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‘Hysteria’ and Tantric Massage


‘Hysteria’ and Tantric Massage

Have you seen the movie Hysteria? It came out a couple of years ago, and a friend contacted to tell me that I must see it.

I must confess that I haven’t seen the film myself yet, but what interested me was that my friend pointed out how very respectable it was for a woman to go to a doctor to receive ‘manual digital relief’ in order to produce a ‘paroxysm of relief’ in Victorian times

The film is about the invention of the vibrator in late-Victorian England and how a society doctor administers manual relief to his wealthy female patients as a cure for hysteria. Back then, ‘hysteria’ was a condition ascribed to women and thought to be caused by disturbances of the uterus. It was a catch-all diagnosis for women suffering from anything ranging from a headache to depression to disobedience (the diagnosis was only finally dropped in the 1950s). In this movie, the doctor develops a ‘masturbator’s elbow’, also known as a carpal tunnel syndrome, and this leads to the invention of the first electric vibrator.

The film’s director, Tanya Wexler, commented, ’They didn’t consider the treatment sexual, because the husband was not involved. They thought the orgasm, or paroxysm as they called it, was purely involuntary … There is something about that time in the 1880s, and just how strict the cultural codes were, that makes it funny … everyone pretended it was a medical thing, not a sexual thing, and they really believed it.’

The practice of stimulation as a means of diagnosis has been going on in doctors’ consulting rooms since 1653 or even earlier, with a midwife sometimes called in to provide assistance. Early machines were then designed to help doctors who felt unable to complete the task manually. Such is the humble and interesting beginnings of the vibrator that has now become the most prolific sex toy of all time.

Yet, this is a contrast to modern perceptions when a man receives a sensual massage or a tantric massage. He still often feels that he has to go for such sessions secretly due to the stigma attached to any form of  ‘sensual’ service as it is still not considered ‘respectable’ by the majority of society. The ‘therapeutic’ aspect has still not been truly understood or accepted and unfortunately, naturally there will always be one set of ideas ascribed to women and a very different set for men.

Here at Tantric Massage in London, we offer sessions for both men and women. We believe that the male and female bodies are not that different when it comes to receiving a tantric massage—it is the same process (minus a few technical anatomical details)!

Nowadays when our women clients approach us for tantric ‘tuition’, one of the first things we stress is the importance of getting to know our own body. Betty Dodson, from the US, organises masturbation groups where women get into a circle and are given mirrors so that they can practice masturbation while looking at the own vaginas. Speak of being well acquainted!

Celeste, our masseuse who specialises in tantric tuition is currently in the midst of completing a course in Sexological Bodywork. One of the points she stresses is that better solo sex leads to better partner sex. In other words, a woman needs to know what really turns her on, so that she can communicate that to her partner. Women’s bodies are often a mystery to men and we can’t expect men to know what to do if we don’t know ourselves. We need to be able to communicate verbally and physically with our partner.

People often get into their own sexual ruts through masturbation patterns they have developed over the years, using the same techniques and fantasies. This can lead to seeking more inspiration through sex toys, porn, etc. A tantric massage can allow a man or woman to have more of a total body experience, rather than a quick localised, fleeting feeling. We also teach deep breathing techniques, which help to release physical blocks in the body, and thus enable energy and sensation to spread throughout the entire body.

The fundamentals of achieving more sensation, greater pleasure and full body orgasms come down to:

  1. Presence or awareness and quality of touch
  2. Experience or knowing oneself
  3. Imagination and curiosity
  4. Communication.
  5. Breath

Celeste emphasises the importance of being curious and creative and changing positions. This also allows us to experiment with different types of touch and become more aware and mindful of the erotic sensations throughout our entire body as well as that of our partner.

We have sure come a long way from going to a doctor or midwife!

Tantric Massage London

Featured image courtesy of Tantric Massage London
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Eva Evan

Eva, at Tantric Massage London in Kensington, has trained and qualified in various forms of massage, tantra and tao in the USA, India,Thailand and England. Meditation and yoga have been a major part of her life for over 40 years and she has studied under, and been initiated by, great teachers from the Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi and Taoist traditions.


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