To help explain the fine line, we will start by examining the legal definition of prostitution, as stipulated by the Minnesota penal code.
According to Minnesota Statute 609.321 Subd. 9:
“Prostitution” means hiring, offering to hire, or agreeing to hire another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact, or being hired, offering to be hired, or agreeing to be hired by another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact.
In the state of Minnesota:
“Sexual contact” means any of the following acts, if the acts can reasonably be construed as being for the purpose of satisfying the actor’s sexual impulses:
(i) the intentional touching by an individual of a prostitute’s intimate parts; or
(ii) the intentional touching by a prostitute of another individual’s intimate parts.
For the sake of the topless massage context, we can define prostitution as sexual penetration or contact with genitalia for hire.
A topless massage that follows the guidelines of normal massage practice would not be considered prostitution. However, if there is sexual contact involved at any time during the massage, then the legality of the situation may be compromised.
There are also regulations in Minnesota that govern the practice of massage therapy. Massage therapists are required to have a license from the state in order to practice. This rule extends to topless massage as well. Additionally, there are certain stipulations that licensed massage practitioners must abide by. These requirements vary by municipality, but in general:
· Home based businesses must not have a sign. (I.e. It must look like a home)
· No employees practicing massage therapy may live outside of the home.
· No more than 25% of the home may allocated to the massage practice.
· No building outside the home on the property may be used for the business, and there may be no separate entrance used to facilitate the business.
· Neighbors may need to be notified that business will be practiced in the residence.
· Approval by a council may be required to acquire a massage practitioner’s license.
If this conditions are met and the practitioner has acquired a license for their massage services, and if all laws regarding prostitution are followed, then topless massage is legal in Minnesota.
However, considering the amount of gray areas in the laws, law enforcement may still choose to launch an investigation against the practitioners and/or the clients. If you are questioned by police, arrested, or under investigation for prostitution-related charges stemming from a topless massage, contact an experienced MN criminal defense attorney right away.
Massage Therapist and Bodyworkers Guild