Step 1: Music and oil!
My first contact, Irene, took the time to address the topic of mood when giving a massage. She spoke about using oil, music, and lighting to set the mood… which is an aspect of massages I think a lot of guys don't take the time plan.
"If you use an oil, try to use a scent that they like," she said. "Or an unscented, water-based oil, because they can shower it off afterwards. Try soft instrumental music, because -- whether you like it or not -- you'll start going to the rhythm of the music, so if it's rock, you'll go too fast."
Ben Brown of Bliss Spa in New York had equally encouraging -- and highly specific -- words, too.
"You can and should set up ambience," insisted Ben. "This is a treat and you want her to feel special. Choose fragrances (lavender, rose, jasmine, sweet orange, for example) that appeal to her senses but are not overbearing. Use soft lights or candles but not so dark that you're fumbling. Some candles double as a massage oil. Please make sure you have the right kind, otherwise you have a waxy mess. Lastly, choose music that soothes and sets the right tone. However, you can be creative with your music choices, like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot to Joep Beving, Max Richter, Chad Lawson, and Bremer/McCoy."