Tantric massages deliver sexual pleasure and are subject to the same tax levied on brothels and swinger clubs in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart, a local court ruled Thursday.
The decision by an administrative court in the city followed a complaint by the owner of a massage studio who had been billed a total of 840 euros ($1,100) for January and February 2012 under a local "amusement tax".
The court said that a studio offering the massages falls under the same tax levied on businesses that provide the "granting of opportunity for sexual pleasures".
The studio owner had argued that Tantric massages should be exempt because "although the genital area is involved during the massage, the main purpose of the treatment is not sexual pleasure", the court said in a statement.
Rather, the owner argued, the massage is aimed at providing holistic well-being and self-awareness, it added.
But the court stressed that because massages including the genital area can be booked for a fee, the business fit the requirements of the so-called amusement tax which is calculated according to the size of the business.
"The question of whether the massages offered are focused on sexual pleasures or not, however, is not relevant to the case," the court statement said.
The studio owner can appeal the ruling.
Tantric massage is a type of full-body massage performed according to a ritual rooted in Tantric tradition.