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From the outside, Oasis Spa looks like any drab Brooklyn bodega. To an untrained eye not accustomed to seeking out storefront massage parlors, the grimy red awning is virtually invisible among the artisanal coffee shops and Duane Reades in Park Slope.
But to an online community of hand-job connoisseurs, the spa is a destination, one of thousands of neighborhood "rub-'n'-tugs" that have swarmed into suburban strip malls and commercial thoroughfares across the United States, opening up a brave new frontier in the Middle American sex industry.
Of course, "happy-ending" massages have long been the worst-kept secret of the sex trade. Operating as legitimate businesses, Asian erotic massage parlors—most of which are run by Chinese or Korean operators—charge a house fee for a massage, and customers then pay an extra tip for whatever sex acts are performed.
Intercourse isn't usually on the menu, although some of the seedier establishments do offer "full-service" options and blow jobs. Asian erotic massage parlors, or AMPs, have proliferated across the US in recent years and now make up a significant share of the sex industry in several major American cities, according to a massive government-sponsored study on the underground sex economy released last week by the Urban Institute.