As the years pass, American women are becoming more and more open about their physical and sexual health. For some, this just means staying on top of their regular ObGyn appointments and advocating for themselves in their relationships. For others, it means exploring questions like, “What is a vaginal massage, and what does it do?”
On the one hand, your sexual well-being means undergoing cancer screenings, PAP smears, and other not-so-fun medical tests. On the other hand, taking care of your sexual health can also mean working on your physical and emotional relationship with your body.
For many women, vaginal massage is the newest way to explore their sexual identity. But, again, what does this actually entail?
Let’s find out:
The Basics of Vaginal Massage
You might read the phrase “vaginal massage” and think: so, masturbation? However, there are some things that make it, at least in the context we are discussing, unique.
In the most general terms, vaginal massage involves massaging the muscle and tissues inside the vaginal canal. While the form is a little different, the function is much the same as a back or foot massage. This is not just something that takes place in the privacy of your bedroom, either. Some doctors will even refer patients to a specialist for this service.
At this point, vaginal massage isn’t quite mainstream. With more patients stumbling across this practice and asking their ObGyn for more information, this might change.
Is vaginal massage legal?
So, we mentioned that vaginal massage has been formally prescribed by some medical doctors. But does that mean this service is legal in the United States?
First of all, as with sexual intercourse, there’s nothing illegal about an intimate partner performing this type of massage. It’s when money changes hands that things can get kind of tricky. When it comes to paying a professional, the legality depends on the context.
If this service is performed by a licensed physical therapist for a medical reason, then it’s treated no differently than a breast exam or other medical service. If this service is performed by an unlicensed massage therapist for pleasure though, it is probably legally questionable at best.
Before receiving this type of massage therapy from anyone in a professional setting, we recommend asking about their licensing and the context of your treatment.
Different Types of Vaginal Massage and What They Mean
With that all said, vaginal massage can be grouped into a couple of different categories. The first, pelvic floor massage, is the medical form of this treatment. The second, yoni massage, is more spiritual.
Pelvic floor massage
While vaginal massage seems to be the term of choice among the general public, most professionals avoid using this name. Instead, they refer to this practice as pelvic floor massage or pelvic physical therapy.
With this type of vaginal massage, the genitals are actually more of a means to an end. Although some therapists might address issues directly within the vaginal canal or nearby sex organs, most of the time the pelvic floor is the target.
The pelvic floor is a muscular structure that supports the abdomen and its organs, including the uterus, bladder, and bowels. Just like any other muscle, this structure can suffer from tightness and similar forms of dysfunction. And physical massage can help alleviate these concerns.
In the case of the pelvic muscles, though, the vagina just so happens to be the most direct access point.
While pelvic massage focuses on physical and structural wellbeing, yoni massage is practically metaphysical in comparison.
First, what does “yoni” mean? The word comes from ancient Sanskrit, a language many people are tangentially familiar with through yoga, and refers to a sacred place. In yoni massage, this sacred place is the womb.
Yoni massage is a type of tantric massage that focuses on the vagina, yes. But it also focuses on the inner-power, of creation and nurturing, many tantric practitioners believe is present in all women.
According to yoni massage experts, this experience is about pleasure and healing — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yoni massage can lead to orgasm, but that isn’t the goal.
Reasons to (Or to Not) Try Vaginal Massage for Yourself
Aside from relieving pelvic tension, why do women choose to undergo this type of massage?
And, perhaps most importantly, are there any risks associated with pelvic floor therapy or yoni massage?
It offers real health benefits
Both forms of vaginal massage have been used to treat physical health conditions affecting the genitals or pelvic floor.
Like some people experience tension headaches or back pain from stress or physical injury, the same is true for pelvic pain. Tension can build up in the pelvic muscles as a result of trauma or anxiety, leading to pain.
While this pain is most common during sexual intercourse, tampon insertion, and similar situations, it can become so severe that it affects the patient’s day-to-day life. Vaginal massage can relieve, either temporarily or permanently, this tension and pain.
- Sexual trauma
- Interstitial cystitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Musculoskeletal imbalances
If you’re experiencing pain or tension in your pelvis, you should seek out the advice of a licensed doctor before pursuing any type of at-home therapy. However, don’t be surprised if pelvic floor massage is suggested as a form of treatment.
Another way both pelvic and yoni massage can benefit your physical health is by helping you familiarize yourself with your sexual anatomy. Not only can this make you more aware of what’s going on with your body in the first place, but it will also mean your more likely to notice changes that may need a doctor’s opinion.
It can improve your sexual experiences
In cases where pelvic tension is making sexual intercourse painful or physically impossible, the sexual benefits of vaginal massage are pretty obvious. However, there are other ways these types of massage can improve your sexual health.
Some women report stronger or more frequent orgasms following regular yoni massage. Since self-massage can make one more comfortable with their sexuality, it can also make reaching orgasm easier for some people.
Practicing yoni massage with a trusted partner is also a way to explore your body together in a way that is intimate, but that requires more time and patience than “normal” sex.
Are there risks associated with these types of massage?
As we discuss the benefits of vaginal massage, we also need to take a moment to address the potential risks.
When it comes to your physical wellbeing, the risks are few and far between. Pelvic floor therapy is beneficial for many patients. And for those who see little benefit, there are practically no side effects.
However, it is impossible to ignore that both pelvic floor and yoni massage put women in an inherently vulnerable position. This is true even when the provider is well-intentioned.
While the risks of turning to an unlicensed practitioner for a yoni massage might seem the most obvious, the medical community certainly isn’t exempt from potential abuse.
Over the past few years, Larry Nassar has been in the news for sexual abuse, including inappropriate vaginal massage under the guise of physical therapy. When these allegations and eventual convictions surfaced, many legitimate physical therapists found themselves under a critical eye.
Whether one of these massages is medical-in-nature or an attempt to unlock some type of sexual energy, it is extremely easy for predators to take advantage of these situations. And when countless women seek out these therapies to heal from past sexual trauma, the potential for further victimization can’t be ignored.
Seek out references, search Google to learn about your intended provider, like you would for any medical procedure.
What to Expect From a Vaginal Massage
So if vaginal massage interests you, either in the form of pelvic floor therapy or yoni massage, how do you protect yourself from dangerous and uncomfortable situations? Well, one of the best things you can do is learn what to expect from this type of massage in the first place.
Any massage should start with the provider making you feel safe, comfortable, and informed about what will take place.
With a vaginal massage, just like an ObGyn appointment, some standard social boundaries will be crossed. The massage provider will see and touch parts of your body most people reserve for sexual partners. However, the massage and overall atmosphere should not feel overly sexual or violating.
If you feel up to it, you can avoid placing yourself in a potentially vulnerable situation by performing a massage on yourself. All you need is a little time to yourself and a reputable resource for self-massage techniques.
If you require pelvic floor physical therapy for a medical condition, you will probably need to seek out professional help. However, you can still ask your therapist to teach you self-massage techniques or how to use a device like the Therawand.
Whichever route you choose, always put your emotional and physical wellbeing above all else. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, even with a licensed medical professional, it’s okay to walk away.
Making the Right Choice for You and Your Body
Is vaginal massage, whether in the form of pelvic floor therapy or yoni massage, right for everyone? Probably not.
For instance, some patients may feel too uncomfortable or physically vulnerable letting someone else perform these types of massage on them. This is one thing if someone seeks out massage for physical pain relief. But it’s another thing entirely if they’re looking to treat symptoms of past trauma or abuse.
However, it is also important to understand that these therapies offer real physical and emotional benefits to many patients. Even in cases where professional massage is not an option, self-massage can still offer countless benefits.
Ultimately, vaginal massage is an extremely personal experience that must be tailored to the individual if it’s to be effective. And only you will know what does and does not work for you.
Do you have experience with pelvic floor physical therapy or yoni massage? Feel free to share your experience and personal feelings about these practices in the comments below.
Featured Image via Pixabay