Prostitution has been legal to varying degrees in Canada since laws were consolidated in the Criminal Code in 1892. However, changing societal mores through the decades sometimes make legal pay-for-play seem more like duck and dodge. Such appears to be the case today in Canada in regard to erotic Toronto massages.
Massage and Euphemisms
Businesses offering “massage” are numerous across Canada. Certainly “therapeutic” massage is legitimate and useful for mental and physical healing. By the same token, erotic massage parlors, embellished with euphemisms such as “rub and tug” parlors or offering “happy ending” massage, certainly provide equally effective treatment.
Nuru massage, a treatment consisting of a full “body slide” lubricated with a seaweed gel, has also become controversial since some see it as thinly-veiled sexual interaction. Ironically, nuru massage developed within Japanese adult erotic culture as a way to skirt laws prohibiting prostitution. Indeed some clients have said nuru massage, exotic and erotic as it is, can be superior to sexual intercourse.
By whatever name- erotic massage, rub-and-tug, happy ending or nuru massage- these treatments can provide healthy sexual release while remaining within guidelines for safe sex. In a liberal society this would seem to be a positive situation.
Current Canadian Law
Though prostitution is not specifically illegal in Canada, many activities surrounding it are illegal. It is illegal to operate a premise where prostitution takes place, procuring sex is illegal, and soliciting is illegal. Thus it is difficult to engage in prostitution without violating laws. This ambiguity has created confusion at all levels, from potential clients and providers to law enforcement and legislators.
Massage providers find themselves scrutinized by law enforcement that interprets the law to say that exchanging money for purposes of sexual release is tantamount to prostitution. Hence providers frequently insist, when questioned, that they provide “just regular massage.”
Allegations of human trafficking for sexual indenture are a stated reason for Canada’s recently revised prostitution laws known as Bill C-36. Put into effect in November of 2014, the law attempts to decrease the demand for sexual services by pursuing criminal charges against the customer rather than the provider. However, legitimate independent providers feel their ability to earn a living is impeded by this web of laws surrounding their enterprise which otherwise is legal.
Societies and governments worldwide wrestle with the problematic nature of “The world’s oldest profession.” The notion that legislation can eliminate, or even decrease demand for service does not stand up to any review of history on the topic. Erotic massage exists as a result of an aspect of human nature that will never be eliminated. Reasonable laws in this regard make sense for a liberal society.