There are many people who believe that the gaps in the resumes of sex workers reflect holes in our skill sets – that we can’t possibly have developed life skills because we live and work in a ‘fantasy world’. But being an erotic masseuse involves the use and development of so many fundamentally important skills, it’s a wonder we haven’t taken over the world yet (…actually, has anyone double checked)? To hammer home this point, below is a select list of skills that define the career of an erotic masseuse – so whether you’re here considering entering the industry or just curious about how complex the job is, scroll down and be awestruck!

1. Empathy

I once had my psychologist friend say to me, upon telling her where I worked, “ah so basically you do my job but without clothes” and she was pretty much right. Clients don’t only come in to spend time with a naked woman, they come in for human connection – to speak to someone and feel like they are listened to and understood. Caring about people and their problems, while also remaining aloof and ensuring you don’t become overwhelmed or over-attached is #1 in the list of what makes a good masseuse.

2. The ability to talk (and to listen)

Obviously, listening is an important part of the job, but knowing when to talk is equally of value. It’s going to be pretty boring if all you can think of to talk about is “how was your day at work”? Having a sense of humour, (you will probably hear a lot of bad jokes) and finding common ground with your clients will ensure you both have a good time. Sure, sometimes trying to chat is like trying to get blood from a stone, but conversation skills are a must. Learning how to differentiate between when the silence is comfy (or sexy) and knowing when it needs to be filled makes everyday life that much easier and less awkward.

3. The ability to find beauty in everyone

Let’s face it, not every client that walks through the door is going to be young or conventionally attractive. If you’re going to complain every time you get booked by someone who isn’t a super model, it’s going to get old very quickly. As an erotic masseuse, being able to see the beauty in everyone – whether it be their smile, or their eyes or their sense of humour – is the difference between hating your life and actually enjoying and learning from work. In everyday life it means you can look at the world in a whole new way – when you realise that beauty comes in so many different forms, you can appreciate the little things that bit more.

Let’s face it, not every client that walks through the door is going to be young or conventionally attractive. If you’re going to complain every time you get booked by someone who isn’t a super model, it’s going to get old very quickly. As an erotic masseuse, being able to see the beauty in everyone – whether it be their smile, or their eyes or their sense of humour – is the difference between hating your life and actually enjoying and learning from work. In everyday life it means you can look at the world in a whole new way – when you realise that beauty comes in so many different forms, you can appreciate the little things that bit more.

4. Confidence

In almost every aspect of life, being confident is viewed favourably. One of the most important skills I have developed as a result of my time as an erotic masseuse is confidence. However, while working in the industry will undoubtedly boost your confidence ten-fold, walking through the door requires at least a little bit to begin with! The confidence that comes from the knowledge there are clients who are looking for someone just like you make you feel great, and therefore look better. This also brings me to my next point …

5. The ability to not take people’s shit.

People have always been (and unfortunately probably will always be) shit to sex workers – whether it is an entitled arsehole client or your own friends and family. The ability to let external criticism roll of your back is crucial to being a good masseuse and standing your ground on your own boundaries. There will be clients who try to manipulate you, but if you are confident (See, I told you it’s important!) enough to put your foot down, you’ll be a lot happier and safer for it.

6. Discretion

Massage parlours are a lot like Vegas. What happens there stays there (or at least it should).
Obviously this is an industry built on secrets – the ability to be discreet, not only about who (or what) you might see but also on intimate details of your own life, will get you far.

7. Self-empowerment

This is similar to not taking people’s shit and having confidence, but all the same it deserves its own point. If you are getting into sex work and feel like your happiness depends on your clients and money flow, get out of the industry. You are your own person and you need to be empowered enough to be your own source of happiness, your own source of confidence and strength. As erotic masseuses we learn to view ourselves not as the “victim of a patriarchal system which exploits women” (I’ve literally had a friend tell me I was experiencing internalised misogyny for not realising this very *fact*), but to feel empowered in that we are claiming our sexuality as our own and working the system to our benefit.

8. Time management skills

As an erotic masseuse, you will do more than just massage. Where I work, our time is also usually spent getting to know our clients in the spas. That said, no client wants to leave the place unsatisfied, and no masseuse wants to be late out of a booking. Knowing how to keep track of and organise your time once you’re on the clock is so important – and not only for erotic masseuses.

9. The ability to adapt

Being whoever you want to be is one of the highlights of this industry, but you have to remember that it’s not just about who you want to be, it’s who the clients want you to be. One of the most important skills I’ve learnt in this industry is how to be a chameleon, but still be myself. This really brings together all the other skills I’ve mentioned. Some clients will want to see a girl who is confident, others a girl who is meek. Some will want to see a girl who can hold her own in conversation, others crave the silence as an escape from their busy lives. Some will want to talk about themselves and others will only want to talk about you. Knowing how to suss this out and how to adapt self, style and conversation suitably is fundamental. At the end of the day – that’s the job. Yes, there’s massaging and wanking involved, but a lot of what we really do as erotic masseuses is become someone’s fantasy while still being ourselves.

10. Self-awareness

My final point is self-awareness. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re being someone else. One of the most fundamental things you get from being an erotic masseuse that is applicable to all aspects of life is a deeper understanding of yourself as a person and your identity. The confidence and empowerment you gain mean there is room to know the difference between an adaptation and who you really are.

I hope after reading this list you’ll agree with me when I say that you stand to gain as many, if not more, fundamental life skills from dipping your toes into the world of sex work and trying your hand at erotic massage than you do from working in a “real” job (I’d much rather be confident in myself than in MS Excel).