Whether or not you've partaken in an erotic body rub yourself, millions of people use these types of sensual massage to improve their mental health and practice a type of mindful meditation.
Erotic massage has long been publicized as a way to connect the mind to the body better. And with that, it's improving intimacy and the act of being present. Something that has undeniably positive effects on our mental wellbeing.
However, since lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures have been put in place across the globe to stem the transmission of the novel coronavirus, practitioners have been given no indication of what they should do. Secret Desire, an escort directory that largely functions within the US, is one of many that felt the burn following these strict policies.
The Body Rub/Sex Work Conundrum
Body rubs are often confused with sex work since erotic body rubs are a service that often employs escorts. Body rubs blur the line between what is traditionally considered sex work and a necessary adjunct to key mental health.
For years, this line stayed that way. Many body rub professionals were left alone by authorities and were easily advertising their services on escort directories or even in mainstream media.
However, as social distancing and isolation guidelines following the Covid-19 outbreak took effect, numerous body rub practitioners found themselves, once again, lumped into the sex work category with few resources to help them navigate these newfound waters of what is allowed, and what isn't.
Beyond allowing body rubs, and other types of personal services, many escorts had nowhere to turn. Without furlough schemes or benefits, they were left unsure of their future.
More than Just Physical Health
For many, body rubs are more than just a sexual dalliance. They are a way to truly connect their body to their mind, like a meditative process that allows them to practice mindfulness. At the same time, they're balancing the stress that life throws at us all. And that's particularly in times such as these, when safe and genuinely useful positive mental health practices are necessary.
Many experts believe that the social isolation from lockdown measures, coupled with financial distress, will quickly translate into a mental health crisis. One that we are not ready for.
Mental health in the US alone costs an estimated $201 billion per year. These figures only apply to "normal" times. It simply means that the fallout from Covid related mental health disorders, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety could reasonably cause costs to rise in ways that the nation isn't prepared for. Especially during a coinciding financial crisis.
While it's important to promote safety through social distancing, it's also relevant to consider specific guidelines and guidance for those that work hard to protect our mental health. It would also work as a two-way street, stimulating the economy while simultaneously improving our own mental position.
How Things Have Changed
Some escort directories are still allowing advertising and asking both clients and escorts to be aware and respectful of local guidelines. Yet, it still hasn't offered many solutions to the problems at hand.
Certain escorts have taken this lack of acknowledgment into their own hands. They're creating a safer space for both themselves and their clients by using more rigorous cleaning methods and getting Covid tests alongside regular STD checks, requiring their clients to do the same.
While the methods are far from foolproof, they do help prevent the spread of the disease. Yet, they are still allowing practitioners to do what they do best. Helping their clients to better navigate the stress and frustrations of modern life, often using ancient techniques.
Others are even more innovative. They take public health officials' guidelines, targeted at interpersonal relationships, and use them in their work. Among such are getting creative with barriers and face coverings.
Another useful strategy is that some escorts will only see certain clients or see fewer with periods of self-isolation in between. Such suggestions were made for many health professionals or at-home caretakers.
One can see that taking care of society as a whole is the best way forward in this pandemic. Many escorts and erotic body rub specialists put themselves in harm's way to ensure their clients' health and happiness. It's time that we start taking care of them as well.