Massage parlours are not uncommon in India, and they’re usually frequented by men.
But the popular “male” tattoo parlor in Mumbai is one of the few where you can actually get a penis tattooed on your body, and it’s also one of only two that have a “boy” tattoo on it.
It’s called Massage sacramentos and the men at the space are men who have chosen the job because it’s “fun” and they don’t have any issues with their sexuality.
The men who use the space say they feel safer than ever in India.
“The men here are happy with the way they look, the way the tattoos are on, the men don’t feel threatened by their sexuality,” says one of them, who asked not to be named.
Massage sacramentoes are an emerging business, and the “boys” who work there are also mostly gay men.
The tattoo artists say that they often get the same feedback they do when they visit gay bars.
“They [the gay men] say that it’s a great opportunity, and that it gives them a lot of self-esteem,” says Massage Sacramentos’ owner, Ramachandra Singh.
“I’ve had a lot more gay men come to the place, they are happy to have an outlet, they say, ‘I’m not scared to go out, and I’m not ashamed of who I am, and if someone sees me in the bathtub with a penis on my body, I don’t think that’s anything against them’,” he says.
The men who work at Massage Sanctuary say that the gay men at their parlors are the reason why the business is thriving.
“They are happy and they are looking forward to having the experience of seeing their bodies, not only the penis,” says another massage sanctuary owner, Vadim Karpathy.
“We are happy that we are able to give these men an outlet and that they are getting a great experience,” he says, adding that the tattoo parls offer a safe and positive experience for all of the men who come in for their work.
“In general, the majority of these men are from rural areas, and in those areas, tattooing is not a big thing, so we feel safe,” says Karpathies partner Ramakumar Singh.
The tattoos are permanent, and there’s no risk of getting any sexually transmitted diseases, as well as no need to worry about having a patient or patient-carer who is not familiar with the business.
Massage sanctuary owner Ramakumas partner Ramacharas partner says that tattoos are something the gay community needs to learn about.
“I think tattoos are a sign of being a man.
It’s a symbol of a manhood, a sign that you’re a man, and so you have to be proud of that,” says Singh.