Massage therapy is meant to be a deeply relaxing experience – feeling your stresses and knots melt away with candles and soft music playing. It’s enough to make anyone fall asleep in utter bliss.
Unfortunately, it’s also an environment that can be prone to extreme awkwardness and gross situations from time to time. When you think about it, it’s only natural. Alone in a small room with a half-naked person laying on your table – things aren’t always gonna be smooth sailing.
Just like any other profession, working as a masseuse has its disadvantages. Most masseuses face sexual harassment and contract deadly diseases if they are not careful.
We spoke to Jane not her real name, 26, and she narrated her hardships on the job.
“I’ve been sexually harassed, especially by old white men, who touch me inappropriately while in the massage rooms. Some force themselves on us and when you raise alarm, the management fire you or deny you that month’s salary,” she said.
“Some clients prefer home services and the dangers of such are some refuse to pay. If you don’t accept their sex advances, you get assaulted and you may get raped.
“Rich old Africans, white men and Indians come with weird demands. From asking you to massage their scrotums, licking their ears to rubbing their anals, we risk contracting diseases.”
She said some have weird fetishes. She almost quit her job one day after a 61-year-old German man asked for what she termed satanic. “I was referred by one of my clients to a friend and was happy because I knew I was going to get good cash. On arriving at the villa where he lived, I found him in his birthday suit, lying on a couch, and he asked me to insert my two fingers in his anal. I refused but he insisted I do it,” she said.
“He threatened to call the cops on me and claim that I had stolen his money and I had no choice but to do it. That was the most traumatising day of my life and since then, I don’t provide house services. I prefer working at the parlour. I learnt that greediness isn’t good.”
The profession has also attracted men who work at massage parlours, though the ones we contacted didn’t want to talk.