching men and giving them pleasure, all day long, a situation that can easily lead to temptations… especially if there’s easy money to be made. And, of course, to some women, a western man is a walking ATM!
What is a happy ending?
A ‘happy ending’ or ‘manual release’ is slang for a masseuse masturbating the client. You may come in for a massage, thinking that’s all you’re there for, when the masseuse starts to tease you ‘down there’ or ‘accidentally’ touch you in an effort to test the waters, to gauge if there’s any interest. She will offer to ‘relax’ you and give you a special feeling of happiness by masturbating you. For you, it might be a very special moment. For the masseuse, it may have been an action she’s performed hundreds or thousands of times and it’s just basically just massaging another piece of the body. If you consent to let her finish, it will cost you extra, of course!
For a small bit of effort on the part of the masseuse, there is an opportunity to make some extra money with little or no risk to her health (unlike full sexual activity).
In almost every country, it’s an illegal sexual act but it’s very rarely enforced. That’s why, in some countries like Vietnam, you are often required to wear underwear or a pair of provided shorts. In practise, that doesn’t really stop anything as her hands can easily slip under underwear, and she can pull them down part way to perform her ‘nasty’ business. But if there’s a police raid, at least the underwear is on, as solid proof that all is above board.
Some massage girls can be very greedy and pushy and will try anything to get you to submit to a happy ending. It means a big increase in tip for them for a minimal amount of work. Look at it from her point of view. She can sweat it out, giving you a strenuous one hour massage for 200 baht and maybe get a tip of between 25 and 100 baht. But if she transitions you to a happy ending part-way through the massage, you might give her a 500 baht tip. And sometimes, she’ll even end the massage when you’ve had your ‘ending.’ This shorter ‘hour’ enables her to fit more customers in for the day. Or you’ll just be satisfied and get up and leave and she’s free to start another massage. Even if you want to finish the one hour, she’s increased her intake for what, in her mind, is just massaging another piece of skin. A minute’s work for a huge tip. And after a few hundred happy endings, it really isn’t a big deal for her, morally. Women in Asia have a different attitude towards sex.
The mission of this website is to aid in getting a legitimate massage and to that end, I offer some advice on how to get out of a happy ending offer delicately or otherwise…
How to get out of happy endings:
Like it or not, if you get a lot of massages and you’re a man, sooner or later, a masseuse is going to offer you some ‘extras,’ mostly the opportunity to have a ‘happy ending’.
A lot of these girls assume that all men want ‘happy endings.’ If you’re a normal male, chances are your body will eventually respond to getting pleasurable hands rubbing you. But even if your body is willing, it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to follow through. You might have all kinds of valid reasons for not getting a happy ending. But you still want a good massage! So you need some good excuses to extricate yourself from the awkward situation…
One of the best ways to avoid the awkward happy ending offer is to avoid the girls or places where they’re most likely to happen. Pick an older, less atractive woman who will give you a great massage and if she does offer an extra (and it happens), then you might be less tempted to give in.
You can also state from the moment you begin, that you’re only interested in a massage, nothing more. She may still try to ‘test the waters’ though and see if she can sway you!
Massage is a very pleasurable activity and sometimes you’ll get an erection and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. It’s kind of hard to come up with a solid excuse as to why you should NOT get a happy ending. No matter what you say, she’ll point out that your penis is very interested and doesn’t care about your excuses.
Here are some methods and excuses I’ve created (I haven’t tried most of them but they might work and maybe you can submit some better ones!)
- I only have enough money for a massage, I can’t afford the ‘extras’
- Be firm the moment you get an inappropriate touch and say ‘No, sorry!’ Be civil, be kind and gently resist her applications and laugh it off. Be polite. Just saying no may not help as she may just be persistent, but most of the time they will stop and continue with the massage.
- “I’m married or have a girlfriend. She says I can have a massage but no special massage.” And if you need to expand … “I love her so much I wouldn’t want to cheat on her.” This assumes you have the necessary language skills to complete this information exchange! You can always wear a wedding ring and point to it and shake your head, in a pinch. If she has any heart or soul, she’ll understand and maybe even be touched by your faithfulness. Other girls don’t have the same moral standards as you do and might not care whether you’re married or not. They might try to say ‘they won’t know, let’s have fun!”
- “I just masturbated and have ‘no power’ left.”
- “I already had a massage with a happy ending today and have nothing left!”
- “I’m ill and can’t get it up, I have no power.”
- “It causes pain to be touched in that area.”
- “I’m getting too old and can’t get it up anymore.” If she’s already played around a bit and has you erect, it’s kind of hard to use that one.
- “I’m gay and I’m not interested in having women pleasure me!”
Got more questions? Let me know and I’ll do the research!