What do people look for in a good massage? Relaxation, healing, focus. With that in mind, it doesn't seem like the age, sex, or other characteristics of the massage therapist should have much of an effect, right? Still there seems to be a stigma against male massage therapists, to the extent that a study from the American Massage Therapy Association estimated that about 85% of massage therapists are women.
Why is this? Ideas vary, ranging from the idea that women feel safer with other women, that men prefer being pampered by women, on to various cultural and/or religious preferences. Homophobia or nervousness about the sexuality of massage can also be a strong factor when people prefer working with a female rather than a male therapist. Of course, any professional massage therapist is going to remain just that - professional - during a massage, so most people's fears about receiving a massage from a man are unfounded.
Still, men looking to get into the massage field may feel unsure about venturing into this work, knowing they'll be in the minority and that many people prefer working with a female therapist. You wonder "Will I end up working in a spa where the women are fully booked and I'm twiddling my thumbs? Will women be fearful when they enter the room and see me as their therapist?" But don't be discouraged!
You can certainly be a successful massage therapist as a man. For some examples, check out Massage Magazine's article "How To Succeed As A Male Massage Therapist." Male massage therapists can do well in a number of settings, from traditional spa and wellness settings to more unexpected spots, like working in physical therapy, massaging for university or professional sports teams, and combining massage with chiropractic work, and more. But don't feel like you need to seek out a special position within the massage world just because of your sex - every massage therapist needs to strive to find the best place for him or her, the position where they feel excited, passionate, and useful. For some, that may be in more male-driven settings, but for others it may not!
After all, all you really need to be good at massage is strong hands, good training, and an open heart--if you begin your career with these, client will soon see how much you bring to the massage table and the professional as a whole.