Strip Clubs: The stories are true.

EDIT: THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED. If you have comments associated with this particular article, please refer to the comment section at my new site: http://www.cottoncourtney.com/2010/03/21/strip-clubs-the-stories-are-true/#comments

This is my account of my Strip Club visit for my psychology Human Sexuality class.

Yes, this was seriously for a legit university course. I actually think it has a lot of merit as I learned quite a bit being thrown out there in the field. I got a raw look at fetishism, social norms, and human sexuality — in a way that a textbook could never teach it.

This paper is a story about an adventure to a strip club. The idea is to push the author’s sexual boundaries and understanding of human sexuality simultaneously. What I learned from this experience is that as open minded as I thought I was, I found out there are still some things I cannot handle, developed a firm stance on stripping, and have never felt so cheap in my entire life.

For this adventure I had to socially lubricate myself to the point of non-function. I did this courtesy of Jake’s $3 Long Islands on Thursday and yes I am over twenty-one, so the imbibing of alcohol was legal. In addition to socially lubricating myself I enlisted the help of two men, one fellow twenty-two year old and one twenty-one year old. Throughout this paper I will refer to the twenty-two year old as Two and the twenty-one year old as One. I originally attempted to go to the strip club without social lubricant only to find the idea too challenging while not under the influence of something that impairs judgment. This idea in itself is strange since the only way I could go to a strip club was if I had no judgment, which seems that my mind recognizes or associates strip clubs as something wrong or inappropriate even without having been to one.

When I arrived at Night Moves I walked into a dark building with black lights everywhere and the smell of tanning oil, or some mixture of smells, that I will now and forever associate with strippers.  As the evening progresses I will say now that my mind kept going to, “Exactly like you’d see on TV, but twenty times worse.”

I quickly sat down away from the stage because One and Two had been telling me horror stories, or what seemed to be horror stories to me, about how if women sit near stage they get pulled up or lap dances; thus, sitting as far away from stage as possible.

Now that we were seated I could remove my eyes from the floor and when I look up I was in complete and utter shock. Standing all around me were women wearing, well, nothing. They had bottoms or g-strings really, but there were boobs everywhere. Not one woman had a top on in this strip club except the ones who were not strippers.   I had a preconceived notion that when they worked the floor, like in the movies, they were covered up; I was wrong.

Next I looked to the stage where there were two women dancing. I must say, I thought it was interesting the way they danced. They were able to dance slowly and to me I saw sensuality in it, but the sensuality they started out with quickly turned to some series of actions of what I’m now going to refer to and name as the “Stripper Call.”

The Stripper Call is when while on stage the stripper looks out into the audience and focuses one particular area that has a male. She then begins to put herself on all fours, turn around so her rear is facing outward, and rapidly gyrate and shake “what her momma gave her.”  After the stripper has successfully made use of this call, a male wanders in and sits down on stage looking at her. Then the stripper will do one of three actions. I was there for about an hour and there were 4 different shows that I saw. One of the things I was never able to understand is why they chose a certain action over another action. Did how much money being waved play a roll or was it based on something about the customer?  I am sad to say I am unsure.

Thing 1) The strippers gets their boobs in the guys face and rub them back and forth also known as motor boating. If they have a top on at this point they will remove it. It is important to note that the only time I saw the women wearing tops was when they get on stage to dance … so they could take them off.

Thing 2) The strippers turn around into a doggy style position with butt facing the guy and rapidly gyrate and shake their butt. This is the beginning position of the “Stripper Call.”  What makes this different is that they begin to back their behind up closer to the guys face while doing this until it is almost touching.

Thing 3) The strippers get on all fours and face the guy, crawl over, and then turn to get into a missionary style position. From here they spread their legs in front of the guys and let the males heads get reasonably close. While this is occurring, they will sometimes touch themselves in a masturbatory fashion through their thong or move their hips up and down.

Honestly, I think these things are what shocked me the most. I had no problem stomaching the other things. They were a bit raunchy but it was to be expected based on what I had seen in movies. However, something else I had heard from various articles and online sources is that men aren’t allowed to touch and women touch only if they are doing a lap dance.  Here at Night Moves this was clearly not the case. The women touched the men with their boobs for a buck and when they were negotiating tip they would lean in and grab the side of the mans head and put their mouth next to his hear and whisper into it. I heard a girl once whisper, “It’s time to tip now.” This line was shocking as it just reminded me mildly of prostitution.

It was about this point that I had to use the restroom, but I was so terrified in this environment that clearly defines women as sexual objects and creatures to move. I was scared that if I even walked to the restroom these men who are looking at women like that would look at me like that. However, I convinced myself that this was overly judgmental of myself and silly. Why would anyone be looking at me when I’m fully clothed and clearly not a stripper? With this sound of mind I was able to get myself to the restroom.

When I came back One had gone up to the stage and Two was sitting back with me. I convinced Two to go up to the stage after another shot of delicious, frontal lobe suppressing tequila. Not even one minute after both One and Two had left me for the stage did a forty year old man walk up to me. His goal was evidently to shatter the sense of mind I had earlier about not being looked at. This man leaned in uncomfortably close and said the following, “Hey, you know, they like to do it to girls better than us guys, you should go up there and get some for me.” I realized that even when I thought I was invisible, I was still a part of some fantasy of this random male in a strip club. No, I was not a stripper, but that did not matter. The fact that I was a female in a club threw out social norms and put me into this strange and different viewing environment of women where this proposition is acceptable.

After this event I had just about had all I could take. I cannot describe how I felt. The scary thing is, how could I feel this way, but not the women on stage? Or do they? This overwhelming sense that you are there to sell yourself to any male and they will touch you and you will touch them and to them you are merely an object. The idea of that eats at my core, that I would ever been seen as a currency, as a thing that could be bought, as a thing – as an object.

After his little rendezvous on the stage One and Two came back. Two was shocked at the older gentleman story, which leads me to believe this must not be normal and a fluke, so that calmed me down to some extent. One then decided to get a lap dance from the women who had motor boated him on stage. The first woman to come around and ask if “You boys are looking for a lap dance,” was turned down by Two. He told her he was waiting and turned her down. Shortly after, the stripper he was waiting for came around and ushered him into a black booth area that is for lap dances. Supposedly this costs $20 and I later found out on Sundays it’s only $10! During this lap dance she supposedly called him a “good boy” Hilariously enough he told me he couldn’t remember anything else she said because he couldn’t focus on what she was saying.

When he came back he had a big smile on his face, which was further hilarity to me. In fact, if it weren’t for One and Two I would have been beyond a complete wreck. Somehow One really, really enjoying himself made the experience easier to deal with in the moment; that and the other tequila shot he bought me.

The experience starts to blur out right around this moment. I know One got another lap dance and went back up to the stage, but I merely have images of the place beginning to swirl. Women got up and danced and it was all the same, over and over again. They did the same things to men right and a row. I think what I noticed is that there was nothing special which I thought people like to feel special, but perhaps this is why strip clubs work.. It is a business deal in a sense, you get the same service and all you have to do is pay a nominal fee.

Near the end of the night girls would walk up to us.  The one that I remember the most is the one that said, “You boys tippin’ tonight?” I think the reason this one stuck the most was because it was so upfront. Other girls had said stuff like, “You studs want a lap dance?” or something along those lines. This girl basically spelled it out, “Are you gonna give me money to arouse you?”

The bottom line from this experience is that I will never go to a strip club again. I used to believe it when someone would tell me, “Well, I mean, it does empower women in a way, being able to show off their bodies and leave the men with their erections and no true satisfaction. “ In fact, a friend of mine who was a stripper is probably the one that said this to me. After actually being to one though I don’t necessarily agree. I believe it’s something that a stripper has to hold on to because she’s doing it and I would need that belief too. This is also one judgment I’m not going to apologize for because what these women do negatively affects me as a fellow woman. It makes it okay for men in this situation to look at women like they were looked at when they were considered property. It doesn’t empower us. At the end of the day you helped arouse and satisfy the fetish or needs of a man and he paid you to do this.

What I do believe is this situational belief is sometimes carried to things that don’t belong in the situation. When men talk about strippers outside of the strip club they frequently refer to them as breeding factories for STIs and with an overall lack of respect.  Then when you begin to talk about women who aren’t strippers, the tone becomes lowered. The case I have for this is at the beginning of the night a friend of Two and One joined us at Jake’s. He talked about his girlfriend before we mentioned the strip club and noted that he had a good thing going and really liked her. That she was sweet and nice and they had a good time together. Then we talked to him about the strip club and he began to say his girlfriend would break up with him. After jabbing at strippers and more convincing he said, “Why would I give up my source of constant pussy?” This was a complete turn around to what he had said before which was respectful. Now she was downgraded to just “a pussy.”

It was strange to watch this happen. Just by bringing strippers into the situation and the descriptions of them, this suddenly applied to a woman who was not a stripper. My interpretation could be wrong, but the general sense of talking about women for the rest of the night seemed to be less pleasant and more focused on sex.

I feel I successfully pushed my sexual boundaries and learned a lot in the process.  I got to really understand first hand what actually goes on at a strip club, with some understanding that each one will vary of course on their rules, and I got to come up with a steadfast opinion about stripping and how it relates to women’s issues. I also stared at scantily clad women for about an hour who were all super skinny, another strange phenomenon,  and walk out with my confidence still in tact. That’s just a bonus point for me.

22 thoughts on “Strip Clubs: The stories are true.

  1. Interesting…this was the sort of info I was after when I googled. It seems you hit the nail on the head with regards to the objectification and justification of it in the business. I’ve always been surprised at how many guys are uncomfortable with strip clubs for precisely these reasons.

  2. Yeah, I know not all guys are comfortable with strip clubs and that’s a relief.

    I think the most shocking part really was how talking about strippers and then talking about “regular” women would bring the opinion down of all women. That’s the part that bothered me the most of the entire evening.

  3. I enjoy reading this. I hate strip clubs. I hate the men who visit them. I tend to obsess about social issues. Reading this was interesting. Can you send a link to your main blog page?

  4. Pingback: Strip Clubs: The stories are true. (via [the.Blog]) « All Things Tarun

  5. Pingback: Strip Clubs: The stories are true. (via [the.Blog]) « All Things Tarun

  6. Hey Courtney… this was great. Tarun showed it to me, because we both have had a few conversations about strip clubs and how we aren’t okay with them. I guess none of it was “surprising,” but it just confirmed what I already thought. Except the part about how afterwards, when another guy was talking nicely about his girlfriend, and then he started degrading her once strip clubs entered the conversation. That is terrible. But it’s a solid example of how clubs, prostitution, and porn DO negatively affect men’s views of women, sex, and relationships overall, even when they aren’t in that environment anymore. That’s why I hate strip clubs, and I hate porn even more because it is so easily accessible. It’s just disturbing. All those strippers and all those porn stars are real women. The question you asked – Don’t they feel it too? The degradation… I have asked that myself. I feel pity for them. They are real people and they have subjected themselves to being mere objects.

    Anyway great post, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels so strongly.

    Kaitlyn

  7. I think your comments show a marked narrow-mindedness and are extremely judgmental. Your comments show that you are guilty of also reducing these women to objects that you used to make yourself feel superior. You disparaged their weight and reduced them to sexual objects before entering the club. Did you have a conversation with a dancer? Ask why she danced? Did you talk to a customer that wasn’t 21 years old and ask why they were there? You weren’t even sober so how did that color your observations.
    Men who go to strip clubs regularly go to fulfill emotional needs that are not being supplied elsewhere. To a man the transaction makes sense, you are paying for a service that perhaps in the real world these men cannot fulfill because they don’t meet a “real” woman’s criteria. In a club money is the great equalizer and there a man can pay for his intimacy and avoid the emotional complications that they may not understand. To dismiss these women for being more sexual than you and capitalizing on that is a wrong as dismissing you as an asexual prude who is sexually frigid and unable to satisfy a man and therefore transfers her own inadequacies onto others.

  8. @Katherine

    First, my mind became narrowed after this event. Not before.
    Second, men go to strip clubs for a variety of reasons, but it is a fetish. Now, that is a great article, but I redirect you to get some material from the Kinsey Institute which are the leading researchers on sex. I cannot obtain this for you, but lmgtfy.com would be happy to help.

    If you need lines from a HS Book, I can provide that. If I can find it.

    Textbooks, research articles, studies … are what I read. Not opinions.

  9. @Katherine

    Woah. Where am I making myself feel superior here? And how are they not sex objects — when that is the exact business they are in: skin. Can you point to exact lines where I make myself feel better?
    Also, when did -I- reduce them to sexual objects BEFORE I went? Also point this out, please.

    I actually had multiple interviews with the women. The reason why they strip does not matter. This isn’t about THEIR story. This is about how what they do affects the image of women. It started out that way, but if you step back from the individual and look at the picture, it’s amazing how your sympathy saps away — when I walk into a strip club and become the object of a man’s fantasy without supposing to be a part of it, this is a clear indicator the view of women in that place perpetuated BY these women.

    I wasn’t sober because I was mightily embarrassed to be walking into there. Of course I had connotations, misconceptions, ideas — but as I pointed out regularly my views were something not even close to what I experienced. In fact, I used to try to say it “empowered” women before this experience.

    No, they do not. They go there because they have a fetish. It’s called “sexual fetishism” — look it up. Coincidently, these women who are fulfilling this need are sexualizing themself and while you may not see the negative affects of this, I’ve had the opportunity to.

    As for that last string of just plain insults — the only person here showing esteem issues and/or inadequacy is you. You did the that moment you resorted to a personal attack fallacy and clearly did not read the article (based on some of the statements you made). That’s really your problem. I wrote about what I saw and I wrote my interpretations without the need to feel politically correct. By the way– I got an A+ on this paper.

    Also… believe me — after what I heard men say about strippers, the last thing I am is threatened. I believe the comment was, “I’d never sleep with that woman, it would be like sticking my dick in a hearse.”

  10. Wow! Thanks a lot for this. This is exactly what I was looking for. I’ve spent the last three days working doing a job as an electrician on the roof of a strip club. Although I had always kept away, I was pretty neutral about the ethics of these kind of places before. Your article does a great job of articulating what gave me such a yucky feeling during my brief time in the building. I’m against legal paternalism, so I can’t say that I think it should be illegal, but I really don’t think seeing guys fork out cash to watch girls who don’t care about them at all pretend to love them for a minute and bare their crotch at him is a healthy sexual expression for either party. Plus, as a male, I felt used in that place, and I was just fixing the lights. Everybody looks at you like you shouldn’t be there unless money periodically falls out of you. At the end of the day when I went to the restroom (which I did find impressively clean) to wash my hands, there were various items like cologne and mints and a jar of BlowPops on the counter. I thought, “Hey, free suckers, like at the doctor’s office.” Noticing a tip tray nearby, I thought I’d register my appreciation. But on inspecting my wallet, I didn’t find any ones so I decided against. Just as I was walking out a giant goon sauntered in and asked if I had tipped. When I replied that I didn’t have any ones, he treated this as a mark against my character and with a condescending finger point ordered me to replace the BlowPop. I was mightily embarrassed and got out of there as soon as I could. In short I think it is unhealthy to make women feel that they will be loved just as long as their bodies look a certain way and they are sexually pleasing and it is equally unhealthy to make men feel that they will be worthy of affection as long as they come off some loot regularly. I think both sides are diminished in this exchange.

  11. Thanks for writing that piece. I have been logically trying to understand my feelings of uncomfortableness regarding strip clubs. I noticed a change in my boy friend’s attitude after he visits a strip club. He becomes crude and vulgar. I don’t want him to touch me. I heard once that women set the tone of a society. Is this really what we want?

  12. You have no facts or anything in this paper. It’s a psychology course and there is no showing, psychologically, why the people in your paper were interacting the way they did. It’s just a story with your perception. It’s just about your beliefs from couple of hours drinking at a strip club and no facts to them up. ???

    “It makes it okay for men in this situation to look at women like they were looked at when they were considered property.” You’re obviously not a psychology major, and if you are, lord help us. That’s like saying if a woman is wearing something one would consider trashy or skimpy, it’s okay for her to be physically attacked by a man. Or if someone is obese, oh well, they eat too much they deserve it. What you need to think about is why do men go to strip clubs and act that way, and why do women. This paper is purely an experience you had that’s all.

  13. You expect us to believe that you wrote a serious report for a class when you admit to be socially lubricated?

    You went into the club sauced and with preconceived notions. Then, you describe the women as if you were a nun who stumbled into the club by mistake.

    Seriously, you sound like you’ve been socially isolated all of your life. College must have been a shock to you with all those women with dresses above the ankles.

  14. Gregory Marshall Smith is one of those loser guys who likes a strip club because he dislikes women, enjoys thinking all women are sluts, Probably has a terrible relationship with his mother.

  15. Hi. I understand your perception of the strip club. That was my perception also. It also depends on the type of strip club. I am a stripper or exotic dancer, whatever you want to call it. My friend started dancing because she thought she was pregnant and needed a way to save money fast. So she started dancing. She would tell me about the money she would make and I asked if there was anyother job there that makes good money. She said a waitress. So I applied. I got the job and my perception of the dancers and the idea behind everything made me sick. i was very judgemental. Untill I actually learned what really goes on did I start to understand it better. I still do not understand it sometimes. Well, it took me a year before i started dancing. Yes there are those guys who come in there who have bachelor parties. They probably call us names and they do degrade us. I work at a nice strip club. Our dances are $45 a piece. We are supposed to dance very sensual on stage. Yes we do have girls who dance raunchy. And i Do NOT like those girls. Because it makes me look bad. I dance very slow and sensual. The men that come and see me are very nice guys. Of course…with all the money they spend and with them coming there 1-2 times a week, you know they have some kind of psychological issue going on. They come in to talk to me, to get advice. They want to tell someone who will listen to them about thier feelings, about work etc. Usually these guys do not even want dances. Some guys have never been with a girl, they are “40 yr old virgins”. Coming into a strip club makes them feel like they have more of a social life with women. Some of these guys are friends to me and I care about them. I understand they do have some issues that could cause them to be potentially dangerous people. So I do not meet them outside of club. And we both have a clear understanding of that.
    I understand how your perception of the club you went to. I still have the same perception sometimes, even with some of the women I work with. But there is so much more to it. You asked if the women who are dancers, if we feel like we are degrading ourselves to objects of sex. I say no i do not feel like that. Ive never felt so good about myself since Ive worked there. The employees and regular guests treat us like princesses. When we do get the young crowd in or disrespectful guys in, they do make me feel uneasy, mostly because I know what they are thinking and how they percieve the situation. and how they treat us. The young guys, not all, try to grab us- (we are a non touch) and if they do they will get a warning, if they do it again they are escorted outside.
    I think psychology is very interesting. I was against strip clubs. But you cant fully understand it by just watching. Stage is a way to meet the guys. There is a lot more going on besides stage. Also you wanted to know how do we chose the guy to dance for on stage. I ask the dancer ahead of me, which guys are disrespectful or “handsy” We all help eachother out and avoid them. I also look at the clothes they are wearing ( which sometimes im wrong about them having money) and i look to see which one has laid out the most money, but besides that its pretty much random. Also Yes my job would be considered “adult entertainment”, but its nothing like porn or prostitution. I just wanted you to know a little bit more about the industry I work in. Not all strip clubs are like the one you visited. Which you clearly stated. Well good luck with your studies.

  16. @Courtney

    Crazy that you didn’t even accept that there are people with different opinions than you, Courtney. Pretty narrow-minded, for sure. I have to say that I used to be a dancer and I only spent, on average, 14 minutes a night disrobed. I made 99% of my money sitting and listening to the men who came in talk about their lives and be someone that actually LISTENS and respond to what they were saying. Most men don’t feel they receive that by their significant other and they are so desperate to feel like someone cares about them instead of uses them and then ignores them, that they are willing to pay a woman to sit and talk to them. I have studied psychology for a long time and it made me great at that job.

    Also, 85% of people who go to strip clubs are there for the traditional reasons: bachelor parties, birthdays, on military leave, etc. They don’t come for hours at a time. They just come to say they’ve been. That is not a fetish. That’s fulfilling an old, predictable social tradition.

    I am sorry you had a bad experience in an unusual club, but it wasn’t normal and you closed your mind right away.

  17. When I was 12 my mom went to her friends house for her friends wedding.
    They hired these strippers for the night just after the wedding.

    When I came down stairs to use the washroom.
    I seem one of the female strippers pick my mom out of a croud and brought mom up on stage and she actully stripped my mom naked up on stage infront of the many people there.

    They were cheering her on when she pulled moms underwear off when mom was actully standing up on stage full naked.

    But I never knew that some strippers would do that.

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  19. Every college student who has taken intro psych is somehow an expert on the human condition. I don’t think that one night visiting a strip club with preconceived notions qualifies as pushing your sexual boundaries.

    “This is also one judgment I’m not going to apologize for because what these women do negatively affects me as a fellow woman.”

    Your grammatical incompetence throughout your C- paper negatively affects me as a college student. Get off your high horse.

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