Dealing with " Happy Ending Massage "  Expectations

The thought of dealing with " Happy Ending Massage " expectations, for most massage students and therapists, literally makes them physically ill. However, we must all be prepared for the day that a client's inappropriate actions become reality.

Happy ending massage essentially means massage that ends with some form of sexual contact. They are offered in unlicensed, illegal establishments that are often in the news after being raided and shut down, as they are usually just a front for a prostitution business.

For those who consider massage therapy careers, one of the most negative aspects is the fear of an inappropriate act on the part of a client.

Being prepared for those times, which can happen in a spa, home office, or clinic, can make a really horrible situation much easier.

In-room massage can be the most uncomfortable and hardest to exit, but, setting the stage for a professional massage therapy service can make a difference.

Steps to Avoid these Clients:

  • Have a detailed conversation with the client before setting up the appointment time. Ask specific questions like:

1. What type of massage are you looking for? If they answer "pleasure massage", "body shampoo", "everything massage" or even " happy ending massage ", apologize and hang up the phone!

2. Why are you searching for a massage therapist? You are looking for answers like "stress relief", "pain relief", or just "relaxation". You might even discuss your routine and what will happen in the massage as well as your certifications and licenses. This tells them you are a professional!

3. Have you had professional massage therapy before? If the answer is "yes", ask what kind, where, and if the therapy was beneficial to their pain or stress problems.


  • Explain what you will be massaging. For example:"I will start the massage with 20 minutes of back massage, I will then massage the back of your legs. We will then turn over onto your back. I will massage the front of your legs and then your arms. I will end the massage with 10 minutes of head, neck and shoulder massage. Verify that this routine is fine with them, still giving the option of walking out!


  • Have the client fill out an intake form which includes a statement like:"I understand that my massage therapy session will be terminated if there is any form of inappropriate behavior."Include a line for a signature after this statement.


  • Ask your client to pay before the massage. Explain that it is just your policy for first-time clients.


  • Recommend your client undress to underwear.

Tips that Client has Expectations of "Happy Ending Massage" 

Before the session:

1. Asks about "all-over" massage

2. Asks for "thigh massage"

3. Nervously inspects the room when he/she first arrives

4. Points out he/she did not wear underwear 

During the session, if the client:

1. Tries to touch you
2. Moves hips/Moans/Groans
3. Asks to be nude
4. Requests to be on top of sheet or blanket
5. Breathes heavily
6. Wants "butt" work 

What to do if a client sexually advances?

  • Speak up and be very firm as to the purpose of massage therapy.
  • Notify police if the client becomes physically or verbally abusive
  • Terminate the session if things are uncomfortable or inappropriate

You may be interested in reading more about these concerns and how to handle different situations. The Ethics of Touch: The Hands-on Practitioner's Guide to Creating a Professional, Safe and Enduring Practice teaches difficult, confusing and sometimes really scary dilemmas that therapists have to face. This book provides great guidance and support for when and if this happens.

Attempts to develop a friendship outside of the professional massage room setting is one thing, and can also be uncomfortable, but sexual advances are the worst.

Expectations for a "Happy Ending Massage" can also be quickly averted by placing a sign in your massage room which simply states "We offer a professional and healing environment for massage therapy and will not tolerate any form of inappropriate behavior". 

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