Women bond at strip clubs

June 6, 2003

On a girls' night out at a male strip club, women are more interested in female bonding than the sexual experiences pursued by their male counterparts, according to research, writes Natasha Gilbert.

In a study published in the journal Deviant Behaviour, Beth Montemurro and her colleagues at the division of social science, Penn State University, US, found that most women frequented strip shows as an opportunity for social interaction and were not focused only on their own enjoyment but rather wanted to share their experiences.

"We rarely observed women receiving attention from a dancer and not sharing the moment with friends," the study states. "This suggests considerable differences between women and men patrons in the sexualised atmosphere of the strip club."

The researchers observed that when women returned from a private dance on stage, they often gave friends a high five or hugged them. They also found that while some women were sexually aggressive towards dancers, most took a humorous approach, using dancers as props in pursuit of a good time.

"It is clear to those of us in the industry that women attend strip clubs for a giggle and men are more voyeuristic," Tristan Tristar, managing director of Adonis Cabaret, a Bristol-based male strip show, told The THES.

"This is why our shows have moved away from just beefed-up bodies to an all-round, comedy-style entertainment."

Dr Montemurro said that the women who attended the shows perceived themselves as sexually liberated and were confident with their sexuality.

She said that these findings called into question some stereotypes of women's sexuality but supported the idea that women are not as stimulated by visual-sensual material as men.

According to Dr Montemurro, women's sexuality is ambiguous, and taking a humorous approach to forms of sexual expression such as strip shows allows women to walk this difficult line in current society.

She said: "Women still have a rightful fear of being labelled a whore."

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