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. 61
    AnnieC

    @64

    If it was just “sex” then women would be addicted to their vibrators. Sex, is a human connection. It is the “person” or the situation you get addicted to, not some “thing” called “sex”. 

    People just aren’t self-aware enough to realize it. They make excuses. 

  2. 62
    Marianne

    You are asking women to accept, to put up with something that they are fundamentally not okay with their mates doing? You say acceptance works better, but when it comes down to it, works better for who? For the guy who gets to happilly keep doing something that his wife/gf is not okay with and suffers with… to keep the relationship in one piece? Seriously?

    Besides that, I think that everyone has their own limits as to what kind of behaviour is acceptable from a mate, what is bothers-me-but-I-can live with it behaviour, and finally, what is dealbreaker behaviour.

    For me, personally, I would be only okay with my partner going to a strip club if I knew that he was someone who really wasn’t into strippers but was just going along to be with his friends. Or if I knew his character well enough to know that he has a lot of self control and wouldn’t do something that would be unacceptable to me and would hurt me if I found out. I draw the line at getting a lap dance, touching, or being touched. Defenitely no women, naked or otherwise, sitting in his lap. Sorry, if that is what a man thinks he “has a right to” because he has been faithful for a number of years, then I would seriously consider ending the relationship. This is a DEALBREAKER for me, and for many women. Like one of my guy friends (god bless him) said to me years ago: “If in your heart, you draw the line at a lap dance, you stick firm to that line, and be a woman. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. And love yourself enough to walk away if the person you’re with can’t and won’t respect what is most important to you.”
    The type of man that I want in my life is sensitive and considerate and honest, and would think of how his actions would impact my feelings. He would have a conscience, and would not be able to make love to me knowing that my heart would break if I knew what he did days or hours earlier. Yes!!! There are men like this!!! Find them, date them, love them, marry them… they would rather not see you hurt than experience a selfish three minutes of some stranger grinding her breasts in his face. I am friends with several of them (see the quote by my awesome friend above), and these are attractive, intelligent men with a lot going for them.

    If on the other hand, you’re honestly okay with your man going to a club and getting a lap dance, good for you. If it turns you on, good for you. If you like going to strip clubs and watching your man get a lap dance, good for you. Enjoy yourself. Go banannas. You are two consenting adults. (I won’t get into my feelings about the MAINSTREAM porn/sex industry here, which I have strong opinions about and which I feel objectifies women.)
    What pisses me off is people acting all high and mighty and because THEY let their husbands and boyfriends get lap dances and it doesn’t bother THEM. This is such an immature, trashy attitude, and it makes me think of a heckler on the Jerry Springer show: “Honey! I’m more woman than you because I let MY man go as wild as he wants at bachelor parties!!! MY man loves me because I”M not a PRUDE!” …get over yourself.
    Before someone gets their panties or briefs in a twist, the reverse also pisses me off: Holier than thou judgment passed on those who have
    different tastes and boundaries… I know someone who is in a committed relationship and likes to get a lap dance from a stripper once in a while. His girlfriend? It turns him on, she gets turned on and likes to watch. Whatever. Personally I don’t understand how she can be okay with this, but we’re talking about another person here, not me. No one is lying to the other, no one is decieving the other, no one is ignoring what they value most, no one is getting hurt. Now that’s really something that “works better”.

    I think I have said all that I have needed to say.

  3. 63
    Ray

    stephen@60

    I seriously had to laugh out loud at that one Stephen..  

    Next you are going to start telling me I don’t like people who do drugs because I’m jealous they are so ‘happy’. 

    Um, since when is the Kama Sutra ‘porn’.  Because it discusses sexuality?  that does not make it ‘porn’.  I guess you could debate the merits of ‘art’ vs ‘porn’ too.  Most people know what the difference is. 

    Again, ‘porn’ is not instructive in the slightest.  It does absolutely ZERO to help you connect with a real woman.  It does just the opposite, actually.  Maybe you need that little escape… ok… assess THAT why don’t you.  Why you need that escape.  It ain’t all physical, my friend.        

  4. 64
    AnnieC

    @66

    You said

    “What pisses me off is people acting all high and mighty and because THEY let their husbands and boyfriends get lap dances and it doesn’t bother THEM. This is such an immature, trashy attitude, and it makes me think of a heckler on the Jerry Springer show: “Honey! I’m more woman than you because I let MY man go as wild as he wants at bachelor parties!!! MY man loves me because I”M not a PRUDE!” …get over yourself.”

    This used to piss me off. Now It just makes me glad to be me. When I talk about the sexual intensity I want to feel with my man,(which means neither of us give into any kind of activity that may reduce it) he loves my focus. He loves my intensity and that I want it to be about him.

    A woman giving a man a free-pass to a lap-dance, can be just as controlling as the woman who doesn’t. You think she’s being easy going and one of the guys. Nope. That’s not the way women work.

    Not something men have yet to figure out, but they will.

  5. 65
    Lea

    I wish to address Dan #9, with my personal experience on the subject of a strong rejection and the harm it does to a sensitive boy at the age of 13. The only reason I am putting myself out there on this subject is to perhaps enlighten from the female experiences I’ve had. I don’t have the answer. Maybe my experiences may help someone in some way, possibly in rearing a son, or a daughter to be more empathetic with the opposite sex.  

    “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.”

    I’m specifically addressing Dan’s statement about females at the age of 13 not knowing how much hurt they can inflict on a sensitive boy and his statement that people are sensitive and scars last a long time. 

    This was my experience with boys at a young age, age 10 to be exact, the summer going into fifth grade, my body started it’s monthly cycle and with that developing breasts. Many of my friends had started “the change”.

    The boys behavior, at that sensitive young age, were relentless in harassing, teasing, laughing, grabbing and snapping bra straps… then the questions started, again more laughter, more talk about how disgusting you were because you bled. You get the idea…by the time I was 13 and boys started to ask me out, I had, had three years of taunting by those same boys. I remember thinking… “you’ve got to be kidding, you want to date me… I have endured 3 years of harassing and now you want to go out with me?”

    Yes, you are correct Dan, scars last a long time, especially at that sensitive age, a harsh rejection… was payback. Nothing more, nothing less. 

    I am 50’s now, I am a petite blond who has had many men ask to date me. It became such a distraction in my early 20’s that I wore a wedding ring out on the nights I wanted to have a girls night out, just so I wouldn’t be hit on. Even in my 50’s I am still getting attention. Now it’s FWB requests from my married male friends. I am also married with children. 

    Could it be that we create problems for ourselves that we refuse to acknowledge and take responsibility for? I appreciate Evan’s approach in getting woman to look within themselves, reduce the list, the realization that changing the criteria may produce different results…and possibly everlasting love. Could the solution be as simple as showing the opposite sex more empathy?

  6. 66
    NonExist

    Read a couple of the letters on the site.
    Did not need to read much because of life experience I know about what some people would term shadier businesses.

    Yes it is an exploitative industry for many of the women. And yes many of them, with a few exceptions, do it because they have had certain issues and hardships which influences them to choose that lifestyle.

    Just as many of the men go there seeking the fantasy of a connection free erotic romp, some of the performers are seeking attention and affection, in addtion to the money,  that they did or cannot seem to receive from elsewhere.

    But it is a fantasy pure and simple. And it is, as many people mentioned bereft of the emotional connections people share in normal relationships.
    As posters have said above, dropping a wad of cash for a quick lusty lapdance is easier than trying to connect in a real relationship.
    This ease heightens the appeal for those who either find it difficult to initiate or maintain relationships, or those who for whatever reason are in a relationship but feel it is unfulfilling.

    And to many , a false temporary rush is better than or lets them escape from the effort laden reality of their actual life.  
    Similar to those who find it hard to be in a relationship because they do cannot maintain that initial biochemical high that accompanies initial infatuation. And so the keep switching partners because the slow burn of love is not enough for them.

    I do agree with some of the ladies here that if anyone does not like it, then let it be known and put your fut down about it in regards to a mate.

  7. 67
    Katt

    Ruins many relationships! The girls are all messed up. They have no healthy boundries.. Men are also unhealthy .. Its a sad sick world . It gets sicker as they move from stage to hotels! Strippers should be in serious therapy

  8. 68
    Jen

    Does reading a romance novel equate to seeing a live stripper and possibly getting a lapdance?  Wouldn’t the equivalent have to be something like another real-life man paying for a wonderful dinner or something else romantic the woman wants, but that her own man does not have the resources to provide?  That might make him feel sort of the same type of inadequacy that a woman might feel if she compared her own body to that of a stripper.  She is being compared to a real life fantasy that can be touched and interacted with, not words on a page.  I think fantasy is fine, but that when it becomes live, it can be more hurtful and it can be seen as escaping reality.

  9. 69
    Maria

    @Evan 33
    Evan, thanks for all the invaluable insight. Upon stumbling upon your website because I wanted to know about this whole “Guy / Stripper” dynamic…
    Now, I must say that I have had a few fun random nights with my Gay guy Bff’s at a strip club… DEF fun times.. Funny enough most of the guys I have dated in the past say “I don’t really like strip clubs. I don’t like just giving my money to random girls.” Which I understand but now I have started dating someone new who says he enjoys going to strip clubs because it’s like paying for a “show” and that it’s all about “control” when it comes to actually “hooking up” with a stripper… Hence, he doesn’t go there to “hook up” with a stripper but just to enjoy the “show.” I’d even go as far as saying I may even enjoy going with him if he would to ever ask me or if we ever ended up randomly at one…There is something pretty erotic and sexy about that. As well as even “stripping” for him myself….I mean what’s so wrong about him just giving me dollar bills?
    Since this is a fairly new relationship I’m not too bothered by it but I’m not sure how I would feel if whoever I end up with wants to do this more often than not because he doesn’t really care for baseball games or even going to the movies because he enjoys this as his form of entertainment.
    Thank you for clarifying that being ok with this shows a sense of maturity & being secure but I get the sense that with this guy it’s a little more than the “random bachelor party” thing.”
    i also know in any relationship you can’t “change” anyone about anything you DO just have to accept them as they are but I guess my question is I don’t even know why I’m insecure about him going with his “friends” rather than with me there? I know I know I gotta “trust” but I can’t get over that maybe the “Power” of the “clear heels” will just take over.. It’s like Kryptonite I feel…..
    Signed ,
     
    Dazed & Confused about Clear heels…

  10. 70
    Sunnyg

    I have an opinion on this why should we as women in a relationship have to be acceptable of this and say guys just need to be able to fantasize etc. I think it’s not fantasizing any longer when u areactively participating and interacting with a live human being. Fantasing is when it’s make believe and doesn’t really happen . As for it being the same when a woman reads a novel?? That’s by far so different no one except her imagination is there?  Strip clubs r a deal breaker for me. I’d rather be alone than with a man that thinks the occasional once a year lap dance is ok. There are in fact men that don’t like strip clubs . Paying for attention etc. I’m sure these guys saying it is ok , would they be okay if they come home and they find their wife or gf in the kitchen with a naked man and she’s in a chair while he’s rubbing on her getting her all hot and she has an orgasm and thenhs he says oh he oh I just needed a little entertnment  I was a little bored with youAnd this will make tonight so much better. Then give the guy $20 and he leaves. I’m sure no guy would be ok with that!!

  11. 71
    Imjustsayin

    Men are basically perverts, period.  I’ve asked many men, including my boyfriend that, and they concur.  They need to see the female form.  The more exposure of that form, the better.  I, after 53 years on Earth have come to grips with this.  I know that I look good only because I am told this.  I don’t feel that way personally.  I have been in the past a very jealous type person, I guess mainly because I somehow in some distorted way thought that the men I was with would be so satisfied with me that there would be no need to have that extra jolt of leering, and lusting, because I was there.  Wow, what a ding-a-ling I was.  I went to a strip club once so I could study all of the men that were there.  I was so amazed at the diversity of those men.  There were groups, probably from a bachelor party, there were those who sat back all by themselves in the darkest corner so no one (including the girls would notice them), there were a few who sat right underneath the girls and dangled money, there were businessmen who just sat at their tables talking and occasionaly looking at the girls,  there were those who just sat and waited for the girls who were giving lap dances to come around to their table, and there were those who sat at the bar and didn’t look at all.  They each had their own diverse reason for being there.  So I think it is unfair to just judge a man who goes to one as somehow a sad, disatisfied, pathetic, human being.  It gave me a whole new take on that part of the male pshyche.  Also, the green eyed-monster has left my midst.  Can’t change the beast…so I just accept it.

  12. 72
    Hm

    We overcomplicate thing sometimes.

    Look. Of course men find youth and beauty a turn on. Women typically find older and stronger a turn on. Big whoop.

    I don’t think all men who go to strip-clubs are sad or bad; unless they’re doing it behind their significant other’s back, then I do. I feel bad for women who think strip-clubs and porn are simply a reality and they just have to deal with it. Listen to me, IT IS NOT. I have known so many great faithful men in my life to know there are good ones left.

    I’ve been married for years. I married someone who is strong, handsome, and morally upright more-so than other men. He had been to a strip-club before with friends before we got together. Now, you  have to really know who you’re marrying, gals. Ann, there ARE men out there that will respect you and will explore their sexual fantasies with you, and no other. Basically what I’m saying is REAL men still exist. As shallow as it sounds, I’m thankful I am considered an attractive woman in my late 20’s and I look young for my age. Him and I are in agreement on a number of things, and we’re open about many things even down to how we would feel if we let ourselves go. We’re not shallow people but we easily come to terms with the fact that our appearance is important to both of us, so we try to keep up with our looks. Sometimes it seems women can be a little unfair to men in thinking that men should accept everything about them (like if they gain 100 lbs after a couple years of marriage). Look, there are legitimate excuses to these things, but you have got to realize that body image is important to a marriage (same goes for you men). My husband is completely faithful to me, as I am to him. There was one spot in our marriage where something was lacking, and we opened up about what we basically fantasized about, but were a little too shy to do and that opened the door wide, and things have been great since. This is what a strong marriage looks like. It’s important to open that door before it’s shut and either one of you goes off looking to fulfill that elsewhere.

    My husband and I are also very open about jealousy. We’re both very jealous people, and we both know to tread lightly on this issue. The mutual respect on this helps a lot on these types of issues. Many men hate to admit their jealousy, and that can certainly be harmful when only the woman is the one admitting and feeling like there is something wrong with her.

    Hats off to the women who are perfectly fine and happy with their man groping or gazing at the parts of other naked women. I for one, am not.

  13. 73
    J.D.

    As an ex pimp I will tell you that most married men seek the majority of their infidelity outside of strip clubs. They’re highly regulates and the only “cheating” happens in their minds or in back rooms. That is too much trouble to go through overall.
    Men I have observed go to strip clubs because they wanted that “connection” that the “fantasy” of the stripper would “sell”. And [back then] as long as they were “empty”, I had the answer to their void. It was unfortunate, because I was in a relationship with a woman, committed and never cheated. I would always think to myself that if they would just go find a woman that they could share that connection with then they wouldn’t be half broke, bartering their drugs, Rolexs, cars, etc…But at the time I was all to happy to bring in $2000+ a day (before I got busted, and turned my life around)
    My quick opinion is that there is that lack of social maturity on their part. Of coarse I am talking about married/non-single men who find something outside the “commitment” to fulfill that need. The funny thing is no matter how hot, smart, sexy, skilled a woman is ~ it will never stop a man from “cheating”. Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a fantasy world just like the men in the strip clubs.
    In “this” world sex is just a physical act of expression. It has nothing to do with love. And if you think you own your mans expressive being then that usually tells me exactly why that John Doe is calling me 3am in the morning. Sure, some stay loyal and never sleep around, but that IS NOT A MEASURING STICK for how much “they love you”. A lot of these men feel suppressed and then creep but I have also saw emotional-immature women respond with more suppression. My conclusion was that the relationship wasn’t mature from the beginning/or not being maintained. Those Johns didn’t call me for no reason – especially when their wives or girlfriends where sleeping naked right next to them every night half naked in the comfort of their homes.
    I felt a lot of the men were looking to fill a void. Again, that’s not all of them. There are those who go for the fun with friends, drinking, sports TV, buffets, and now-a-days strip clubs double as night clubs where everyone just goes. They are not “dependent” on external or other people for their wholeness or happiness. – Again a sign of, or lack of, emotional maturity.
    There are only 2 types of people in strip clubs. Those who “give and don’t get”, and those who “take and never give”. Sometimes, “magic” happens but they are usually doomed because that same relationship dynamic never works. Those places are full of empty dreams, depression, domestic violence, slavery, drug addition and co-dependencies. Strip clubs are the worst places to get a “mans needs met” in a healthy manor vs. a vicious cycle or self-destructive self-programming.
    PS: I think the same goes for massage parlors, night clubs, bars, sexy commercials, online porn, magazines, etc… It can even be YOUR WORK PLACE, co-workers, or that so called “just-a-friend” friend.
    Now I try to advise ex-John Does and I always start out with “Why….why….why….and more why’s?” until they can identify the negative stuff they are using to fill the void, then they simply fill the void with something positive and actually “fulfilling”. And for the women out there – the “answer” is never about “sex”. I think it’s quite ironic.

  14. 74
    Madge

    right now my man is at the strip club, we haven’t had sex in 1.5 years (his problem not mine), he tells me I’m beautiful and well built and sexy, wtf is going to see strippers, told me he was going to the pool hall with buddies, I was going to get a coffee and saw him walking into the local scummy jiggle joint, he will have some explaining to do when he gets home.  why do men go to see strung out crack heads when they have a beautiful woman at home? I don’t nag or bother him in any way, I am just completely bewildered and frankly very disappointed.

  15. 75
    Maria

    Madge #74 I am right on your wavelength and I would love to hear Evan’s perspective (or anyone’s for that matter) on my situation.   I just divorced my husband of 2.5 years because I found out he had been frequenting a strip club behind my back — sometimes 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes by himself, always the same spot and only when specific dancers (“his favorites”) were working.   He got to know one of them so well that they are now Facebook friends and she often solicited my ex and his buddy to hang out for real after her shift ended.   Did I also mention that he would drive home wasted and/or high on cocaine, and would tell me he was stuck late for work when in actuality he was making a beeline for when “his friend” started her 4:00 shift?  

    To add insult to injury, I have a great body and am very attractive.  I get male attention *constantly* for my looks and physique and my ex-husband often said I was pretty, sexy, and had a great body.   When we got married several of his male co-workers said he had “out-kicked his coverage”.   When push came to shove, he told me he liked his two favorite strippers becuase “they were nice to him.”   When I said I’d be willing to explore sexually with him and even go to a strip club with him, he hemmed and hawed and b.s-ed me to death and said he didnt’ see me that way and that I’m just not supportive or nice enough to him so this is his need to cope with life.   

    To sum up and echo what Madge said — WTF?   What else was I supposed to do and why wasn’t I enough for him even though I am, objectively, hotter than any of the girls at the club he’s been going to?        

    1. 75.1
      Madge

      Maria, you are better off without him, there is a nicer guy out there for you.
       

  16. 76
    dio

    Guys going to strip clubs isn’t anything new. I’ve dated guys who went there occasionally and even have had happy ending massage thing and told me about it…I always thought there was more. I don’t think it’s a big deal as long as they’re not blowing entire paychecks every week on that stuff. 

    I just get angry about the guys who don’t own up to going there to see young hot girls. I know that not every guy goes to strip clubs, but there are a lot that do and do so with some regularity, but deny like crazy. They say strippers are nasty and disgusting, but they blow a ton of cash on them (my father). Then, they stumble in late covered in booty dust. That to me is disgusting.  

  17. 77
    Julie

    I do not believe in strip bars. I think it’s morally wrong. When two people are in a relationship and or marriage all these issues should be talked about up front. Communication is the key success to any relationship. Men… From my experience… A lot of men are one sided. I can go to strip clubs, but you cannot. I can go use my time, energy, money, and emotions by sharing all this with naked women, but you can’t go or better yet I am selfish and don’t want other men looking at you strip. Well if a man wants to share all of those things by going to strip bars then he should be able to let his wife strip in front of others. Why not? He is sharing his eyes to look… His mouth to comment… His lap… His time… His energy… Emotions… And money so his partner should be able to share something. They cannot have it both ways. I personally do not pass judgement on anyone… Not my place. So for me my husband and I got this straight the first several months we dated. If a partner wants this type of life then plain and simple do not continue the relationship and get married. 

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