Although people are in an uproar about the Supreme Court’s decision this week permitting a strip search of those arrested for even minor offenses, it seems as though Venturans rather enjoy taking off their clothes for strangers.

Number of licensed massage establishments in Ventura County’s larger cities:
Simi Valley: zero, population 124,237;
Moorpark: three, population 34,421;
Oxnard: 22, population 197,899;
Camarillo: 29, population 65,201;
Thousand Oaks: 35, population 126,683;
Ventura: 60, population 106,433.

Sixty licensed massage businesses in Ventura. 60! Possibly rivaling the number of tattoo parlors, hair salons and liquor stores as the most sought out business venture in the area. The telling aspect about this statistic is that of supply and demand. Clearly, there is a salivating demand for massage businesses in this city.

While Ventura can’t spend money fast enough on branding opportunities for cultural tourism, the city may be missing out on the greatest opportunity of them all. … Ventura: The New Massage City.

I can already see the brochures and advertisements. And the billboards would be epic. Imagine somebody traveling along the 101, tired and weary from the road. Then, in all of its glory, a glowing billboard on the newly painted train trestle, “Tired? Let us rub you down. Ventura: The New Massage City.”


This is the answer. We could make headlines across the nation. Dare we dream?

We’ve been bogged down in a historic depression for years now. While we do appreciate the city’s attempts to bolster the art and music scene, the city should recognize our need to be coddled and caressed with fine oils. We deserve this. We all do. It feels good just thinking about it.

Yes. Ventura, The New Massage City. After tourists experience their lovely massages, they’ll be too relaxed to travel. So they’ll get a room for the night. They’ll check in, take a nap. Awake in time for dinner and will have to dine out. Then, maybe a drink and a live show. It’s so easy.

Let’s dare to be different. Let’s try this.

And if massage becomes the city’s cash-cow industry, more funds could be diverted to policing the industry and conducting investigations on those businesses that have garnered a reputation for human trafficking and/or sexploitation.

These plans could all be packaged and ready to appear on the City Council’s next agenda. Though city staff loves nothing more than to delay city projects with study after study, there is no need to waste study time on this. Obviously, large amounts of this hillside-living, beachcombing, avenue-strolling populace are extremely tense and stressed out. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be 60 competing establishments with licensed massage therapists, required now to have state certification (which takes hundreds of hours of study).

Apparently, Venturans need their pain rubbed out. They long to leave work, the kids, the wife/the husband and stroll into an establishment only thinking,

Exit here. Ventura, The New Massage City.  

Slapshot is a monthly column/op-ed piece on various issues around Ventura County.