How to Give a Massage

Giving or receiving a massage is a great way to relieve stress and build intimacy in a relationship. Since relaxation is key, make sure to maintain open communication throughout the massage. Ask your partner what kind of pressure or touch he or she enjoys the most, and make sure that they are comfortable with the level of intimacy. Focus on the pleasure of the moment with your partner and have fun exploring each other’s bodies.


Set the Mood

Creating a calm or romantic atmosphere can make the message more relaxing and enjoyable. Here are some ways to set the mood:

  • Lay out rose petals on the bed. Rose petals are great for a special occasion and can create a more romantic atmosphere.
  • Find a comfortable, quiet place. If you have kids or roommates, you may want to use your bedroom for privacy.1
  • Silence phones so that your partner can fully focus on the sensations of the massage.2
  • Dim the lighting, or try covering lamps with a sheer fabric. You can also light candles and play soft music to create a calm atmosphere.
  • Have the massage recipient wear a blindfold to increase the physical sensations they feel, as dulling one sense intensifies the others.
  • Take a bath before or during a massage to increase muscle relaxation.
  • Wear less clothing to enhance the experience of the massage, but keep in mind that you should wear as much clothing as you are comfortable with. As a masseuse, keeping your clothes on can help the receiver remain focused on the pleasure of the massage itself rather than on the potential for sexual activity later.
  • Use massage oil to make the massage smoother. If you don’t have easy access to massage oil, you can improvise by using grape seed, olive, or coconut oil.1 Keep in mind that these oils are not safe to use with latex condoms, as they cause the material to disintegrate. Also, place the oil in your hands and rub them together to warm the oil before applying the oil directly on your partner’s body. Application of cold oil will cause muscle tension. You can also place the sealed massage oil in warm water to heat it up.2
  • If you choose to use oil, be sure to put a towel down and wear clothing that you do not mind getting stained.
  • Do not rush yourself. The slower and longer lasting the massage is, the better for the receiver.2
  • Take turns acting as the giver and the receiver so that both partners can experience time in each role.3
  • Spend time with each other after the massage ends. Prolong this intimate moment by holding each other or enjoying a conversation together. If the massage was not enjoyable the first time, remember to remain positive about the experience and keep practicing!

Taking the time to set the mood before giving someone a massage can make the massage much more enjoyable. Finding a private, quiet and relaxing place is essential to setting the mood.


The Basics

This article will touch on several types of massage including back massage, foot and leg massage, and arm massage. You can ask the receiver of the massage which type of massage they prefer, or you can give a full body massage and incorporate each type of massage in one session.

Back Massage

A back massage is one of the most common types of massage. Here are some steps you can follow that will ensure a great back massage:

  • Have your partner lie down, either on a bed or a massage table, if you have access to one.
  • Let your partner know that you are about to begin and encourage them to tell you if any part of the massage feels uncomfortable.
  • Gently rest your hands (with or without massage oil) on the small of your partner’s back, on either side of the spine. Begin by gently stroking your fingertips or palms from the base of the back to the neck and down again. Continue for a few minutes, gradually increasing pressure.4
  • Use your open palms to create long, gliding strokes down the sides of the spine as a transition between steps. Find a rhythm that you both enjoy and use your body weight rather than arm strength for the deep strokes.4
  • Use your thumb and forefingers in a gentle, short pinching motion to knead the skin around the partner’s neck and shoulders. Then use your open palms to focus pressure on the edge of the shoulder blades, targeting your focus on any areas that might feel tense.4
  • Pay attention to the shoulders as they are notorious for holding tension.2
  • Avoid the spine or any bones as this is uncomfortable to the receiver and is more likely to result in injury.
  • Return to the long strokes along the back and use finger pressure along the sides of the back leading up. Focus on any areas that hold tension until the muscle seems relaxed.4
  • Make small circular motions with heavy finger pressure along the back, and then focus this motion on the hollow close to the hairline.4
  • At this point, you can incorporate the arms and legs (see techniques below).
  • Finish the massage by gently stroking down the back, gradually using lighter strokes. Gently remove your hands on the final downward stroke.4

To give a great back massage, have you partner lay down and begin gradually increasing pressure throughout the massage. Find a rhythm that is comfortable for you and the receiver and focus on any areas that feel tense. Click here for a great video tutorial on giving a back massage.

Foot and Leg Massage

Foot and leg massages are a great way to unwind after a long day of standing or a tough leg workout. Here are some tips on how to give your partner an enjoyable foot and leg massage:

  • Use long gliding strokes down the legs, spreading the massage oil as you go down. Hairier legs will require more oil to prevent pulling during the massage.5
  • Use heavy finger or medium palm pressure to knead the thighs, and then continue up and down the calves.5
  • Massage on the hollows of the ankle on either side of the Achilles heel. Gently rotate the entire foot around in a circle, pressing it towards its maximum flexible range. Push both the heel and the balls of the feet towards the midline of the body.5
  • Stop the massage if any of the following techniques tickle your partner. Being tickled tenses the muscles instead of relaxing them.5
  • Focus pressure on the heel and then the arch of the foot. Then, wrap a flat hand around the foot so the fingers are pressed against the sole. Stroke the foot from the arch to the toes.5
  • Gently massage each toe by pressing and rolling it in your fingers and by pulling on each toe. 5
  • Repeat the technique of wrapping the flat hand around the foot, and then switch to the other leg. 5

Key areas to massage during a foot and leg massage are the thigh, calf, hollows of the ankles, heel and balls of the foot, arch of the foot, and toes.

Hand and Arm Massage

Hand and arm massages can be great after a long day of typing or writing. Here are steps you can follow to give your partner an enjoyable hand and arm massage:

  • Begin at the top of the shoulder and use long gliding strokes down the arm to the hand. Do not apply pressure over the elbow.6
  • Kneed the arm and then the forearm with medium palm pressure.
  • Use your thumb to massage the inside palm of your partner's hand: focus on the soft center, the area near the thumb, the balls of the hand, and the edge of the hand.
  • Between your thumb and forefinger, gently “pressure-rub” down each finger while simultaneously pulling the finger away from the hand. Place extra pressure on the tip of each finger.6
  • Follow up with a few more long strokes of the entire arm, and then switch to the next arm.6

Begin the massage at the top of the shoulder and slowly work your way down to knead the arm and forearm, massage the inside palm of the hand, and gently pulling the finger away from the hand.


Giving a massage is a relatively safe activity, but take these precautions to be sure that you do not accidently harm your partner:

  • Avoid putting pressure on the spine.4
  • Be careful applying pressure on the lower back as there is no ribcage there to protect the internal organs.4
  • Avoid massaging blisters or infected areas.4
  • Do not massage people if they have certain health conditions such as fever, cancer, spinal chord injury, heart problems, and damaged blood vessels, as they can be aggravated by massage.4 Talk to your doctor if you have any health concerns to see if a massage would aggravate your condition.

Be sure to communicate with your partner before and during the massage so that you can avoid applying pressure to any areas of sensitivity or discomfort.


Concluding Remarks

The wrists, fingers, ears, back of the neck, insides of the elbows and knees are other excellent areas to focus on during a massage due to their high sensitivity. You can also use small, circular motions of moderate pressure along your partner’s scalp or heavy pressure along your partner’s buttocks muscles. If you feel that your hands are tiring too quickly, you can also make use of other parts of your body like your arms, chest, and elbows. Also, using your bodyweight to exert pressure through your hands instead of squeezing and pushing with your fingers can prevent your hands from tiring too quickly.

Giving or receiving a massage is a great way to strengthen trust and intimacy in a relationship. Communicating about what feels good to your partner and asking your partner what feels good to them is integral for a good massage. Massages do not have to be sexual but can be a great way to transition into sexual acts. With your partner’s consent, you can give a sensual massage and work up to experimenting with touching you partner’s genitals.



  1. Thomas, Sophie Saint. “How To Give A Massage That Will Have Your Partner Begging For More.” How To Give A Massage Techniques For Sensual, Erotic, Refinery29, 15 May 2017. Accessed 18 Apr. 2018. 
  2. Strovny, David. “Give Her A Sensual Massage.” AskMen. Accessed 18 Apr. 2018.
  3. “How to Give a Sensual Massage to a Man.” LEAFtv.
  4. Phillips, Katie. “How to Give a Back Massage.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 16 Mar. 2018. Accessed 18 Apr. 2018.
  5. WikiHow. “How to Give a Foot Massage.” WIkiHow. WikiHow, 22 Oct. 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2018.
  6. Admin. “Arms and Hands Massage Techniques.” Tips For Massage, Accessed 18 Apr. 2018.

Last Updated: 19 April 2018.