Therapists quit due to sexual requests
Qualified massage therapists are abandoning their profession in disgust after being inundated with requests for sexual services from men.
Christa Wiegand, a German woman residing in Qrendi, invested around €12,000 in a health and beauty clinic in Sliema several years ago, but closed down in December 2009 after being swamped with sexual requests from men.
Ms Wiegand has a medical background and had worked in a hospital for many years, as well as working in Libya as a company manager.
“I had always worked with educated people, and that’s what made these requests even more shocking. I’m 50. At first I didn’t even understand what they meant when they asked for certain things,” Ms Wiegand said.
In the beginning Ms Wiegand enthusiastically handed out flyers and struck deals with local hotels to attract clients. “All I got was guys calling me and asking these strange questions.”
The men were usually in their mid-40s and upwards, Ms Wiegand explained.
After telling them she was a medical therapist, she would ask about their medical problems, describe her procedures and emphasise that clients had to wear underwear or shorts, but still men arrived with no underwear and asked for ‘extras’.
“I’m sure it happens in every country but I was shocked by the demand here, and the excuses they would come up with,” Ms Wiegand said.
A typical excuse was that their wives were heavily pregnant and they needed some ‘relief’.
“Everyone knows where you can find women who will provide this, so why call me?
“Do they go to pizzerias to ask for Chinese food?
“How would they feel if their wives did the same thing,” Ms Wiegand asked.
The situation got so bad that she refused to be alone with male clients.
Last month The Sunday Times reported how prostitutes are offering sexual massage services alongside qualified massage therapists on local websites and in newspapers.
“We need these women (offering sexual services) to keep the streets safe, and the demand for them is definitely high. Let these women do their jobs safely but we need to find a way to distinguish them for us qualified therapists,” Ms Wiegand said.
She would like to see a legal distinction, whereby people offering massage therapy must have qualifications to be licensed. That way, people would know not to approach ‘therapists’ with sexual requests.
“The problem is at the moment people who have studied hard for qualifications to help people with medical problems are being associated with sex. It is insulting and it makes me feel sad, angry and cheap,” Ms Wiegand said.
She now has an arrangement with a hair salon in Qrendi who make private bookings for her, and she feels much safer as men do not associate the hair salon with sex.
Another qualified local massage therapist contacted The Sunday Times in the wake of last month’s article to say she had given up her dream job in disgust at men asking for sexual services.
The Maltese woman, who did not wish to be named, had left her career in the travel industry to train as a therapist because she believed she had “the gift of healing”.
She showed this newspaper a variety of diplomas and certificates she obtained from international examination boards to qualify as a physical and holistic therapist.
Altogether she claims to have paid around €10,000 to gain her qualifications, including private lessons, books, school and examination costs, uniforms and products.
After setting up her own small clinic she placed an advert in a national newspaper and she too was shocked at the sexual requests she received in response from men.
Six years down the line she grew so fed up of the sexual requests that she left the profession and retrained as a beauty consultant.
“I thought I had my dream career but it was sadly stolen from me,” she said.