Should I have tipped extra?
By Kristy Alpert
I had heard rumors of so-called “foot-gasms” before, but they always sounded like the wishful thinking of people with more ~interesting~ fetishes than mine. I never thought one would happen to me, especially because feet, including my own, have always grossed me out. And yet, here comes the part where I tell you why that’s not the case anymore.
In 2015, I was 29 years old and spending a month in Bali to surf and earn my yoga-teacher certification. Every morning, I’d run a mile along a dirt path from the yoga compound where I was staying to the Balian Beach market so I could stock up on chocolate, chips, candy, and anything caffeinated for myself and the other girls who couldn’t stand the strict yogi diet we’d been asked to follow. I ran the same route, each time noticing a bright-green sign that read pijat refleksi massage, framed by images of two feet.
On my last week in Bali, the sign called out to my tired, aching body. I followed it down an alleyway, through a courtyard, and into what looked like a former temple, where I found a short, elderly Balinese man with thick, graying hair and deep-set laugh lines. He was wearing oversize athletic shorts and a polo about two sizes too big for his small frame.
“Foot massage?” I mimed in an embarrassingly dramatic gesture, pointing to my feet and squeezing the air with my fingers. He smiled, went inside, and returned with his wife, who explained that he didn’t speak English but, yes, he was a reflexology specialist. We agreed on three dollars for an hour-long foot massage, then the three of us made our way to a large wooden platform beneath a pergola.
I kept my clothes on but took off my shoes and lay facedown on a bed of beach towels layered on top of a makeshift massage table. I attempted to listen as his wife told me stories about how they had recently become grandparents, while I focused on trying not to kick her husband every time he shoved his knuckle into the center of my sore arches.
“You’re very tender,” his wife said, laughing loudly at my pain.
“Yeah, I think I really needed this,” I winced.
Twenty minutes in, I found myself finally relaxing and learning a lot about this sweet couple. But then, while lying on my back with my right foot in the man’s hands and his thumb pressing into a spot right above my heel, a strong, warm, tingling feeling shot up the back of my leg and into my pelvis. Despite my confusion (um, that felt too good?…), I didn’t make a sound. When he pressed a point beneath the pad of my big toe, it happened again, but this time, the tingle lasted longer and felt like I was getting close to having an actual orgasm. I silently freaked out.
And yet, as he held his thumb in place right below my ankle bone, the tingles ignited into pulses, each one getting stronger and deeper in my pelvic area. I pressed my lips shut to keep from yelping, and at that exact moment, I climaxed. My blood pounded in beat with each contraction, and my body melted into a deep release. I was mortified.
After about 20 seconds, the man moved on to another pressure point on my foot and my climax finally stopped. He looked completely unfazed, showing no signs of knowing what had just taken place. But I was still recovering from WTF had just happened: I had just had a completely nonsexual, uncontrollable, surprise orgasm on my way back from a coffee run.
I found myself giggling in utter disbelief into the table, my head cradled in my arms, as he gave my feet one final squeeze, then rose with a bow of his head. Frazzled and confused, I paid and said goodbye to him and his wife.
Back at the yoga compound, I sat on a lounger by the pool with the other yoga-teacher trainees, regaling them with the details of my experience. Their jaws dropped and their eyebrows rose. I asked if any of them had ever experienced anything similar. Finally, one girl broke the silence: “No, but I want to. How many massages can I get for 20 bucks?”
Four years and countless questions to massage therapists and reflexologists later, I’ve learned there are at least two spots on the foot that, when pressed, can trigger uterine contractions: the Kunlun point between the ankle and Achilles tendon and the Zhiyin point on the outside edge of the pinkie toe. I’m still unsure if my experience was because of the man’s particular reflexology pattern or because my body was having an unusually sensitive response to touch. But here’s what I do know: I haven’t had an orgasm from a foot massage since then…and I gotta admit, I’m kicking myself about it.