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Although therapeutic massage triggers unintentional ejaculation in some men, embarrassment or fear of being inappropriate may prohibit a crucial dialogue between the massage therapist and client.

For most people, being touched by a bodywork practitioner is an incredibly relaxing experience. However, a significant number of men have an embarrassing, visible response to massage therapy. Although most practitioners understand the likelihood that some men may develop an erection during a session, that understanding could turn to anger if they encounter a client who has ejaculated. But for a number of men, such an unsolicited release could have been an involuntary, asexual physiological reaction to the massage. By learning more about this possibility, massage therapists with a client who accidentally ejaculates can maintain compassion while upholding their professional ethics and infection control standards.

Intentional or Accidental

If a client ejaculates during your session, the first thing a practitioner must do is figure out if his/her client has any sexually related motives. In the article, A Common Male Physiological Response to Massage, eight important steps are outlined to help massage therapists address inappropriate behavior and determine a client’s intent. Upon identifying a client seeking a sexual outlet, the therapist’s ethics and safety are his/her first priorities. When addressed professionally while maintaining firm ethical boundaries, affected men without sexual intentions are likely to be surprised and embarrassed by their body’s actions.

Many men are trying to understand why their body betrayed them while receiving bodywork. Unfortunately, there is little information available about why some ejaculate without purposeful genital stimulation or sexualized thoughts. Despite medicine’s dismissal of this situation as a rare anomaly, more men are emerging from their shame to try and find an explanation.

The Physiology of Ejaculation

Technically, ejaculation is the process of sperm transport from the epididymis to the urethral meatus, resulting in expulsion of semen. Ejaculation occurs in two phases:

  1. Seminal emission, which is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system.
  2. Propulsatile ejaculation, which is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system.

Men who have experienced unexpected, unwanted ejaculation during a massage typically claim that it occurs when they are in the prone position with the therapist working on their low back, buttocks or upper thighs. Considering the location of the afferent and efferent nerves responsible for ejaculation, these locations are not surprising:

  • Via the sympathetic nervous system, autonomic impulses responsible for seminal emission exit the spinal cord between the tenth thoracic vertebrae and the second lumbar vertebrae.
  • Propulsatile ejaculation is caused by somatic input of the parasympathetic nervous system between the second and fourth sacral foramen.

In addition to its sympathetic and parasympathetic involvement, the pathways for ejaculation are also cerebrally mediated. As evidenced by nocturnal emissions, the ejaculatory reflex may be solely initiated by central nervous system input. While sexualized thoughts often occupy the mind prior to ejaculation, some sexual health experts believe that the brain’s role in ejaculation is more associated with a mental “letting go.”

At first glance, ejaculation appears to be out of line with bodywork. However, the level of relaxation that can be induced by massage therapy is a quintessential example of someone mentally letting go of his tension. From a physiological perspective, ejaculation could be initiated by combining deep relaxation with massage therapy’s activation of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Suggestions

For clients prone to involuntary ejaculation, the following five suggestions may be helpful:

  1. Strict draping practices and rolled-up towels to create an additional boundary near the genitals will ease any anticipatory excitement.
  2. Change massage location and/or technique when muscles tighten, breathing becomes more rapid or the client suddenly fidgets when working on the lower back, gluteus maximus and upper hamstrings.
  3. When client is prone, limit torso rocking techniques to prevent unintentional genital stimulation.
  4. Use additional barriers to quarantine or absorb accidental ejaculate.
  5. Remember to treat anything that has been ejaculated on as infectious, including removal of sheets and towels with gloves, table and linen sterilization and thorough hand washing after cleanup.

If a client ejaculates, the situation can be awkward and possibly upsetting for the massage therapist. However, it could be completely humiliating for the massage recipient and prevent him from ever seeking massage therapy again.

After determining that an unsolicited release was not sexual, addressing this issue promptly can put the therapist and his/her clients at ease. Since a man’s physiology could cause involuntary ejaculation during bodywork, a practitioner who explains this to his/her client thus maintains ethical boundaries, exhibits compassion, takes steps to prevent its reoccurrence and follows infection control practices – and enforces his/her own professionalism. Additionally, tackling this topic facilitates the client’s recognition that there is nothing wrong with him and helps him let go of any shame surrounding his body’s unsolicited release.

Recommended Study:

Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
Ethics: Therapeutic Relationships
Infectious Disease: Hepatitis

References:

http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Clinical%20Physiology%20and%20Pathophysiology%20of%20Ejaculation%20and%20Orgasm.pdf, Clinical physiology and pathophysiology of ejaculation and orgasm, Stacy Elliott, MD, Retrieved October 21, 2008, The University of Hawai’i, March 2001.

http://www.integrative-healthcare.org/mt/archives/2005/12/a_common_male_p.html, A Common Male Physiological Response to Massage, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved October 22, 2008, Natural Wellness, 2008.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16198717?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed, Descending pathways modulating the spinal circuitry for ejaculation: effects of chronic spinal cord injury, Johnson, RD, Progress in Brain Research, 2006.

  • allessior

    This is why I “Never” go to a masseuse, because I am sure this will happen to me. My wife recently went to a day spa, fully licensed, we were told they were legit thru word of mouth. Well, the Asian masseuse straddled my wife, first when my wife was on her stomach and next when she was on her back. When on her stomach the massese even stood up to provide massage with her feet, and when she turned over on her back, the nasseuse straddled her and massaged everything from head to toe including chest. Now this is VERY SENSUAL and ANY MAN is going to have a response to this. It is NOT a perverted man who will have the response, it is a NORMAL, RED-BLOODED male response. So no thank you, I will massage my wife, and then we can “finish” what definitely gets started.

  • James

    Thank you Nicole for this amazing article, how may one get your email to discuss further ?

    I’ve been having this really embarrassing problem, exactly what you describe. I stopped going to massages for this very reason, it seems my involuntary ejaculation is triggered when certain spots in my body are pressed, so here what has happened to me:

    The following is 100% true and honest

    1. The first time i got an involuntary ejaculation was when a female masseuse pressed hard against my buttocks with 4 of her fingers, this trigger something in my body that released precum, it was not a full-blown explosion when i turned over i realized just how wet i’ve made the towel under me.

    2. As i visited more masseuses for my back pain, the second incident was when a female masseuse massaged me and applied certain pressure at points in my thigh. Mind you it was pretty far from my genitals, i was not aroused at all (I’m happily married) but i got this immense energy that flowed from all my body into my genitals, i immediately got a huge erection and exploded so hard, there was just NO stopping it. I managed to completely wet the cloth i was covered in. I was so embarrassed, however the masseuse didnt say anything, she just changed the cloth and continued like nothing happened. There was a v awkward silence. I was so guilty and embarrassed that i tipped her $100 (she didnt complain)

    I’ve then had a few more incidents after that, and then i stopped going due to embarrassment for a few years until now.

    3. This is the latest and MOST recent, and CONFIRMS my theory that it is not sexually related. After giving up on massages, i recently got an sport injury in my crotch muscle. So i was prescribed for holistic massages. IT WAS WITH A MAN ! I was actually comfortable as i was like no way i’m going to ejaculate but boy was i wrong. I am a 100% straight person, i don’t look at guys in a sexual manner. I un dressed and he started massaging my affected crotch area, i had zero arousal. However, when he started using a certain stroke where he massaged my crotch muscle by pressing hard and sliding back and forth in rapid movements, i got a massive erection and in less than 2 seconds before i can say stop, i exploded. This was it for me, it was like the end of my life. He looked at me awkwardly, but didn’t say anything. He cleant me up with a towel and clean the table and finished off the massage with a shoulder massage. I left, but i have to return soon as the pain is bad.

    I hope you can learn from my experience and i hope you can find solutions for men with such problems. I found a website that is run by a french masseuse who had 100s of men coming out and telling their involuntary ejaculation stories. It seems certain trigger areas for certain people (maybe we have psychological issues not sure) that create a huge energy exit through your genitals.

  • christoph

    This happened to me recently when my female therapist massaged the top of my buttocks i was absolutely mortfied ! But my therapist was very profesional and seemed to understand.from now on this will be a no go area on the masage table !

  • JJ

    I had my first massage today and this happened to me. The lady was massaging my neck, kind of under my collar bones (it sort of hurt). I didn’t have an erection, no sexual thoughts, it just felt like I had to pee all of the sudden and bam I start ejaculating. It was so embarrassing. I quickly check down there with my hand and sure enough. It was like having a wet dream but while I was awake and with no sensual dream.

    I didn’t say anything and the lady just told me to relax. I’m not sure if she knew what happened. I was in shock.

    I thought she might have done some secret Vulcan death grip that caused it. I’m glad to find out this isn’t completely uncommon.

  • Brett77

    Thank you so much for this article Nicole. After 10 years of never having any incident or close to it in any massage, and no complaints, I had a terrible thing occur. I have fibromyalgia, and also had a sciatic nerve problem. My massage therapist at the chiropractor quit, and I was given a new one. I had said “no deep pressure” but she did not listen to me, using deep elbow work that hurt. The next time, I had said no deep work and most of the massage was fine, but at the end, she shook my hips left and right which put me in excruciating pain. (Not the thing to do for a sciatic nerve problem). Then she starts pressing on my back and glutes, up and down, in a rocking motion. I was being pressed into the table where I couldn’t even feel my bladder. At some point, either urine or you know what else must have slipped out. I don’t even know, as it was the end of the massage, and I literally got off the table and got out of there, and scheduled my next massage with another therapist. I had not fully realized even what had happened.

    9 days later chirpractor calls me and tells me I can’t come to the practice anymore. Therapist uncomfortable with me (which I was with her) and complains to her friend, who also now won’t see me. (Her friend was a massage therapist there). After a long series of emails with the chiropractor, I am allowed back with only one therapist I can schedule with. But now I feel like I am on probation. Massage, which has always been a god-send to me, is now something I am more nervous about and can’t quite relax as much. I feel the therapist was never in any danger at all and wish she talked to me about it, or at least didn’t tell other therapists about it, which was unprofessional. Plus, I feel she caused the problem, not me. It’s hard even going there anymore as I feel there is a black mark next to my name, when in reality, I am probably the safest client imaginable.

    You article presented this issue in fair manner, and acknowledged how embarrassing this can be for the guy…therapists shouldn’t just assume the worst.

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