Touching the Side of the Breast When Lying Face Down

July 11, 2024

Touching the Side of the Breast When Lying Face Down

I would say that more than 99% of massage therapists are ethical professionals who would never commit a sexual assault on anyone. Massage therapists who are sexual predators are usually male and frequently test and groom the clients they choose to assault sexually. It is very few emotionally disturbed individuals who commit these sexual crimes, and they usually do it multiple times.


Usually Multiple Victims

I was involved in one case as an expert witness where there were originally five victims of this one therapist, but when this was published in a local newspaper, about 20 more women came forward.


A Common Grooming Technique

A therapist touching the side of the breast when lying face down is very common when a predator therapist is grooming a client. It’s a subtle way to test if a client will react to inappropriate touch. Often, when a woman lies face down, the sides of her breasts may extend up to a few inches out to the side.

It takes conscious awareness and care to avoid touching the breasts when the client is face down.  For example, when working on the client’s upper back and shoulders, a therapist may knowingly (with malicious intent) or unknowingly (because of poor training) bring their hands close to the treatment table and run them over the sides of the breasts. This should never occur. There is never a legitimate reason for the therapist’s hands to make contact with the sides of the client’s breasts.


Here is how it happens

When a massage therapist’s hands move down from the top of the client’s shoulders and return to the lower back, they should be on the edges of the back but never low enough toward the table to touch the sides of the breasts. The hands should move down the outer edges of the back. After they pass the sides of the breasts, the hands can move down onto the ribs.

If the therapist makes contact with the sides of the breasts, the client often feels confused about what just happened. The client is often relaxed and in a semi-conscious state when getting a massage and not alert until right when this is happening.


Was It an Accident or Intentional

In many of the sexual assault cases I see, the victim reports that she wondered whether the touch was accidental or intentional or even something they just imagined.  It’s hard for them to conceive that someone would do such a thing intentionally. At this moment, they become more alert and usually fearful, dreading what might happen next.


Progressing from Grooming to Assault

If the client does not react negatively, the predator therapist moves forward with a further assault. This might be touching the sides of the client’s abdomen when the client is lying face down with a light touch, more like foreplay than massage. Or they might slowly bring their hands under the abdomen and down toward the genital region. Or they might turn the client over on their back and touch the breasts or work inappropriately high in the upper inner thigh and begin brushing against or directly touching the pubic hair or vaginal area.


Predatory Massage Behavior: Touching the Side of the Breast | Dr. Ben E. Benjamin


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Ben E. Benjamin holds a Ph.D. in Sports Medicine and was the founder and President of the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He is the author of dozens of articles on working with injuries and chronic pain as well as the widely used books in the field, Are You Tense?, Exercise Without Injury and Listen To Your PainThe Active Person’s Guide to Understanding, Identifying and Treating Pain and Injury. Dr. Benjamin has been in private practice for over 50 years and teaches therapists throughout the country.

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