By PHILLIP MILANO
Do lesbians go to strip clubs? Or is the idea of stripping and dancing for money offensive?
Annie, 38, Tucson, Ariz.
I wish there were lesbian strip clubs. That would be an ideal environment. We have to settle for “gentleman’s clubs.” And I find the old men creepy.
Rebecca, 26, lesbian, Kansas City, Kan.
I’ve been to gentleman’s clubs before. I found it more fun than arousing. Yes, there are some gay women who are highly offended by the objectification of women for money, but I think it is more a feminist issue than a gay/straight one.
Kæreste, 22, lesbian, Jacksonville
I know a lot of lesbians who find it offensive, but I also know a lot who find it plain old hot! We’re not all crazy feminists.
Melissa, 25, Calgary, Alberta
There are strip clubs that cater to lesbians (you might remember Ben Affleck “accidently” went to one in Canada).
Many strip clubs don’t permit women customers in. It’d be like letting a Lexus salesman hang out in a Mercedes dealership.
David, 47, Knoxville, Tenn.
Marketing sex to women, gay or not, can be, well, a little complicated.
Take pornographic magazines geared toward lesbians. It can be difficult to make a go of it when a large chunk of your demographic finds the very idea repugnant, the editor-in-chief of On Our Backs told us a few years ago. The magazine has since folded.
Erotic dancing is no different. A segment of the lesbian community condemns it, says Lillian Faderman, a Fresno State historian, lesbian and former stripper (we hit the trifecta with that one).
“Lesbian strip clubs have come and gone since the ’80s,” said Faderman, author of the acclaimed “Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers” (Penguin). “One person I interviewed who opened one said lesbians are shy about participating in something like that that is so open, and publicly sexual.”
Such clubs have met with protests. In December 2006, Tel Aviv’s Minerva Club was picketed by feminists who denounced its lesbian striptease shows as exploitative.
Faderman says things have opened up since the days she took it all off in the 1950s and ’60s, when owners of underground gay nightclubs even shined flashlights between same-sex patrons on the dance floor to make sure they weren’t touching.
Nowadays, more lesbians feel they have every right to enjoy erotic dancers as a liberating way to boldly claim their sexuality.
And just to clear up any false notions, there’s no big mystery about what goes into a strip act for lesbians, Faderman added.
“I don’t like to generalize that women aren’t aroused by visual things — but from what I gather, acts in these clubs these days would likely be less graphic than a lap dance, but yes, they do strip, and it’s very similar to regular stripping.”