A comparative look at stripping as part of the sex industry


The commercial adult entertainment industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry.  It includes strippers, pornography, and prostitution in various forms.  At some point one or two of these intersect, which is why many who enter can fluidly switch to another area of the industry. For instance strippers can switch to escort services and prostitution at some point in their life span. However, there is always a line that separates one from the other. If you were to ask what the difference is between a stripper and a prostitute, you could say one is legal and the other isn’t.

The lines do tend to be grey. However, the common motivation for everyone involved in the industry is money. Performers may switch from stripping to prostitution because of money, however, the one thing that influences public perception is how the media portrays the adult entertainment industry in particularly how they show off prostitutes and strippers. There is a lot of glamorization. Look at how strippers are depicted in movies like “Flashdance” or “Showgirls” – There, strippers are portrayed as ordinary women who are just trying to raise their families and get by.  Some shows portray strip clubs as places where people with questionable moral character go to. Pretty Woman (everyone seems to forget that the lead is a prostitutes) perpetuates the idea that strippers are just women who need to be rescued from a seedy life. That underneath that pancake makeup, and skimpy clothes is a gal who is far more beautiful than the world know, she just needs some new clothes and a few lessons on social graces. Think the modern-day version of Pygmalion or that fairy tale known the world over: Cinderella. 

When celebrities talk about dropping money or making it rain in a strip club, no one bats an eye. When Rihanna goes to a strip club, no one talks about the hard-done-by girls. It’s trendy. However, there is a double standard between those who strip for money and the customers who pay that money to watch. There’s relatively little moral judgment of men who visit strip clubs. The moral outrage seems to be reserved for the women who work in strip clubs. For instance, when Hugh Grant, was caught with a prostitute they were arrested, he spent a couple of hours in jail. It was tabloid news for a day. He got out and went on with his life. It seems that it is more acceptable for men to commodify women’s but not acceptable for these same women to profit from the commodification of their own bodies.  

There are a lot of issues that arise if you were to listen to the different stories that people working in the industry have to deal with. There would be body issues in any profession where one has to commodify their bodies and a moral issue if this is done for the sexual pleasure of others.  There are socio/economic standing, and oppression. It’s not anyone’s first choice.  The common motivation is money. Many concede that being a stripper pays more than the minimum wage they would get flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Strippers have the financial independence that many women don’t have. Many women have also feel empowered by this and the whole experience of having men at their feet, within boundaries they control. 


How do they make their money? 

It’s very rare to find a prostitute who would say they entered the profession by choice but there are plenty of strippers who start stripping because they want to. Some take up stripping as a side hustle and when a stripper says she is studying nuclear physics at University, you better believe that. 

Strippers don’t have to have sex with anyone to make money 

Strippers do not have to have sex with anyone to make money. A stripper is given time by the club manager to either ‘work the floor’ or dance on stage. Dancers also have to pay a club fee from their tips. That can be as much as 50%. The are bouncers who enforce the club manager’s decisions. Floor time is more lucrative and sometimes dancers fight over this. 

Many strippers can handle the petty squabbles in the club; what worries most of them are overzealous customers. So if you are going to be a strip club customer try to keep a professional distance or at least see the interaction for what it is – a fantasy.  The club and it’s bouncers offer protection but that protection does not extend outside the club. A lot of strippers will at some point in their career have a stalker.  

There is a lot of moral judgement directed at strippers which is why, it’s something most strippers don’t readily share in their real lives because of jerks who can’t separate reality from make-believe. Don’t be that jerk. If you approach strippers as women who are just doing their job, selling fantasies – your experience of this world can be nothing short of incredibly interesting.