Male vs. Female Massage Therapist: Does Gender Matter?

BY: Editors |Sep 20, 2022

If you've ever booked a massage, you've undoubtedly been asked the question: "Would you prefer a male or female masseuse?" This is one of those things that nearly everyone has an opinion on, like pineapple as a pizza topping (never) or how to pronounce GIF (hard "g" obviously). Because of the heated debate over this issue, we'd like to offer up some information and guidance for choosing a massage therapist.

Female Massage Therapists

  • Dominate the industry
  • Make up about 89% of all massage therapists
  • The gender most requested by customers

Male Massage Therapists

  • Underutilized in the industry
  • Male customers overwhelmingly do not book them
  • Tend to experience gender bias

Choose skill over gender.

Not all massage therapists are the same. Some may be specially trained to perform a particular type of massage while others may have certifications that authorize them to include add ons like acupuncture or aromatherapy. In addition, every masseuse has their own approach and style, whether it's the amount of pressure they use to the kind of music they play during the treatment. When trying to choose a massage therapist, be sure to explain to the salon what kind of treatment and experience you're looking to get. They can offer their recommendations based on your wants and needs.



Myth: Pain is what makes a massage good.

It's common for people who get a massage to say that it "hurts so good." However, physical pain can actually be counterproductive. When you are experiencing extreme discomfort on the table, your body starts to resist the treatment, which massage therapists call "therapeutic standoff." When this happens, the massage rarely has positive effects.

Note: Customers who prefer a more intense, deep-tissue massage sometimes request men therapists because they believe males have more strength and power. Although this can be true in some cases, every masseuse is trained to treat with all variations of pressure, determined by the type of massage and the client's requests.



Put yourself first.

The most important thing when choosing a massage therapist is to make sure you're comfortable. If you feel passionate about a gender preference, that's okay. You're paying for a treatment and deserve to get your desired experience. If you're a little more open, give both genders a try. You may find out that you don't prefer a male or female, you just prefer a specific therapist.