Have you noted how many more people are using the term ‘self-care’ these days? In the times of turmoil in which we find ourselves it seems that taking care of your ‘self’ has taken on a more urgent meaning? In this bustling city of ours what could be more self-caring than getting a gay massage in London.
The grand gay philosopher Michel Foucault outlined in his three-volume study ‘The History of Sexuality’ that to take care of one’s self; you would need to have a knowledge of your ‘self’. His exploration of the bathhouses of San Francisco and New York and various S&M clubs expanded his boundaries and taught him a lot about bodies. Nowadays, such activities might not be seen as so taboo. Having a gay massage in London is very far from the controversy that might have been ignited in the mid twentieth century. Acts of intimacy between men have moved from the marginal realm to the holistic.
Self-care is the best friend of mindfulness. Breathing deeply and being more ‘present’ is essential to listening to what your relationship is with yourself at the current moment. Preparing myself for massage is an essential part of my ritual. An intense hot shower, shaving hair, exfoliating and a light moisturiser because I know the essential oils are coming later.
There’s a particular tingle that one gets in the body from the large hands of a strong male masseur. Then midway through the session, my breathing and heart rate having slowed down into a state of dangerously mellow relaxation I might drift off to another higher place. His hands give me license to explore a deeper sight of consciousness than I am used to.
At the end of the massage I am always grateful for those few minutes I have to bring myself back down to earth. I wear something light and airy and pace towards the cup of herbal tea required. In that space of stillness that’s been created inside of myself I feel a special sense of comfort having been touched, stroked and pummeled in the way my body really desires. Internally, I have clarity. I am reminded of why the cultural critic and writer Audre Lorde saw self-care as an act of warfare. Deciding to give my body and mind the love, care and attention it deserves is something that prepares me for the daily grind of life in London that can be frequently unfriendly and on occasion downright hostile.
Being committed to self-care means that having a gay massage is just another weapon in my arsenal. There is nothing more important than my ability to look after myself – with the helping hands of a big strong man.