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Posted on December 15, 2023 in Sex Crimes

Are Sensual Massages Legal in Phoenix, AZ?

Being aware of the line that exists between professional massage therapy and potentially illicit activities is crucial, whether you are a practicing therapist or a client seeking services. While massages are recognized methods to alleviate stress and relax muscles, one needs to keep these situations and relationships professional due to legal implications in Phoenix.

What is a Sensual Massage?

Unlike traditional massages, which typically focus on relaxing muscles and relieving stress, a sensual massage aims at stimulating erogenous zones of the body to provoke pleasure. This isn’t something you would experience in most professional massage parlors or spas that follow regulations and acceptable practices.

Sensual Massages Are Illegal in Phoenix, Arizona

In Phoenix, Arizona, practicing sensual massages is against the law. A therapist must acquire an appropriate license endorsed by the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy to be permitted to offer professional therapeutic services.

According to the standards set by the Board and Arizona state law, massage therapists are always prohibited from engaging in sexual activities with a client, even if it is the client who requests it. 

The promotion of sensual massages oriented toward sexual gratification is strictly against the Board’s ethical code. This also covers any form of advertising that may imply that such activities may take place during massage services. Any possible breach by a licensed therapist runs contrary to professional standards and can potentially jeopardize their license status.

It is Also Unlawful For a Client To Solicit a Sensual Massage

As a client, you are also prohibited from requesting a sensual massage, even though you’re not bound by any licensing duties. In these cases, you can be charged with prostitution, which isn’t a matter taken lightly by Arizona law enforcement and the court system. If found guilty, the consequences can range from fines to jail time – or even both. 

Depending on the circumstances, prostitution can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Legal Defenses to Charges Related to Sensual Massages

As a defendant facing charges related to sensual massages, it’s pivotal to recognize potential legal defenses that can be raised.

False Allegations

False allegations – claiming you are innocent – represent a defense that could be used. In certain scenarios, an individual may wrongly accuse another person for various reasons, such as revenge or anger. 

To succeed with this defense, your attorney will analyze the summary of events as outlined by the accuser for any discrepancies or inconsistencies over time and across different statements made to law enforcement officials.

If you can demonstrate that the charges against you are based on false accusations, this could lead to dropped charges or an acquittal.


Misunderstanding is another line of defense that you can explore. In these cases, it might be possible that signals were crossed and intentions were misinterpreted during a massage session.

Proving a misunderstanding as a defense can be complex since it often becomes a case of “he said, she said.” To successfully utilize this approach, sharing your version of events is critical. 

You’ll need to present an accurate and unwavering account demonstrating that there was no ill intent or awareness of soliciting or participating in a sensual massage. 

Any evidence that reinforces your narrative should be gathered. This could include positive communications between you and the alleged victim after the incident allegedly occurred, which might help show that nothing inappropriate happened. 


Lastly, a misidentification defense can be used. In scenarios where the accuser has incorrectly identified you, you can raise this as a defense. This could be proven through solid alibi evidence showing you were somewhere else at the time the alleged offense occurred, meaning you couldn’t have been involved. 

Contact a Phoenix Sex Crimes Attorney for Legal Assistance

If you find yourself facing charges related to soliciting or participating in a sensual massage, it’s essential to act promptly and explore your legal options. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix sex crimes lawyer

If you’re facing charges, it’s always a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. For help,  Contact our law firm Orent Law Offices today to schedule a free consultation at (480) 656-7301

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