Letters From Men Who Go to Strip Clubs

Journalist Susannah Breslin has started a compelling site called Letters From Men Who Go to Strip Clubs.

Yes, that’s all it is.

Here’s what a few big media outlets have to say about it. Salon: “A new blog gives voice to guys who empty their pockets just to see naked flesh, and reveals a lot about male desire.” Newsweek: “Gives men a chance to write anonymously about the complicated reasons they buy sex.” TIME.com: “[A]n online collection of purportedly real letters from sex workers and their customers.”

I’m sharing it with you because, as I see it, my job is help you understand how men think. Of course, every time I tell you how men think, somebody writes back and tells me that I’m wrong. I’ve always found it interesting – the concept of shooting the messenger – but as far as I can tell, I get shot mostly because a) you don’t want to believe that I’m telling the truth or b) you are an exception to the rule, which, of course, doesn’t negate the rule. I can say that it generally gets colder in the winter, and the fact that it may be 79 degrees in LA one day doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get colder in the winter.

In any case, Letters From Strip Clubs is a really entertaining read, right from the horse’s mouth, about why men go to strip clubs. I didn’t find any of it particularly surprising, because I’m, you know, a man. But it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

What resonates most to me is that all of the letters seems a little sad, which describes the state of a lot of men who are just looking for some sort of female connection. These men aren’t to be scorned. Pitied, maybe. But mostly, I hope you understand their loneliness and understand why I spend a lot of time trying to get you to give men a break. You don’t have to like strip clubs, but you can’t deny that their prevalence fills a temporary need for millions of men – not all of whom are scornful perverts, I assure you.

Your thoughts are appreciated, as always.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Hmmmmm

    Interesting reading, Evan.  Judging only by those who’s letters I read, they’re a sad bunch. Too bad this is the only way they’ve figured out to fulfill their needs. There are certainly better options.  I thought this said a lot about one segment of those men…

    “Everyone’s sad. Especially men at strip clubs. The patrons know it. The strippers know it. The guy out on the highway who couldn’t afford the cover charge knows it.”

  2. 2
    ValleyForgeLady

    This is so very sad!  What is the take away from this?  While I was reading this…. I received an email from a guy on POF who clearly stated that he wants a Friend with Benefits beause he essentiallly has given up on love!

    What is a decent, loving women supposed to do with this scenario?  I know this is very prevalent.  The availability of porn has not helped.

    How much darkness exists in the souls of the men I meet on line?  This stuff has me totally discouraged.   Where is the hope of love from a decent man?

    With all the moral depravity of men in the news and the deer in the headllight looks of their wives….What chance do I have of finding a decent man?       

  3. 3
    Alicia

    It seems that most men that go to strip clubs (of the ones that I know) are young (19-30) with no girlfriend or serious relationship. Or you get ones like the letter about the gay man (which was a good read).

    Then there are ones like on the Letters site that can get love but choose to go outside their relationship. I firmly believe that if you can’t talk to your partner about problems or fetishes (among other things), your relationship isn’t all that solid. Your happiness should matter to the person you’re with. Selectively being honest with your spouse or significant other is, in my mind, still lying. We’ve all heard that it is bad to base a relationship on sex or on dishonesty, so I find it hard to pity anyone (male or female) that goes outside their means. If your SO is fine with it though, more power to you.

    Interesting read. Thank you for posting the article. I shared it (and my response) with both males and females, and we’ve all enjoyed debating on it.

  4. 4
    devymetal

    “So long as everyone involved simply enjoys the game, all is well; but the moment someone needs more than the game, they absolutely cannot have it, and so they stand there, open and raw and unable to share. Most of the other dudes are too engaged to notice, but the detached strippers and the detached gay man notice.”

    The “I Am Gay” entry.

    I think the take-away here is that perceptive people notice the sometimes tragic or desperate undertones in the interactions that occur between strippers and clients. It’s impossible to have an informed conversation about the experiences of men who frequent strip clubs without mentioning the sometimes brutal reality that is life as a stripper. The key difference here is that the men get to go home at the end of the night and shake it off, the women… not so much.

    I’ve known a lot (hundreds) of strippers, and if you knew how poorly they were treated by the management, how little any of them actually like the job, how untrue the myth of stripper-as-empowered-woman (who somehow loves to be endlessly propositioned for paid sex and is miraculously undamaged by it etc.– another reality of being a stripper) is, you probably wouldn’t want your boyfriend/husband to go to strip clubs for entirely different reasons. There are exception, but painfully few– most strippers hate the job, are desperate for money and feel incapable of finding a better source of income.

    Many of these young girls (especially in Manhattan) are from Russia, the Caribbean or Brazil and can’t work legally in the U.S. So they feel trapped, like any other population of undocumented workers, and are therefore more vulnerable to making bad decisions out of fear of deportation. Also, almost all strippers (I don’t have the statistics, but extensive personal experiences has taught me this) have one or more of the following issues: 1.) Drug problems, often including past arrest histories which haunt them forever, employment-wise 2.) Are single mothers 3.) Are trying to support family members either here, or just as frequently in another country, whom they hope to bring here 4.) Are sexual abuse survivors. These are facts. If you want to believe otherwise, well, a disproportionate amount of the very few outliers who have stripped long-term and didn’t fit these statistical norms have written books and blogs and profited from it. In fact, I never met a well-adjusted student with better options who didn’t quit after a few shifts. NEVER.

    In short: I just can’t stand the way modern media and society in general portray strip clubs as bastions of male fantasy fulfillment wherein nobody really gets hurt but perhaps the long-suffering girlfriend or wife at home. That isn’t true, and has never been true. 

  5. 5
    StrengthThruSuffering

    I agree with devymetal. It is nearly impossible to talk to most men about this and get a 100% honest answer about his motives. He will either not talk or leave out bits and pieces to protect himself from the pain.

    Another point that devy made was about characteristics of strippers. That reminds me of a TV show I watched once. It had the line “Stripper stories always come in threes; 1) single mother, 2) working through college, and 3) drug addict.” It’s humorous to me that someone else knows that too.

    One thing that has always puzzled me is men who meet and ultimately date strippers, like the man who wrote about it. I thought many men were too jealous/competitive to allow strange men touch their womens’ erogenous zones.

    The point is that it is terribly sad that men feel the need to pay for companionship, when just going to a bar would be easier (and cheaper). Strip clubs are really a no-win situation for the stripper, patron, and family of the patron. Porn addictions seem to make strip clubs and paid companions more prevalent and that is miserably pathetic.

  6. 6
    Quinn

    @devymetal
    I was a stripper for a couple years while I finished up my degree, so yes, ‘well-adjusted students’ do strip, and while their were certainly some women there with no other options, some were just like me- normal, intelligent women with a bit of a wild side. 

    I LOVED my job for the exact reasons many of these men were there.  I got the chance to connect with many men on a pretty deep level.  I got to make lots of sad strangers feel really special.  I got to dance and be as all out sexy as I wanted.
    It was not all sunshine and roses, some men were perverts or jerks, but the vast majority were good people who just wanted some attention from a beautiful woman.  I learned some valuable lessons about what men want, and what a lot of men are most likely missing in their long-term relationships.  Warmth, openness, eye-contact, someone to really listen, and the feeling that they are strong and in control, the ability to say “I want you” or “I want this” and have it delivered freely and sincerely.  (and yes, I was genuine and sincere with those who were that way with me)
    just wanted to put another perspective out there…

  7. 7
    AnnieC

    Agree with Devymetal also. The illusion that most strippers are doing it because they really want to is really disturbing. What some of these men are saying is also disturbing.

    Some of it however, shows how lonely they are. I don’t understand how going to a strip bar, or a prostitute takes that away but it is sad to see that loneliness. I wonder why that happens? What about friends, family etc?

  8. 8
    Trenia

    One word comes to mind: selfish. It’s one thing to go to strip clubs and use sex workers to fulfill whatever desire you have when you’re single, but it’s quite another issue entirely when you’re in a committed relationship with someone and your finances and sexual health are tied to someone else. Not to mention how so many of these women (and girls) are often forced into this kind of work, and the numbers are rising. These are grown men, they can do whatever they want, but there is a ripple effect to the choices that they make.
    In terms of sexual exploration, I bet many of the wives and girlfriends of these men would be willing to sexually explore with them, but because so many men still have this Madonna/whore complex when it comes to women, it makes sexual exploration very difficult. Meaning, if a woman performs a sexual act that a man associates with what he’s experienced in a strip club or with a sex worker, he may think less of the woman in his life. I’ve heard some men say “if she’s that nasty with me, I can only imagine where she learned it”, or something to that effect.
    I read some of the letters, and I’m always fascinated by the number of men who talk about that one girl who rejected them publicly in the 7th grade and they never got over it, so that became their excuse for all of their bad behavior with women. But if a woman is still nursing a broken heart after being dumped a few weeks before her wedding, she’s castigated because she hasn’t “gotten over it” yet.
    Herein lies another problem between men and women, men want to be understood, explore more sexually but have no patience for a woman who may feel a little needy and anxious because she’s not married by a certain age.
    @Quinn #6, I’m glad that your experience was positive as a stripper. But my guess is if you were doing it as a college student, the club you were in probably was a little bit more upscale than most (correct me if I’m wrong). I used to work with strippers, sex workers and sex trafficked girls, and trust me, there was nothing fun or pleasingly sexual about what I saw. What i experienced through my work was sheer horror, not only at how the women and girls were treated but by the supposedly “good men” who stood by, watched and did nothing.

  9. 9
    Dan

     
    When treating other people, true character is about treating people with respect. We all know what that is like when we are on the receiving end in dating and relationships.
     
    This applies also to people based on what they do to earn money. Sadly, devymetal’s comments @4 reveal a harsh reality of stripper’s lives. Still, strippers are people who deserve respect, particularly from the men who go to a strip club. But they should also deserve a nonjudgmental attitude from the rest of us. We don’t know about the life of any individual stripper. Yet, I feel a tone of scorn or disgust in some of these replies from the women here. Is this because this is a gut emotional reaction? I believe that at a primeval level, women are threatened by other women who may be sexual competition. I’m just stating a possibility that may be hard to accept. Kudos to EMK for putting this post out there to generate this reaction.
     
    I also want to address the negative views that women make about men who go to strip clubs. I see words here like “sad bunch.” I don’t see how that is any more sad than an unloved man or woman who is lonely and seeking love. In this regard, this sad bunch could be any of us.
     
    I didn’t read a lot of the letters on that blog. The first one I read, “I am very much an introvert” (Nov 30, 2011) was very sensitive and touching for me. It was from a shy guy who was hurt when, as a 13 year old, his crush was mean to him. Then he was hurt many times after that through high school. My heart goes out to him. In dating, males have to make the first move. I don’t think females at that age know how much hurt they can inflict on a sensitive boy who makes such a gesture for the first time. People are sensitive, and scars last a long time. This is one of those key differences between men and women that women will never understand.
     
    So he goes to a strip club as a college student as a way to meet women who at least will talk to him, deymetal4′s comments aside. I don’t see anything wrong with that. That letter very much reflects my own early life of shyness, rejection, hurt and loneliness. Some women think it is sad and pathetic that a high school or college guy can’t at least talk to other female peers. The reality in our early 20′s is that in a bar or dance club and even in a social group, shy guys are edged out. In their daily lives, they may have one female friend, likely just as shy and geeky as them. That is hardly anything near having enough social experience with the opposite sex.
     
    AnnieC@7: I wonder why that happens? What about friends, family etc?
    The vast majority of men don’t share their deep feelings with their friends and even family the way women do. That is another key difference between men and women.
     
    Like that man, I also went to a strip club a few times on my own while I was in college, because I had no other way of talking to women, as I thought that would help. I didn’t know anything about devymetal4′s points at that age. I bought a few beers and just watched the stage show, because I was too shy to strike up a one-on-one conversation or ask for a table dance. I haven’t gone back since then. This was my reality and I think I am decent, caring and thoughtful guy.

  10. 10
    Teresa

    qunn

    you make it sound all warm and fuzzy the bottom line however is that your interactions with these men were a financial transactions pure and simple. When human interaction is reduced to that level it very sad to me.  

  11. 11
    Sayanta

    Very interesting article EMK – thanks for sharing. What’s interesting is how some female posters are not acknowledging the pain that these men have gone through- choosing to judge instead. (not that ive never judged myself but it’s obviously easier to call out other people for doing thing than yourself).

    It’s a refusal to acknowledge or listen to the other side of things– the kind of attitude that colors your interaxn w/the opposite sex.

    I’m really glad, again, that you posted this. It’s just one article, but it’s broadened my view a bit.

  12. 12
    Teri

    The strip clubs aren’t half the problem.
    Any idea how many men MARRIED men… REALLY use Escort services and Asian massage parlors?
     Do a study on that one. you’ll really be choked up. More men use these outlets then they do strip clubs.

  13. 13
    AQ

    what a mess

  14. 14
    Vicki

    I’m glad that shy men go to strip clubs. I don’t hang out in strip clubs, so I’m guaranteed never to meet them. :)
     
    I’m glad I meet men through volunteer work and through my friends. There’s a 99.9% chance I will never meet a guy like the ones who go to strip clubs –  because they’re too awkward to talk to women in normal day to day life. They could only ever meet me in normal day to day life and are (fortunately) too shy to speak to me. :) I’m glad they have an outlet, even if it’s a sad one. At least it keeps them out of my path. 
     
    I don’t hate shy men, I just prefer dating socially well-adjusted, people-person types who are able to at least hold up their half of the dinner conversation.
     
    I’m an introvert too, but in my experience, introverted men are practically pre-verbal. As a woman, I may be shy, but I can still hold a conversation with a stranger (even if it takes me a bit longer to warm up to them).
     
    I had dinner once with an engineer who barely participated in the conversation. I would ask him questions about his work, hobbies, etc. I swear to you, his answers were all less than 5 syllables. I could NOT get a conversation moving with him, and that’s really a big deal-breaker for me.
     
    He might have been a very nice guy, who made loads more money than I’ll ever make, but I am looking for a companionate relationship, not just a robot who takes out the trash and pays the electric bill.
     
    For shy men reading this, please don’t feel slighted. If you have trouble talking to women at work, in bars, etc,  then join a book club, volunteer for an animal shelter or sign up for a yoga class. You’re almost guaranteed to be the ONLY guy in the place, and after a few meetings/dog walks/classes, you’ll have had at least a few decent conversations. The regular contact with the same group of women will at least give you time to warm up to asking one of them out for a cup of coffee.

  15. 15
    lawyerette

    What was interesting to me is how many of the men said they go for the conversation – given the stereotype that men don’t want to talk to the women in their lives. Hmm. My takeaway is to offer a non-judgmental ear to the men I date, because it seems that men appreciate that.

  16. 16
    still looking

    When I was young, strip clubs were exciting.  Now they are downright boring and sad.

    While some of the women fly into town on a weekend to make more money than they make M-F, and some of the guys are out with a bunch of friends for a bachelor party, the day to day workers and attendees are downright sad.

    When I was younger I’d go with a friend on a Sat night and watch some poor guy buy table dance after table dance until a good percentage of his weekly paycheck was gone.  Once the money was gone, so were the girls.

    The women seemed to fall into two categories == sad and sadder.

    Needless to say, I don’t hang out at strip clubs any longer. 

  17. 17
    Kathy

    How edited are the letters on that blog?  I only ask because they all seem so well-crafted… as though they were all written by journalists rather than by regular run-of-the-mill guys who go to strip clubs.  Does Ms Breslin heavily edit/ re-write the submissions?
    In any case, I think the situation is sad.  No.  I’m not saying that the men who are going to strip clubs are sad.  But I think it’s unfortunate that there are so many lonely women (like me) looking for a kind man who they can snuggle with and talk to and so many lonely men (like many of these letter writers) who long for female companionship and attention… and yet, we somehow cannot connect with each other. 
    I do wonder if I’m being expected to “live up to” the unattainable example set by strippers.  They are never allowed to get fat, be grumpy, look tired, act as though their client doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Do men who go to strip clubs start to imagine that this is the way that women should behave?  Tough to know…

  18. 18
    Erin

    I am really trying to feel some compassion for these men that wrote the letters. And some of them I do. The 24 year old man that’s lonely and just wants someone to talk to, I feel compassion for him. But most of the men centered around, not wanting female companionship, so much as wanting hot young female companionship. There were men who wrote letters who were over the age of 35, married, talking about the things these strippers gave them that they clearly don’t/can’t/maybe didn’t even want? to get from their wives. Is that their wives fault? That she can’t be a 20 year old stripper? It’s clearly the young stripper that makes them feel good. It’s the young stripper they are seeking to meet their needs. It’s the young stripper with the pretty body they want over their own partners who inevitably aren’t as beautiful as their own partners. I don’t really get the impression that these me are seeking companionship so much as young companionship. As one man said:
    “Last year I got together with 10 high school friends. We are all 42 years old. Most with degrees and married. 2 are “strip club guys”. If there is an opportunity, they are dying to go; its in their dna. The rest of us are “sure, why not” types – strippers are sexier than the women we are usually with. In a group, its entertaining and fun and different and erotic. If only 2 guys go, it breaks up the monotony and is erotic. If you go alone, more likely that you have some type of problem.”
     
    Strippers are sexier then the woman they are usually with. Obviously their heir wives and partners/girlfriends. What are we suppose to learn from that? Because in that message, I just feel beat down then as a woman when it comes to men lately. Men want 18 year old girls, pretty perfect bodies and even if they marry you, the are going to seek that out through strip clubs and porn.  
     
    These men might be lonely but some of them are choosing to be lonely. They rather pay young hot girls for an hour of fake attention then learn what it takes to relate to women outside of a fantasy situation. That seems to be the real problem. The desire to manifest women into a fantasy and preferring using that to their advantage then doing the hard work it takes to work with real women in the real world. And that makes *me* as a woman feel more alone then ever.
    But the difference is that there is no place that I as a woman can go to get the same fake relief with men that men are apparently getting through strip clubs. I can’t complete with porn and strip clubs and the expectations about my own body and aging process that men hold up to women. I am most absolutely not as hot as any stripper. Men would not pay to see me dance. If men want strip clubs and porn, they got them. But I can’t feel vulnerable and soft hearted for them because their loneness seems to steam more from a superficial place then one born out of really wanting to know and relate to women. They don’t really want real women, real affection, real relationships. Alot of them talked about being happy with the what they knew was fake because the girl was hot enough.
    One 61 year old man talks about how it’s “revenge” for all the young women he wishes he could have but can’t. Revenge because younger women don’t want to be with 61 year old men? What? He’s lonely only because he is 61 and wants 20 year olds. Another man talks about being married to a beautiful woman but it’s not enough for him. He needs release through other women with big fake boobs. What am I suppose to understand from this? I get that message everyday from the media. That I’m not pretty enough. That I am not young enough. That I am not really want men want in a world full of younger prettier women then myself. And that men rather pay prettier women for an hour of fake attention then work with me for a real relationship where real vulnerability and closeness would take time and where I am not nearly as hot as what they could get at some swank strip club. 
    And those letters seem more of the same. Yes, some of the men are lonely. But they also only want the hottest or youngest woman they can get and will pay for a hour of time with a young hot woman rather then take the time to relate to their own wives or real woman which is obviously much more difficult and who obviously aren’t nearly has sexy and beautiful. I feel for *some* of those men that clearly struggle with their relationships. But most of the letters seemed to be centered around men that had women in their lives yet still were seeking out things from women in strip clubs they clearly couldn’t or didn’t want to get from their own partners. I don’t understand how this is suppose to help in my relationships with men. It just leaves me feeling more resigned to the fact that I am never going to be the type of woman men apparently need or want. Which by the letters men wrote is perpetually young, hot and sexual. I’m just me. And I know that in today’s world with so many visual options for men, I’m not good enough. I try to do the best I can. I’m lonely too. But those guys wouldn’t care that I was. 

  19. 19
    Kim

    I have often been told that I am emotionally a woman, but sexually a man. And I would agree, when it comes to sex I like variation, both in style and in person, in the conquest in itself, and the unbridled bliss of having little to no emotion connected to the act.

    The downfall?
    In relationships, I can never connect sex and love, and that’s to say I even know what love feels like. I am a swinger, and a bisexual. I go to parties and now that I’m in a relationship currently, I find it hard to enjoy sex with a man I love. I haven’t cheated on him, I am 100% faithful, but I yearn to have sex with other people (and he knows and allows this – as long as we swing as a couple). I love the challenge of trying to have sex with someone new, someone possibly out of my league. I love the game of seduction and the power it gives me when I get compliments on my talents.

  20. 20
    AnnieC

    @18 Erin.

    You sound so sad, but don’t give up. Yes, some men will want that, and really haven’t you ever looked at a 20 year old male, with a great body and gone ooo he’s hot? We just don’t get aroused in the same way that men do in this regard usually.

    I do agree with you though, that the “I want a young, hot, pretty thing beside me”, is purely about ego and validation. But really, so what? Would you even want to be with these types of men? Let them have their fantasy and they can spend their entire lives/paychecks on women who don’t want them.

    I’ve heard those revenge comments too, and it just shows that 40+ years later, the man is still holding a grudge. Would you want to hold a grudge for THAT Long? What a waste of life to hold onto bitterness.

    And yes, some of the men were sad, and wanted a woman to talk to. Those are the ones I can feel some empathy for. 

  21. 22
    Erinlee

    Vicki post #19 wrote:  There’s a 99.9% chance I will never meet a guy like the ones who go to strip clubs –  because they’re too awkward to talk to women in normal day to day life.

    Do you really think this way?  Is this some sort of self validation to make yourself feel like you are too good for any guy that would go to a strip club?  I think this statement is completely irrelevant because you are lumping a lot of people into one lump sum, “too awkward to talk to women in normal day to day life”.  You must be saying this to make yourself feel better. 
         Must it all be about people who are so sad or lonely?  Can it not be viewed as another form of entertainment?  There are issues with many of the ways we as humans entertain ourselves, not only this one.  In no way am I condoning mistreatment of women, but any establishment I have been in, mistreatment was not apparent and the women were treated with respect by patrons of the establishment as well as other staff.  
         I must assume that the majority of the women commenting on this post with anger and bitterness, are jealous of the thought of their men possibly being entertained by a stripper.  What world do you live in?  Men are visual, they like looking and that’s not about to change anytime soon.  Go ahead thinking that every man in a strip club is sad lonely and to be looked down upon.  Just remember that last weekend or next, it could be YOUR husband/bf there for some fun with the guys.  Plenty of sane, healthy, normal men in committed relationships attend strip clubs to unwind and have an entertaining evening.  Would you like to work with the way a man thinks, or against it?  Find some confidence in yourself to believe you are worth loving.  If you have this, then when the right man comes along for you, it won’t matter so much if he enjoys the occasional trip to the strip club, because he’s loving and loyal to you every day of the year.  Women cannot blame men/strip clubs for their own personal confidence issues.  If you think you need to look as good as a stripper to attract a man, you have some serious work to do with yourself (emotionally and mentally)

  22. 23
    mvlikesbikes

    While I think the self-professed loneliness is kind of a cop-out (how many opportunities are they missing to genuinely interact with women they come across in their day to day lives, only those ones don’t match their physical ideals?), and it’s plain sad in the long run, because they’re just reinforcing for themselves that they’re not worthy of female contact unless they pay for it, I can muster up a little leniency for men in this area. I think their programming runs incredibly deep, firstly because men are far more visual than women when it comes to stimulation, and secondly because they’re bombarded with images of women as sex objects with little or no counterpoint to this perspective, so objectifying women comes to feel like the norm for them. (Heck, women regularly objectify other women; that’s why all the beauty mags are so profitable.)

    I argued about this a lot with my ex-, and he told me that getting him to change his enjoyment of female nudity would be like asking him to change his accent – unnatural and extremely difficult. And he didn’t appreciate being made to feel demonized for something he believed was an unconscious response on his part. So he did manage to make me feel a little compassion for him there.

    All that said, I’m not with him today, because I felt like his whole world was centered on image and appearances, and not a lot of substance. I think his inability to genuinely interact with people without putting on a “show”, his vanity, and his constant defense of strip clubs and Playboy/Maxim were all related to the side of him that lacked authenticity.

    Anyway, just to get back to the original topic, I luckily married a guy who thinks strip clubs are boring and kind of gross, so there’s no debate to have in my household. I don’t think I would have ended up with someone for whom strip clubs are “good fun”. So I guess I do think they’re pretty distasteful and something I just wave off as something other people do. I don’t really care to launch an all-out crusade against them. In fact, when lap dances were banned in my area a few years ago, I did sign the petition to repeal the ban, thinking it was bit of an overreach. I wouldn’t put my foot down if DH were invited to a bachelor party for a friend or something, as I’d trust him to keep the whole thing in perspective.

    As for the whole female empowerment thing, I think there there are those who get a real charge from exhibitionism (the absolute opposite of me; I don’t think I could ever strip even if I had the body simply because I’d hate all those eyes on me). And I think there are a tiny subset of strippers who are truly stronger and more confident from the experience, albeit a little more cynical. I have a happily married friend who did a lot of nude work while she got her Masters in Journalism at Columbia. I also remember going to an “erotic lit” reading one night, where the keynote was a former call girl who held a Phi Beta Kappa key. Obviously, those women weren’t particularly slowed down by their pasts. However, I feel those women are rarer than most would have you believe. In fact, the ones I’ve met who most loudly advertised how empowered they were as strippers/fetish workers turned out to be the most damaged of them all.

    As for the presence of pornography in my house, I own some of my own well-hidden erotica (like the euphemism?), so I wouldn’t really have a leg to stand on if I wanted to keep DH from having his own. He just doesn’t own any because he says it’s not his thing. But I do think you would want to keep anything objectifying (especially porn) away from your children for as long as possible. I think it could really mess up the way they relate to others as they form friendships/dating lives/romances of their own.

    At the end of the day, maybe the 61 year old  guy – gross as he sounds – was the most honest:

    “I’m old in years – 61 … and I like to think this is my revenge for all the beautiful women in the world whom I can’t approach, whom I can’t get, this idea that I can have some young beauty dance and smile at me any time I want.”
    (<— ewww! ewww! ewww!) LOL.

  23. 24
    Ann

    I’ve asked a couple of guys who go to strip joints if they’d ever marry a stripper. They were shocked that I’d even suggest such a thing. Of course, they wouldn’t. I told them that it was really puzzling as to why they wouldn’t. In one breath they’re saying how acceptable strip joints are, but somehow being a stripper is not an acceptable profession?

    Hypocrisy is funny. There’s nothing wrong with creating demand for something, but there’s something wrong with providing the supply. Suckers!

    1. 24.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Ann – Sigh. Of course, men will frequent strip clubs and not want to marry strippers. Plenty of women would sleep with rock star or a sexy surfer or charming poet, and not think that those men are marriage material. Sexual desire is completely different from commitment. The second you get that, the second you’ll do better at understanding and connecting to men.

  24. 25
    Nicole

    So are we acting as though male strippers don’t exist and women don’t ever fantasize about sexy men with “perfect” bodies?  

    B/c I don’t know if it’s an age thing or not but you’d swear that women never went to strip clubs, looked at porn, or ever thought of anything but their one true Prince Charming.

    I’ve been to a strip club, and some of my female friends were regulars at some clubs in the past, and those places were packed to the gills with women of ALL ages who were throwing money down like there was no tomorrow.

    So stop the hypocrisy ladies.  Sometimes it’s nice to look at stereotypically pretty/handsome people and it doesn’t make you some kind of a degenerate or sleaze or “cheater” if you do that.  

    If it’s not an addiction that is keeping you from functioning and you aren’t throwing your whole paycheck at a stripper or never come home,  I really don’t care if men go.  Looking at a naked lady/man online or in real life in that setting is to me the BEST way for people to live out fantasies.  And I think that having a regular boys’ night or girls’ night out is more conducive to having a long term relationship than people want to admit.

    It is not the same as cheating, and it does not mean that someone is predisposed to cheating.  That is just so silly to me. I’ll never understand why people are so threatened by it.   

  25. 26
    Christina

    Strip clubs are a double standard. Where is a woman supposed to go to get her jollies short of cheating on her spouse while he is out at the strip club? I think the need for intimacy and filling voids are just cop outs, as if women don’t have these same needs (probably more so). And Male strip clubs are a cop out as well. A male stripper is more hilarious than sexy. So if my partner is out getting a lap dance (one can only imaging what their spouse does in a strip club, i prefer never having to wonder) why is it not okay (socially acceptable) for the female in the relationship to seek out a similar arousal from a stranger?
    All I know, is if my spouse were out at a strip club, I would love nothing more than to mingle with an attractive man. 

  26. 27
    AnnieC

    @25 Evan.

    Saying that women should “tolerate” that men are the way they are, and we will get along better when we accept it, is to basically say we should accept what we feel is unethical or immoral behaviour. Ann is right in recognizing this hypocracy.

    We don’t have to accept that and if it means the only choice is to remain single, then that’s what some women will have to do.

    Why evan, would any woman want to be with a man, who has completely seperated sexual desire, for intimacy with a particular women? People have a choice in how they will view and treat sex. The men that focus on women only for the pleasure the woman can give, invariably end up crappy lovers and bad partners. Women would do well to stay away from them imo.

    Perhaps if these men accepted that women do not want to be treated purely as a means to sexual pleasure then they might actually do a lot better at connecting with and understanding women.

    It works both ways. 

    1. 27.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Annie, Annie, Annie – If you want to be in a relationship with a man, you have to tolerate, accept and love him despite his flaws. If you don’t find that a man has flaws that are tolerable, then you break up with him. I’m pretty sure we’re in agreement on that. If you find that every man has flaws that are intolerable, then you’ll be alone forever. That’s your prerogative, too, but it also means that you’re probably extremely judgmental, since 100 million people in the US ARE able to marry someone else despite his/her flaws. As a dating coach, I find that many women break up with men who have tolerable flaws (5’8″, bad taste in clothing, average job) and stay with men who have intolerable flaws (verbally abusive, inherently selfish, never wants marriage). I ALWAYS tell women to dump the latter and consider the former. If you have another interpretation of what I wrote, you’re objectively wrong, so please stop suggesting that “Evan says women should date men who see women ONLY as sexual pleasure.” Never said that. A 3 minute dance with a stripper is only sexual pleasure. A WIFE is a lot more than that. Thankfully pretty much all men can distinguish between a lap dance and a life partner. You just don’t understand how that’s possible since YOU don’t see it that way. This is YOUR limitation, Annie, not men’s.

      So if you falsely conclude that only “bad” men have been in a strip club, you’ll be passing up on a lot of good men (namely, every man I know). When I talk about good men who have gone to strip clubs, I’m not referring to guys who blow their paycheck in strip clubs, are regulars at the lunch buffet, and are on a first name basis with the dancers. I’m referring to guys who enjoy going to a bachelor party once a year or blowing off steam on a random guys’ night out. This is 100% normal. How can I say this? Because I’M normal. My girlfriend in 2003 dumped me because my FRIENDS went to a strip club in Vegas and she felt that if I was associated with such low life men, I must be one myself. She took me to her shrink for relationship counseling. After a half hour, the shrink concluded – much to my girlfriend’s chagrin – that I was a giving, kind, and devoted boyfriend and that she was being hypersensitive based on her insecurity about how she looked and about being cheated on.

      My wife, on the other hand? On the rare occasions I’ve gone to a strip club in our five years together, she’ll give me $20 and tell me to get a lap dance for her.

      THAT’s how you handle that situation effectively – by taking your irrational jealousy and disgust out of it. Take a deep breath and realize that if he’s good to you, loyal to you, married to you, and not cheating on you emotionally or physically, that strip clubs once a year are a very benign activity.

      If you CAN’T do that – like my ex-girlfriend – then go find a guy who also finds young naked dancing women repellent. I don’t judge you for it. There’s just fewer men like this, that’s all.

      With all of my advice, I’m talking about what MOST men do. MOST men find some enjoyment in the rare visit to the strip club. They’re not all bad. Stop with your value judgments and you’ll have more men who feel understood and close to you. Keep judging every guy who does something you don’t like, and you’ll find that most guys don’t want to stick around when they’re walking on eggshells.

      That’s some priceless dating advice, Annie, if you choose to use it.

  27. 28
    AnnieC

    @Evan

    You said “Thankfully pretty much all men can distinguish between a lap dance and a life partner. You just don’t understand how that’s possible since YOU don’t see it that way. This is YOUR limitation, Annie, not men’s.”

    Nonsense. The issue that I responded to in part is with the hypocritical attitudes displayed by some men towards strippers. They would never marry a stripper just because she is one, not because of who she is as a person. Like the man who sleeps around but wants to marry a virgin.The best advice I could give to women, is to stay away from such men.

    A man who also supports an industry that often(though not always) takes advantage of women in dreadful circumstances is also a man, as far as I’m concerned that has poor character or at best willfully ignorant. It is much more convienient to see it as a bit of fun, and ignore the really dreadful dark side of this industry. The sex industry is about as bad as it gets in all forms. Some things are not okay, not matter how much you like them.

    I am not concerned Evan, with the fact that men enjoy looking at women, are aroused by women, or want to have sex with women they do not know or simply enjoy the pleasure of a lapdance. You are assuming insecurities where there are none. I do not see that there is any need for men or women to be ashamed of their natural sexual desires…that is not the issue here. It is what we do with those desires, that is the problem.

    I am unlikely to feel empathy nor tolerate the men that simply say “hey it’s a guy thing to like this, therefore it’s okay to do it” . So no, we do not have to put up with such a lowering of ethical or moral standards because men or women say “deal with it”.

    If you cannot understand why some women do not want to be with nor will accept men that see women(even just some women) as primarily objects for sexual gratification/pleasure and nothing more, then I will point you to a previous post of yours, where you are empathizing with men, who are treated only as sperm donors and bank accounts.

    They are one and the same thing Evan. The sex industry literally cannot be compared to any other industry, because of what sex means to humanity.

    And finally you said…..”Keep judging every guy who does something you don’t like, and you’ll find that most guys don’t want to stick around when they’re walking on eggshells.” 
    I do make a judgement call, on a few things, and this is one of them.  That doesn’t mean I judge every tiny little thing that a man does. So stop assuming please that when a woman has an issue with something she has issues with everything. Maybe, she actually has a valid point.

    1. 28.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Annie,

      Just because YOU wouldn’t put up with a man who has ever been to a strip club doesn’t mean that it’s good advice for ALL women to dump their boyfriends who’ve been to strip clubs.

      Telling them to do so – which would seem to be your point – is bad advice, since it becomes just another arbitrary dealbreaker… when you already have a LOT of them (height, weight, age, income, education, sense of humor, generosity, kids, kindness, loyalty, etc). Keep adding in dealbreakers just because YOU are bothered and there will be fewer and fewer deals.

      Are you at least logical enough to concede that if millions and millions of good, relationship-oriented men can go to a strip club for a couple of hours and still be a great husband, that perhaps dismissing ALL of them because of YOUR sensitivity may not be the best idea? Or are you going to assert that because YOU feel that this is abhorrent that everyone else should, too? If you say the latter, you should probably leave the advice to me and stop dissenting on everything I write. It’s getting tiring.

  28. 29
    Erin

    @ErinLee Post #22. I am going to completely honest about my feelings on this issue. Yes, I am jealous at the thought of my man being entertained by a stripper. Why should I be ashamed of that? Does that mean I’m insecure or am I just being realistic about what type of feelings that situation invokes for me? Do I think he is going to leave me for the stripper? No. But that doesn’t stop the jealously. Especially knowing just how beautiful strippers can be. I would say that’s a pretty normal reaction. Just as normal as his attraction to nearly naked women. If we don’t expect men to use any self control when it comes to indulging his hormones with other women, then why do we expect women to use any self control when it comes to indulging her own emotions? If men are visual, women are emotional. If strip clubs are okay then it’s also okay for a woman to have any type of reaction she wants to that. Even ones that include jealously.
    Men are visual. And no, that’s not going to change. But women are certain things too. Certain things that aren’t going to change either. Just because men are visual doesn’t mean everything men do under that visualness is “healthy” for every aspect of his life. Especially when they are in a relationship with another person and have someone other then themselves to think about. Men have a lot of potential to use their visualness for good and a lot of potential to use their visualness for not so good things. In my personal opinion, for men in relationships, strip clubs don’t seem to be the best place for them to be. We can downplay this by saying it’s okay as long as a man goes “once-in-awhile” or we can be realistic that even when men go “once-in-awhile” they are still looking to use strip clubs as an escapism from their real life relationships for a short period of time. They are looking to slip into a fantasy with other real women for a short period time that probably are hotter then their own partners. As many of the men in the letters illustrated when they made comments about their own partners vs. strippers.
    I would hope that in a relationship, where we are partners, a man would be expect to work with me on how I think just as much as I’m expected to work with him on he thinks.  Being attracted to women is healthy. Enjoying naked women is healthy. Indulging in that by stepping out for the night to blow of steam in a sexual situation with other women doesn’t seem that healthy to me for men that are in relationships. Blowing off steam with the guys at a baseball game, that’s healthy. Blowing off steam at a batting cage, that’s healthy. But when we get into sexual interaction with members of the opposite sex, things are a little different. And I don’t think it’s fair to ask women to control everything they are as woman and the things they desire out of a relationship while we also tell women that we need to let men indulge their sexual whims because men are “visual” or “sexual”. That’s not fair. Maybe this isn’t an issue of women needing to find confidence in themselves so much as it’s an issue of male confidence. Since many of the men in the letters seemed to have their own set of self esteem issues and since men go to strip clubs for not only the visual but apparently for some ego stroking, perhaps it’s time for men to have enough confidence in themselves that they don’t use strip clubs as scape goats for their self pleasure?  When the right man come along, he won’t be a man that finds strip clubs all that important. He won’t feel the need to even visit them “once-in-awhile”. While I agree that women should compromise in relationships, I don’t think asking women to compromise on sexuality within a relationship and asking men to not compromise on their sexuality in a relationship is going to breed healthier relationships. I know I don’t need to look as good a stripper to attract a man. But I also don’t want to be the woman a man settles for emotionally while he needs to escape a couple times a year to the type of woman he really wants sexually. 
    I don’t think a woman should just dump a man because he went to a strip club. And I don’t think men that go to strip club are “bad”. But I don’t think it’s right to justify strip clubs on the back that men like naked young women. And that women just need to accept and understand this and give our boyfriends/husbands a $20 for lap dances “once-in-awhile” to be the “cool” girlfriend or wife. You’re either in a relationship or you aren’t. If you want to to check out of a relationships “once in awhile” in indulge a passion for other women, then maybe your not as committed or as loyal as you thought you were.

    Men aren’t “bad” for liking strip clubs but lets not pretend they are being good partners either when they want to indulge in strip clubs and want their wives and girlfriends waiting for them at home with open loving vulnerable hearts and spread legs. 

    1. 29.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I hear your impassioned response, Erin. And I still think that a better move for you to think of a night at a strip club like a night at a baseball game. Because that’s exactly how threatening it is to your relationship.

      Unless YOU decide that watching women dance is tantamount to cheating. Then, of course, it’s quite threatening.

      To sum up, women who allow men to be themselves do better with men and engender their loyalty.

      Women who try to deny men even their own FANTASY life – the occasional strip club or online porn – are pretty much demanding that men LIE to them.

      If you don’t take his interest in viewing other women personally (and it truly is occasional, not obsessive), you will have a really amazing relationship with a man who appreciates how rare and special you are.

      If you go on a diatribe about how disgusting he is, it’s pretty predictable how he’ll feel about you and your relationship when you’re done venting.

      It’s your call, but as the guy in the room, I know what works better – acceptance. If acceptance doesn’t work for you, as you intimated above, you will either have to find the men who would NEVER go to a strip club or men who will attempt to sublimate their fantasy life with some degree of resentment. That often leads to cheating. Acceptance leads to him feeling loved, understood and not judged.

      As you probably know, I married a non-jealous woman who trusts me and sees me as normal, not aberrant – and every day that I read this blog, I thank my lucky stars.

      How exhausting it would be to fight these same battles at home!

      I sincerely wish you peace in your future relationships and hope you consider the wisdom in where I’m coming from – a guy’s perspective.

      1. 29.1.1
        Vera

        If a woman is okay with her men visiting strip clubs she is most likely unfaithful herself. You can deny this, but as a woman with some experience I can say that this is mostly true.
        It always confused me that a naked woman dancing for you isn’t considered cheating as long as you pay for her. What kind of logic is that? And honey, believe me I am in no way jealous of strippers. I am a young, pretty woman and I could sell my body if I wanted to and make much money – but I chose education instead.
        I am not a virgin when it comes to strip clubs. I’ve been to a strip club twice. I know a doorman of a stripclub and his stripper wife because before that the man used to work in a club (normal club, not sex club) where I was a bartender. So I know what goes on, I saw the clientele and I know what goes on behind. To the latter, let me tell you this: It isn’t very pretty.
        Furthermore, I think you are generalizing not every guy on this planet thinks going to a strip club is a great thing. I even know guys who went there once and found the atmosphere horrible. I know to guys who are (let’s say it like it is) male sluts and I overheard talking to another friend about this topic and even they said that it is not okay to got to a strip club or the like,  while being in a relationship.
        So why on earth should a woman or a man settle with someone who has a different attitude towards important things. That doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything in a realtionship – but a realtionship never works if you have a completely different basic attitude towards important topics. It depends on the individual what they consider cheating (I consider visting a strip club cheating, so does my partner – he doesn’t find the idea of a naked male grinding on me very appealing) and the individual limits should be discussed in all honesty in the beginning of the relationship.
        And just for the record, not wanting your partner visiting strip clubs doesn’t equal being insecure (my boyfriend and me are not insecure at all) or being prude (I like sex and I have no shame when it comes to speaking about sexual fantasies or desires).

  29. 30
    Joe

    @ Erin #32:

    It sounds to me like you equate your boyfriend simply being at a strip club to him having sex with strippers.  That sounds to me like a problem that you have, rather than a failing of your boyfriend’s.

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