Are All “Happy” Massages Legal?

Man getting massage
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A happy ending massage takes place when a massage ends with erotic contact.

Usually, there are tip-offs that a “happy ending” is on the spa menu, like an innuendo in the name of the spa. The spa menu also might be worded in a way that seems off, like all-body massage, tantric massage, thigh massage, or body-to-body massage. While Asian massages have a long medical and cultural history, the phrase “Asian massage” is sometimes a code word that a spa performs happy endings.

Are They Legal?

In America, a happy ending is illegal and not performed at legitimate spas.​ Under the law, it’s considered prostitution.

Many spas that perform happy endings are prostitution fronts, and often in the news for being raided by the police and shut down—which is something to keep in mind should you consider becoming a customer. Another risk of seeking out a happy endings massage is being sent to a spa that intends to scam tourists. Sometimes, spas will advertise themselves using the tip-offs of a happy endings spa, charge you a fee to get in, a fee for drinks, and a fee for services—without ever performing the implied sexual actions.

It’s also a breach of a massage therapist’s professional ethics to touch a customer in an erotic manner, even if the touching is consensual. If you’re wondering whether or not your massage therapist is touching you inappropriately, trust your instincts.

It’s the intention of the touching, not the location of it that counts. While a deep tissue massage therapist might put their hands on your pelvic floor or another intimate area of the body during treatment, that can be strictly therapeutic. Usually, however, this is done after many sessions of building trust with your massage therapist.

Is It Ever Appropriate to Ask for a Happy Ending?

It is never appropriate to ask for a happy ending at legitimate spas around the world or during an in-room massage at a hotel. Regardless of the fact that it can be a suggestive situation—you’re naked under the sheets—it’s a breach of trust with your massage therapist to ask for something beyond the scope of your treatment.

Doing so can open you up to embarrassment and a quick end of the session. Most likely you’ll face a very uncomfortable massage therapist who will tell you about the boundaries of their profession. 

What About Happy Ending Massages Overseas?

Happy endings are easier to find overseas, especially in Bangkok, Thailand, Bali, and other Asian countries. However, they're still not always legal. Cebu City, Philippines, is known for its lingam massage—which ends with a massage of the "lingam"—but even that was made illegal in 2010.

Regardless, you should not assume that you can get a happy ending at just any spa. Even abroad, the establishments that have sexual contact on the menu will give off signs that are impossible to miss.