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Massages must be one of the most loved activities for a night in, especially when they're topped off with an indulgent massage oil that will (literally) help the tension slip right off your skin. Not only are they a fun solution for soothing sore muscles, they're a great way to enhance intimacy—and really explore your partner’s body on a new level.
“When a lot of folks think about sexual intimacy, we automatically think about genital touch. The reality is that the entire body is coated in all of these erogenous zones, and exploring the rest of the body is not only a really great way to discover new things that might feel great to you,” says Lisa Finn, a sex educator and marketing director for sex toy shop Babeland. “[Massage] can also help to warm the body up, and help the mind and the body connect.”
Peep a few of the best massage oils, below:
Ready to get your rub on? Scroll down to check out the 18 best massage oils for every budget, scent preference, and level of hydration—and a few tips on incorporating massage oil into your self-care routine and sex life.
What to look for in a massage oil:
First off, if you're allergic to any fruits or nuts, make sure to check the oil's ingredients—especially if you're sensitive to almonds, since almond oil is commonly used in these products, says Finn. Even if you're not ingesting your massage oil, you still might have a reaction.
Beyond that, there are a few ingredients you might want. "Vitamin E is an added vitamin that helps to condition and soften skin, and it gives a lot of massage oils a really nice, soft glide to them," Finn says.
They also recommend coconut oil, which has tons of benefits, including antioxidant and antibacterial properties. "It's a really good carrier oil, which means it's good at holding a fragrance or other essential oils in it," Finn explains. "It also helps to trap moisture onto the skin."
How to apply massage oil:
Safety first! Finn recommends spot-testing your massage oil (on the inside of your forearm, for instance) before going ahead and using it everywhere.
Once you know that your body responds well to the oil, you can get going. If you're enjoying some solo time, Finn recommends touching parts of your body near erogenous zones, like your thighs, and giving yourself a sensual massage. You can also incorporate massage oil into partnered play.
"You can try using a blindfold on your partner and using massage on different parts of their body," says Finn. "This can be a good way to combine adrenaline with relaxation—the excitement of not knowing where hands are going to go next, combined with that intimate soft touch that massage can provide." She also suggests using massage oil during aftercare to enhance intimacy.
You can also use these products in a less sexual context. If you or your partner feels stressed, a massage can help, says Rachel Beider, a licensed massage therapist and CEO of PRESS Modern Massage. "Massage relaxes the body by bringing awareness, circulation, and pain relief to specific areas," Beider says. "You might be holding tension in places without even knowing it—massage helps focus awareness on those body parts."
Lydia Wang is the love & life editor at Women’s Health, where she writes and edits articles about sex, relationships, identity, and pop culture. She lives in New York and spends way too much of her free time reading romance novels in coffee shops and tweeting about her favorite dating shows.
Neha Tandon is the senior commerce editor of Women's Health—she's an expert in discovering the best products and services you can buy and giving recommendations. She discovered her love for magazines when as a teen, she started stealing her mother's magazines. Determined to see more women who look like her and her family members on the glossy covers of magazines, she was guided by seasoned editors and mentors to write for brands including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, BRIDES, Harper's Bazaar, Business Insider, Byrdie, and Well+Good. When she’s not grilling dermatologists about the latest skincare trends, she’s doing candlelit yoga or watching Humphrey Bogart movies over vegan pizza. Follow her on Instagram.
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