In most of the United States, erotic massage is considered a form of prostitution, and is therefore illegal. Massage as a practice in the US is heavily regulated by respective state boards, almost all of which prohibit any act deemed inappropriate for a therapeutic setting. For example, Section 29.1(b)(5) of the Regents regulations on massage practice in New York state prohibits “immoral conduct,” which is defined as massage of genital areas and massage of a client who is not properly draped for massage, or by a massage therapist who is not properly dressed. A licensed massage/bodywork therapist is, in fact, required by law to stop practicing the moment he or she suspects that the client would like something more than a good neck rub, shoulder work, etc. While there are erotic massage services available, they advertise discreetly, and rarely mention the full extent of their services.
However, as these regulations are mandated on a State level, there is an exception. The state of Nevada allows (but seriously restricts) brothels, and thereby, some establishments there are known to offer erotic massage services. In addition to this, local newspapers will advertise the availability of escort services and “sensual massage” which, most likely, mean some sort of erotic contact. In addition to this, Canada, depending on province, allows certain forms of prostitution and erotic massage. One can find any number of “massage parlors” licensed or unlicensed in Canada. The unlicensed parlors, as they typically do not employ licensed therapists, offer specifically erotic massage.
Outside of the American continent, an array of erotic massage services, are legal to the point of being regulated industries. Amsterdam is famous for its red-light district, which includes not only coffee houses in which one can purchase and consume marijuana, but also legal prostitutes. The Dutch government registers its sex-workers, allows them to join unions, and gives them access to social services. Indeed it goes so far as to require STD testing for the health of the workers and clients. Although recent legislation has put a freeze on the development of any more red-light zones within the country, the sex-industry seems to be alive and well there. One would assume that something like a good old fashioned, and legal, erotic massage would be simple to procure there.
Among other nations, Japan, Thailand, and New Zealand stand out as havens for erotic massage. Because Japanese law is famously lax regarding prostitution, prohibiting only full on coitus, there is quite an array of erotic services available legally. For instance, one can go to a “soapland” club, in which he or she (for a fee) is lathered in soap and “serviced.” The Japanese government actually regulates these and other (non-coital) sex services. New Zealand also openly allows a regulated sex-trade; wherein one can go to a massage parlour and receive any kind of massage service. Similar to the Dutch model, the country attempts to ensure the health and safety of their sex-workers, and ensures that full on prostitution only occurs in licensed brothels.
Of course there are plenty of nations in which erotic massage is highly illegal. Most notably, Chinese anti-prostitution laws have a zero tolerance approach to any kind of sex-work for money, mandating the death penalty for “organizers” of prostitution rings. Apparently, one will not find his “happy ending” in Beijing.