by Tamar Love
Massage doesn't just feel good -- it can actually improve your sex life. Sensual massage relaxes you and increases the flow of blood within your body, making it easier for you to become aroused. Whether you plan to give a garden-variety backrub or a full-scale sensual massage, you'll need some lubrication -- a bone-dry massage can actually hurt!
Fortunately, a multitude of products are available to choose from. We recommend keeping at least one of each type of massage product on hand -- you never know when you'll have a massage emergency!
Massage oils do a variety of useful things: they spice up a boring night, lend a sensual dimension to a boring old back rub, and reduce friction, keeping your body silky, slippery and slick. Available in a wide variety of flavors and viscosities, most massage oils are non-toxic and safe to ingest in small quantities. However, make sure you read the bottle before you lick massage oil off your lover's back! A night of sensual massage should not result in a trip to the doctor.
If you're new to massage products, we recommend buying several small bottles so you can sample your oils before committing to a huge purchase -- the 32 ounce-bottles can be a little pricey! Fortunately, MyPleasure has several types of oils to choose from, so you can find out what flavors and textures work for you without spending a small fortune.
To use massage oil, pour a small amount in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together before gently applying to your lover's body. Never pour the oil directly on from the bottle -- it feels cold and weird. Rub the lotion or oil into your lover's body, reapplying as necessary. If you have oily skin, make sure you shower after your massage: many massage oils can cause breakouts on your back or chest.
Feel free to rub oil into your lover's back, arms, legs, buttocks, chest and neck, but keep it away from genitals unless the bottle specifically says the lotion is safe for internal use. Even if it is safe, test a small amount on the skin first, ensuring you and your lover won't have an allergic or "burning" reaction to it. Massage oils are not safe to use with latex products, such as sex toys or condoms, unless the bottle specifically states otherwise. Massage oils should also not be used as a lubricant for penetration, unless the product has been specifically formulated for anal, vaginal or oral play.
If you don't like slightly greasy residue that massage oils can leave behind, you might want to try a massage lotion. In addition to being a little less slippery, massage lotions don't usually cause breakouts, as massage oils have been known to do. If you have oily skin, you may want to start with a lotion, as opposed to oil. However, massage lotions also moisturize dry, flaky skin, so if you have dry or combination skin, they're a safe bet too.
While you can use regular hand lotion for a back rub, it's best to use lotions specifically developed for massage. They leave less of a sticky residue and often have a pleasant aroma and/or taste. Try to avoid the Ben Gay-scented athletic tonics when combining sex with massage -- the mentholated fumes, while effective at relieving stress and tension from the body, can be a huge sensual turnoff.
Massage lotions are used in much the same way as oils: rub a tablespoon-sized dollop between your hands, and then apply it with long, languorous strokes. You'll need to reapply lotions more often than oils as lotions are usually absorbed more quickly. Also, unlike oils, lotions can usually be rejuvenated with a spritz of water from a spray bottle, which also creates a pleasantly slippery texture that can be quite erotic.
Like massage oils, lotions will destroy latex products, such as sex toys or condoms, unless the bottle specifically states otherwise. Also, massage lotions should never be used internally, for activities such as vaginal or anal play. Many lotions are non-toxic, and therefore safe to lick; however, you'll want to check the bottle's label first. Be warned: lotions that aren't specifically made to be edible (which is different than non-toxic) can taste really terrible, so you may want to avoid oral experimentation unless you're using a product formulated for oral play.
While not the best option for full-body massages, warming oils, also known as edible oils, are great for genital massage, or for massaging small, concentrated areas, such as breasts, buttocks, thighs and arms.
Warming oils work about the same way massage oils work: pour a small puddle in one hand, rub both hands together to distribute, then apply in a thin layer to the desired area. Gently rub into the skin, applying more as necessary. As you continue to massage, the warming oil will begin to heat up, causing your partner to feel a pleasantly warm sensation.
Some warming oils can't be used with latex products -- make sure to read the label before using. Warming oils aren't appropriate for internal use -- don't use them for vaginal or anal penetration. However, you can apply them to the surface of your genitals. Be warned: some of the warmth-inducing elements may irritate skin; do a skin patch test before using during sex or your genitals may end up hotter than you intended.
Whether or not you feel comfortable using massage products or warming oils at every sexual encounter, it's smart to have a few bottles lying around in case you need them. Most keep for a couple of years without damage; open the bottle and sniff them before using. If the bottle smells unpleasant, or if there's any icky-looking residue, toss it. It's better to be safe than sorry.