Sunday, July 31, 2011

Intimate Workplace Touching

I got a massage a couple days ago and the massage therapist was a man.  In the past when I have gotten massages, or any other service that involves another person touching me, I have always made sure that the person was a woman.  A couple days ago, however, I was desperate and the only opening available was with a man.  I wasn't sure if I would be comfortable, but once I was on the table with my eyes closed, it didn't matter to me anymore.

Some professions require very intimate touching, like being a massage therapist.  My job, providing in home care for adults with disabilities, also requires intimate touching that took me a little while to get used to.  I'm not a touchy-feely person, but that doesn't matter because it's different when you're at work.  

The touching I do on the job is drastically different that any touching that happens outside of work.  The clients I work with need assistance with bathing, dressing, waste management devices (like uroscopy bags and incontinence briefs), and transferring from a wheelchair to a bed.  I get very up close and personal and one of the reasons why I think that I am good at my job is that I am able to perform these tasks while being distant and professional, but still friendly.

Outside of work touching is very different for me, and not just for the obvious reasons.  When I am with an intimate partner (I don't really touch my friends- a topic for a different post), the physical contact is mutual.  We are both getting pleasure out of it and are acting on mutual affection.  Nothing I do at work is affectionate- that would be wildly inappropriate.

While I was getting the massage a couple days ago, it really struck me how different touching is outside of a professional setting.  The massage therapist was touching me in a way that past lovers had touched me (though much more skillfully) but it was... different.  The only things he got out of it were money and the satisfaction of doing his job well.  And that is what I get out of my job too.

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