I used to be so jealous of you. How did you do it? I would watch you stride through the club, so confident, the wad of cash strapped to your leg growing, like stripping is the easiest job in the world. Someone always wanted a dance from you. You made it look so easy. I thought you were brilliance walking.
Sure, the other girls whispered. There were rumors. I thought they were just jealous, I thought they were threatened. But I was in denial.
You are the Extras Girl: hated by your colleagues, but loved by men. You fuck and suck, blow and go.
Private dancing, though? Not really.
I’m sure you’ve heard what the other girls said. She’s a hooker. She has no morals. She’s dirty.
You know what? I think those are weak arguments. I think everyone reading Tits and Sass agrees that there’s nothing wrong with hooking and that there’s not some great moral chasm between simulating sex (what strippers do) and having sex (what hookers do).
Girl, none of us are innocent. Once, I tried to fuck my best stripper friend. On stage. In front of my boyfriend.
We’re all human.
I’ll be honest, though. Sometimes, you, the Extras Girl, make my night at work a little harder. Sometimes, I just wish you would go away. Sometimes, I even poke my voodoo doll of you with needles.
A strip club “extra” is hard to define. I’m sure you’ve heard a dancer snort, “I’m just selling a fantasy. I would never sell my body.” If her club is anything like my club—where high-mileage grinding is requisite—then she’s, uh, deluded. So, is an extra an act of defiance? Is it a dancer declaring to the world that she will capitalize her body the way she sees fit? Or is it a pathetic act of desperation, for the dancer so cash-strapped that anything will do, so long as she gets paid?
But here’s the rub (heh)—you’re undercutting my money. Your chummy blow job makes my private dance seem churchy. I have to race you to customers. I have to hustle twice as hard when you work. Frankly, it’s exhausting.
The market is highly competitive here in Detroit. We are home to over 30 strip clubs. That’s one strip club for every four square miles. For a city in permanent recession and once referred to as a ghost town, that is a lot of dancers!
And I’m proud to say that Detroit offers the best lap dances in the country, for only $20 a song!
Unless you’re working, Extras Girl. Then that crisp $20 might buy a blowjob, a handjob, or even sex.
But I guess I can’t blame you. A three minute handjob expends less energy than a three minute private dance. And who could say no? No thanks ma’am, I’d rather not cum.
Listen, Extras Girl, we’re kind of sick of you.
Maybe it’s the customers’ post-orgasm, shit-eating grins that annoy us. How proud they are to have scored at the titty bar. Maybe it’s the sense of entitlement they develop after a “dance” with you. But she let me take my dick out. Or maybe it’s because there’s just so many of you now and it’s starting to feel like the dancers who only provide lapdances are outnumbered.
Even though the club’s house girls would prefer to surround with you torches and pitchforks, I’ll offer you a peace treaty, Extras Girl.
The Unofficial, Unsolicited Guide to Being an Extras Girl, if you will.
Please be a team player. The best Extras Girls are polite, enthusiastic and genuinely want everyone to make money. Help us. Recommend us. Make sure your loyal fan club members tip us.
Please stay away from our regulars. Yes, I know, technically we don’t own any single customer, but I think hustling another girl’s regular is just poor form. I’ll just say it—please don’t fuck my regular. I need him.
Please consider our health. Use a condom. Dispose of it properly. Biffing on a fresh condom is not dignified. Neither is sitting in a pile of spooge.
Please, let’s learn to work together. Maybe I could refer some men to you. Maybe you hang back and let us fluff a few gents before you pounce. Maybe you could quit showing your pussy on stage.
And finally—this is important—charge more money. Seriously. Like a metric ton more. Please don’t make my $20 dance look like a ripoff. You’re performing sexual favors for men who should be grateful that you have even farted in their general direction. Your presence, your touch, your acknowledgement is a privilege and these guys should be paying royally for it. Have some business acumen! The strip club should not be a sexual-favors-buyers’-market.
I’m not jealous of you anymore, Extras Girl. I want to know why you choose to work differently than the rest of us.
I guess it’s not really my business.
But I do want to be friends with you, Extras Girl. There can be room for all the working girls.
Josephine has been stripping and writing in Detroit for over ten years. She is the author of the now defunct blog, The Stripper Hates You. She tumbls here and tweets here.
We are seeking a dancer who provides “extras” in the club to write for us. Please get in touch at email@example.com.
I want to print this out and put it up in my club.
This article is hella-problematic. I’m not a stripper, I’m an escort, but if someone offered me “a guide” to what I do, I’d tell them where to go. If they instructed me to use a condom, I’d ask them if they’d heard of bodily autonomy, and if they told me what to charge, I’d probably point out that they don’t know shit about my circumstances or what I’m doing, and ask why the hell they think they know better than me what I should be doing, how I should be doing it, and how much I should be charging. All in all, it’s just extremely patronising. You’re not better or wiser than the extras girl, non-extras-providing-worker. You don’t get to advise her. You have no such authority. This looks rather like lateral whorephobia.
“Maybe it’s the sense of entitlement they develop after a “dance” with you. But she let me take my dick out,” is, additionally, appallingly victim-blaming.
I found this article very problematic as well, and I’m just solicited submissions from a person who was proud of offering extras to provide another perspective. A couple of us were weirded out by this, and we discussed it among ourselves and finally decided that pieces posted by contributors don’t necc. represent TAS. Still, I have to say that the tone of this struck me as whorephobic and slut shaming throughout, and also insufferably superior, though I think it could’ve been much worse–at least this was vaguely conciliatory rather than just shit talking. But I kinda made my peace with us posting this b/c at least it opens up the issue for discussion–I’m tired of having this discussion confined to workers lashing out at each other in brothels, strip clubs, and dungeons, or talking behind people’s backs. To be an effective labor movement, we need to resolve issues like this and quit with the backbiting. Anyone reading this who offers extras—please, write to us about your perspective!
No one is being whorephobic, if u wanna be an escort KEEP IT OUT OF THE STRIP CLUB because it makes it hard for STRIPPERS to earn money. Customers feel like a dance isn’t even with $20 anymore , when they can get a blow job for the same price.
Eithne, Your credibility stopped at “I’m not a stripper”.
Hooking isn’t the problem, but putting your coworkers and management at risk, IS.
Be a stripper. Do it for as long as I have, or the writer has.
Then you can have an opinion.
I think every sort of sex worker can see this conflict happening in any environment where sex workers work together, whether that be in a brothel, dungeon, or strip club. There’s always someone offering more than other workers are willing to, sometimes offering more for less. This isn’t a stripper specific problem. In fact, this isn’t even a sex worker specific problem–though the slut shaming and stigma are sex worker specific–I mean, basically, what the non-extras girls are doing are calling the extras girls scabs.
I totally agree with Caty’s comment. I don’t think it’s surprising that full service workers are taking this piece pretty personally – as Caty says, them’s fighting words.
And Elle, I appreciate that as a stripper you have an area of experience and expertise here that someone who hasn’t stripped doesn’t, but I think your suggestion that an escort or other non-stripper worker has no credibility to comment on this piece is pretty off, particularly as it’s triggering so many feelings of whorephobia and slutshaming for full service workers. No, we’re not all strippers, but we are particularly vulnerable to some of the wider discourses and stigma around sexuality and promiscuity that are gestured at in this piece, and I think that makes an escort contribution to this discussion just as ‘credible’ as any other worker’s.
Thank you Elle!
As Caty says, the extras-girl phenomenon is not limited to strip clubs. It happens in every sex industry situation I can think of. When I was offering full service for X amount, there was always another girl in the same brothel offering all that I was + a dozen other services that I didn’t want to do, for the same amount. I said I wasn’t a stripper because I wanted declare my lack of expertise regarding the strip club environment, but I do have knowledge and experience in terms of how sex workers interact with one another in situations where one worker feels another is devaluing the work, and I still feel this article is not fair. I made this error myself when I was new to the work, by pointing out to a migrant worker in the brothel that she “didn’t have” to offer unprotected oral sex as standard. She looked at me pityingly and pointed out that xenophobia, and the general privilege I enjoyed as an English-speaking worker, meant I could offer as little as I wanted and still make money. She was 100% right and I was an idiot.
yeh this is kinda shitty. i too am not a dancer but im a hooker. and there are ‘extras girls’ in brothels too. always was, always will be. workers who do more in ‘intros’, who offer more, and offer it cheaper, rumours of who is doing it with or without competition, clients saying ‘such and such lets me do it, why cant you’.
DEAL WITH IT.
hookers have always dealt with it. most of us are criminalised so no threats of loosing our license etc effect us. most of us have developed standard lines to deal with clients who compare us to other workers.
1. who cares who is using a condom? as long as you are protrecting yourself then in terms of health and safety, it doesnt matter. sorry love you cant catch anything from getting cum on your skin, what your scared of is the ‘gross factor’ so dont try fool yourself or us that its about anyones health and safety. i find it offensive.
2. clients like all sorts of things. find your niche. when i worked in a brothel where everyone was offering more than me, i played the super sweet innocent good girl and made a fortune. some clints are put off by offers of no condoms or overt sexuality or a menu of extras.
3. lol controversial suggestion here… offer extras? ok ok i dont actual want people to feel pressured to offer services they dont want to offer but… this article does read like whore phobia and it is kind of annoying so i couldnt help but be a bit snarky back.
personally i do wish workers would charge well for the ‘extras’ they provide, but whatever, cant stop competition, and yeh, like the commenter above says, you dont know peoples circumstances and my prices and services change massively depending on a whole range of things, so im not going to judge someone else.
also if you tried to fuck your stripper friend on stage without prior consent from them…….. id say that is way more harmful and problematic and fucked work practices than offering consentual extras.
I agree wholeheartedly with this comment, especially the bit about condoms/semen. That line made me really uncomfortable, but I was having trouble articulating why – I think you nailed it perfectly (pun?)
I feel pretty uncomfortable with the overall tone of the piece, and agree that it reads as whorephobic in parts, and also kind of nasty? But I’m not sure still why my response is so strong. I’m definitely pleased to see people engaging with the piece, and I agree with Caty (and the author) that it’s important dialogue to have. So thanks everyone!
maybe there is a discussion to be had ‘tips for being a team player’ for ALL workers acknowledging not everyone wants to be part of the team and thats ok too, there are benefites to both. also thanks for reading through my shocking typos in above comment.
I think the big problem is not what girls are doing but how much they are charging. A cheap handjob may devalue what I do as a dance-only kind of stripper, but so does a girl doing 10 dances for $40, or girls letting guys touch when the club doesnt allow it, any kind of rule bending. I have worked in a few clubs where I knew girls were performing sexual acts, but in the Champagne room for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It didn’t bother me because I didnt feel pressured to do it, and it didn’t devalue my 3 for $100 booth dances that made up my income.
Let’s all just value ourselves and our services enough to charge a living wage, and stop undercutting each other.
I just feel like language like “value ourselves” kinda ties back to exhortations to “respect yourself”–i.e., slut shaming. There’s a difference between dealing with price cutting as a labor problem and slut shaming one’s coworkers, though I understand that when one’s business is sex it’s sometimes a hard line to walk.
This piece isn’t really about grass-cutting.
The author made no clear statements about how much is being charged for what extras (she doesn’t know!), but puts the same amount as what she’s charging for a lap dance. Convenient.
And so what if Extras is fucking someone for $20?
Don’t like it? Go. Somewhere. Else.
Like into hospitality.
What if it was phrased as “valuing time, effort, and rule breaking”? I agree “ourselves” can be problematic but it is a slightly riskier transaction–could get in trouble with management, undercuts your coworkers, skin and body fluid contact I think should cost more than a grinding on fabric dance–and for all these reasons should cost more.
Additionally, my club isn’t equipped and ready to deal with body fluids. Maybe cum isn’t such a big deal but if a guy cums on a chair (or spills his drink, beer or semen get the same treatment), leaving a wet spot, that area is out of commission for the rest of the night, reducing the available space for dances while we wait for it to get cleaned and dry because customers don’t want to sit in mysterious wet spots. And tbh neither do I.
is it really unreasonable and whore-phobic to wish that the girl who fingers her asshole and pussy to just only do that in the back room, because when she does it onstage there’s no opportunity to wash her hands or even wipe them before she touches the pole, the rail, cash, customers, all with fingers that were just up her ass, and then other people have to follow her. I know from watching that people rarely wash their hands after using a bathroom but there’s something really viscerally gross about following a girl who just had her fingers two inches deep in her ass.
I don’t do extras and I actually feel really great about my income, but it is sometimes frustrating to know that the playing field isn’t all that level. Like if I were to do extras I would do them on an outcall basis for a fuckload more than we charge at the club, but it’s my position as a hot skinny white chick who already makes a lot in the club that allows me that luxury. The thing that rankles is knowing that butthole girl (fe) has a day job as a paralegal and as far as I can see has no reason for undercutting us all in such a blatant way except for sheer cussedness.
I think that it’s reasonable to try to come to standard practice as a group, and that’s why strippers and other sex workers should unionize more. (Or even just informally come to agreements more as a workforce within a club, brothel, what have you.) But the tone of the piece–its snide superiority, even its subtle disgust for extras girls, is way over the line.
What I mean by “value ourselves” is that there should be some kind of bottom line, I’m sorry Tristan but I really DONT think girls should be fucking for $20, anywhere!! If customers are willing to spend hundreds on lap dances, shouldn’t any sexual favors cost more, not less? I think that anyone who engages in any kind of sex work should have the dignity to ask for the price we all deserve.
I do think escorts have a right to express their opinions about this piece, but I don’t think you can understand how fast the strip club industry is changing, and how that is affecting dancer’s income and morale. In a dirty club environments you watch other girls do “extras” for next to nothing night after night, and it wears you down. Most dancers want the strip club to remain a STRIP CLUB and for sexual acts to be kept out of the club. Stripping as a whole requires so much more contact for less money than it did 10 years ago, and it is really demoralizing to watch women do public sex acts on stage, make genital contact with customers, and know that hand jobs/blow jobs go on for less than you used to make on a slow night doing none of the above.
“dirty club” is stripper slang for a club where extras take place. extras being sex acts that are against club rules, and also illegal. i don’t think using that term takes away from my point, that girls are on a race to the bottom as far as how much they are willing to do for how little $$$$$
This piece reeks of whorephobia, and I find it utterly disgusting.
Whilst I understand TAS publishing it, I would hope that it doesn’t become the norm.
I find the dichotomy of extreme jealousy mixed with whorephobia to be SO tired. Josephine, rather than complaining and wishing it was you, why don’t you try flipping your wrist sometime?
You might find yourself with more money, but unfortunately I think we’ll still find ourselves with the same level of your whorephobia.
The other comments on condoms and semen are so great that I don’t even need to go there.
The problem is not us. It’s you.
Maybe the ton of this piece is snide but standards in most strip clubs make extras the exception, not the rule, which is why many of us are strippers rather than whores. Why does Josephine’s frustration and exasperation (however rude) make the problem about stripping? they’re different jobs with different rules and boundaries, that’s the point.
We’re not saying it’s whorephobic as in biased vs. full service workers (Josephine makes it clear she doesn’t see stripping as superior to hooking) but rather whorephobic in the sense of sex worker phobic.
Well, I just solicited a piece from someone who’s absolutely unashamed of offering extras at her brothel, who’s written about the topic really boldly and well on tumblr, so we’re not going to let this be the only perspective on TAS. We’re also still looking for a piece from a stripper who offers extras–and if people feel a bit daunted facing negativity, it’s totally cool to write under a pseudonym.
I can think of nearly all of the girls at my club who would love to see this posted in the dressing room.
I just wish extras were legal and had there own set of rules then there wouldn’t be so many arguments, and unspoken rules not everyone plays by!
Seems to be a lot of people here nitpicking the diction of the author instead of discussing the meat of the issue. Stop dropping cliche words like slut shaming and whorophobia, and let’s all have talk about the issues.
I see no rational need to make this a prostitution vs dancers issue.
“Whorephobia” and “slut shaming” are words that reference meaningful phenomena, and they’re appropriate here. And words have power–it’s not just “nitpicking diction”.
This piece makes me sad. I’ve been a stripper, I’ve been a full-service escort, and I’m now a dominatrix , and it’s my feeling that this article is indeed slut-shaming. It’s one thing to vent a little amongst close friends, and people can say what they like on their own sites. But I don’t agree with TAS choice to publish it here.
From a strictly business perspective, this is just naive. There is such a thing as ethical behavior in all forms of business, and that’s definitely true of sex work as well, but saying that other dancers shouldn’t do things that you don’t want to do is like Burger King saying McDonalds shouldn’t serve french fries because BK doesn’t want to. That’s just not how business works.
And on a personal level, it is not anyone else’s responsibility to limit their sexual behavior to make you happy. Just because the sexual boundaries are born of both professional AND personal motivations does not give any third person to right to make “rules” about them. Lots of people would like to make rules saying women aren’t allowed to be strippers – why perpetuate that mindset?
(My only caveat would be that leaving condoms or big puddles of jizz is rude and not exactly sanitary. But if one wants to work in a hospital-clean environment, a strip club is the wrong place anyway.)
I’ve been hearing this exact same set of arguments and seeing these lists of “rules” for about twenty years now, from sex workers about other sex workers in the same industry, and from sex workers about sex workers in different industries, and it’s all the same. It is a projection of the shaming that people level at us. I understand the fear about not being able to make enough money to support oneself. No matter what anyone says, the sex industry feels the economic ups and down like anyone else. We’re under a lot of pressure in this life.
But these rules have never changed anyone’s behavior, and they aren’t going to. They just create division and anxiety in an already-stressful workplace.
Can I quote you on this? This was very eloquently put.
“(… But if one wants to work in a hospital-clean environment, a strip club is the wrong place anyway.)”
‘… but if you want to work in safe environment where nobody tries to stick their fingers in you without your consent, a strip club is the wrong place anyway.’
‘… girl, why you work here then???’
That last is what a customer said to me after trying to stick a finger in me without even asking first. The logic is the same. Why *shouldn’t* we be talking about raising the standard of working conditions in strip clubs? Of course, as long as customers are allowed to get their fluids all over the couches, the whole point is moot.
I very definitely agree that you should not have *your* sexual boundaries crossed. Guys trying to stick a finger into you? That’s not okay. It’s happened to me too, I get it.
But that’s different from two people *who are not you* doing something. You get to make rules about you. You don’t get to make rules about other people.
And I don’t agree that “if she does that it makes guys think we all do that, so she has to not do that”. Nope. Men think what they want to think about women’s sexual availability. They always have. (I don’t like or support that idea, but there it is.) The idea that women, by conforming to some arbitrary standard of sexual behavior, can change and control how men think/act is a fallacy designed to – guess what? – shame the women who don’t conform.
And we are all women who do not conform. Why would we buy into this idea?
I’ve worked in clubs where the strippers did their own enforcing of norms about what counts as “extra.” Interestingly, it was rare that guys in those clubs expected more than the usual. Of course, there’s always the occasional out-of-towner customer, and the occasional new girl who messes with the flow before either leaving or falling in line with the group, but overall it worked nicely. Word travels fast around guys who frequent any sort of adult establishment. Guys who expected extras went elsewhere, and guys who wanted to enjoy a few lapdances and a beer were free to come in, with minimal worry about getting caught in a raid or getting aggressively and embarassingly propositioned.
I mention that last because I’ve also worked in a club where the more desperate extras girls would walk right up to a guy and grab his dick as a greeting; this seemed to work less than half the time no matter how attractive the dancer might have been, which was lower than my success rate on most nights. Most of the customers hated it, a few high earner career strippers left the club, and management, not really caring one way or the other, happily welcomed the dick grabbers’ friends as replacements. The customers who just wanted dances, or at least didn’t want to be so openly solicited, stopped coming in, and were replaced over time by the friends of the guys who were all about getting their dicks grabbed. When it got to a point where I couldn’t make money without grabbing dicks, I quit that club too. Which is a shame, because I used to make great money there. More recently, I left what had been the last club in town where I could make money without crossing my boundaries, with pretty much the same story. Except this time, I was allowing somewhat more contact during dances than I used to, but was competing with blowjobs.
I don’t think any of us are exclusively blaming the extras girls. It’s a threefold problem: the girls who do cheap extras, the guys who expect them, and the clubs who don’t give a shit as long as they get their cut. That said, in a similar logic to any job where people talk about (or actually start) unionizing, nothing can be done to make the situation better unless people start working together. Since the clubs and the customers certainly aren’t looking to work with us, discussions like this one are badly needed.
thank you! I am really surprised at mistress Matisse, I work in a strip club because I don’t want to deal with body fluids or get surprise finger banged or suck dick and the assumption that these are all things that are on the menu is way off base! They aren’t, that’s the point!!! Even in Vegas VIP rooms this isn’t normalized, although I have heard the sky booths at sapphire called rape rooms so maybe up there, but those rooms are also like 1600 minimum. VIP at my club starts at 250 for a half hour and includes no actual sexual contact and my problem is with people suggesting that more should happen in a 20$ lapdance–why would someone condone the drastic undercutting of an industry and livelihood like this? Like it or not the strippers on here have a point and however offended you may get by the TONE, the CONTENT is valid.
Thank you so much for your wise perspective on the industry and the general economics truths.
I don’t understand the issue with the semen. Coming into contact with other people’s body fluids without prior consent is fucking unacceptable and unhygienic. Fuck without condoms if you want, it IS your body, but it’s uncool to subject those around you to contact with yours or your customer’s secretions.
This is a labor solidarity issue; it is not about whether performing any kind of sexual service for any price is wrong or bad. If you’re discounting dances, or giving significantly more per dance per dollar, you are a scab. It is a beggar-your-neighbor tactic that is wrong, undermines the notion that it is necessary to pay more for more service, and gives more control to the men who frequent clubs. If you want to fuck dudes for $20 or $1,000, with a condom or without, do it on your own time, not at the club.
This is a labour solidarity issue, but I think you’re coming at it from a really distorted angle. Those women you’re calling scabs are also doing labour in their workplace, and deserve your respect and solidarity just as much as anybody else.
Also, a scab is someone who intentionally breaks a strike during organised industrial action, and it’s a really intense slur to use. In this case it’s just completely inaccurate. What you are describing is someone working in an informal environment conducting themselves in a way that makes you unhappy. That’s something we can talk about, but it’s not ‘being a scab’. You don’t call someone a scab for doing overtime for free, or extra work for not enough money (I hope) – you encourage them to organise!
There’s where your labour solidarity should be.
No, it’s not being a scab. That’s a total misuse of that word. If you were running a coffee stand and the coffee stand down the street starts getting more business than you because they pour extra syrup into flavored lattes, that is not violating any code of ethics for business. You can either do it too, or not. It’s your decision.
I don’t love everything about capitalism and the economic structure of strips clubs – which is one of the reasons I stopped dancing – but don’t place the blame on the OTHER WOMEN. The club is the one creating this system with high house fees. If you really want to make rules, how about making one that says “Okay, ladies, as of today, we’re all paying $50 house fee* and NO MORE. That’s it, that’s all any of us will pay.” If dancers made that rule and everyone stuck to it, the club would pretty much have to accept it, it would solve a lot of economic pressure, and I bet a lot of the extras would cease.
Anyone who crossed that sort of labor line would be something more like a scab in my book. But I disagree with calling other women names when they are trying to make a living, same as you.
*Or whatever amount would be a fair rent in your market.
Since when is this about high house fees? The busiest clubs take a percentage of dances, they don’t charge a flat fee. Would we had flat fees!
We are all trying to make a living, and that’s exactly why extras inside the club is wrong. Extras are different than a business like a coffee shop offering an additional product or service. Why? Because it is not illegal to give customers a free espresso shot; it is illegal to give customers a blow job.
It is unfair to expect dancers to compete with a person who is willing to perform services that are allowed by neither club management or the law. It’s analogous to a factory that can offer a low-priced product because they illegally dump their waste materials; this is what I mean by “beggar your neighbor” – it becomes impossible to compete above board with the factory that offsets its production costs through illegal dumping.
If someone wants to offer sexual services of any description, at any price, they are able to do so. But not in a strip club. That is not what strip clubs are for, and that is not what dancers sign up to do. Girls who offer extras are taking advantage of the resources clubs offer: a large, captive audience and the ability to stand out in comparison to girls who don’t do extras. Go to a lingerie club! Start your own website! Get escort ads! Just don’t hook in my club.
Edited to add: By this logic, seeing people for additional services outside the club is fine, as would having a john come in for dances (but just dances!). Strip clubs are not set up for extra services.
Kate: Well, I danced in strip clubs in Florida, Georgia, Alaska, and Washington. I have never been in a club where all the private dances done by all the dancers did not routinely include some things that were illegal. And from a strictly legal standpoint, it does not really matter if you just lightly rub on his covered crotch, or pull his dick out and suck it.
So it’s possible you work in a very different sort of strip club than the ones I did, but I’d really be surprised to see either a law, or a written management statement, that says, for example, “Light-to-medium grinding is okay, but letting him suck your nipples is not.”
I sympathize with your anxiety about what’s happening at your job, and how the industry works – I really fucking do. But I feel that you’re misplacing the blame for the source of that stress.
I get that most of what a stripper who claims to not do extras does ion a lapdance is still illegal. I’ve worked in 7 or 8 different states, and to my knowledge, your point stands.
That said, everywhere I’ve ever worked or heard about in over 6 years of stripping, I have never once heard about a club getting raided over light grinding on crotches. But I’ve sure read a lot of news articles and heard stories from friends about raids on clubs where it was known that a guy could take his cock out.
Wow. This has been an enlightening lesson in intersectionality for me.
This piece was intended to be specific to strippers only.
I’ve reread it and have read all of the comments. I can certainly see the whorephobia and slut shaming. That was not my intent, but I won’t try to defend it.
I’m so sorry.
Thanks for the apology, and seriously, thank you for being brave enough to start this conversation. It’s one we’re way overdue to have as a community.
Thanks Josephine. I agree, it’s a conversation well worth having, and I’m glad you started it! I also really appreciate how graceful and generous this apology is – that ain’t easy. Genuinely impressed.
Also, I’ve been pretty critical in this thread, but I do appreciate how honest you were about your feelings re your job becoming harder – this is difficult stuff to talk about, and I think it speaks very keenly to the problems with labour conditions and lack of formal collective organizing that many of use are dealing with. A friend of mine commented elsewhere that so much of this seems to stem from the inability of many sex workers to set their own rates as a group in their workplace (as opposed to clubs/agencies etc), and I thought that was a really sensible point. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on that.
Red: My point is that you can’t control men by controlling women. Getting mad at dancers because the strip club industry is not to your liking (and I don’t say you are unreasonable for not liking it) is a waste of time and energy. They can’t change it any more than you can.
Josephine: that was a really gracious and graceful acknowledgement of some pretty pointed criticism. I sincerely commend you for that. I know from personal experience that it can be hard to hear a critique of one’s writing. And this is a subject that hits emotional hot spots for a lot of people.
There is stuff that I’ve written in the past that I now have a different perspective on, and would talk about differently now. Your response gives me hope that we can use the very-valid-concerns raised here about sex workers having their limits crossed, and economic stress, to have a useful and affirming conversation.
I was an announcer/bodyguard/driver for dancers in a club. When one of them started doing OTC on the sly I had to tell her not to disappear for too long a time. The other girls caught on and took her under their wings.
josephine’s tone is superior but setting the tone aside, this is an issue that many many a stripper has grumbled about many many a time and it’s sensible as fuck that TAS post and discuss it.
my two cents: comparing the situation of an extras stripper and a dance-only stripper to two different place of business (burger king/McD and two coffeeshops) isn’t analogous because THEY’RE IN THE SAME BUILDING under the same conditions and management. they are not separate business entities though they are separate “representatives”. i use that word slightly cringing but the point is that strippers in a single club are all supposed to adhere to the same rules/codes of conduct. though we aren’t technically employees a certain cohesive ethos is preferable. the minute you step out of the club, go for it – free time, fuck or don’t fuck however you want for however much you want. but when the pricelist at the club says twenty bucks for a dance and someone chooses to charge that for a blow job that certainly is scab-like.
i’ve worked in a variety of clubs with a variety of rules. by choosing to work in those clubs i sign up to follow those rules -again i’m not an employee but the club is still not my personal dominion where i can charge whatever i want. it’s not a free for all race to the bottom. we all sign the same forms saying we will charge certain prices for certain activities. not agreeing to play by the rules is shitty for your coworkers and i’ve worked and survived in club environments where the critical mass had committed to the same guidelines and i’ve worked in clubs where extra girls ran the place. as a dance-only stripper and as a worker bee, more generally speaking, the atmosphere in the former was preferable. and i don’t think it’s slut shaming to note the difference.
can I quote this?
To me, Josephine is saying that “Extra Girls” devalue her earning potential. When a dude drops his load, he’s done. No more dances, maybe a beer or two more, then he’s outta there. It costs the strippers, waitresses, and the club money. A strip club is like a casino. The longer a customer is there, the more cash he spends. Isn’t this the ultimate goal? Keep the dudes interested, horny, drinking, and buying dances.
I dont read any whorephobia or slut shaming. Yes, she’s irritated by the by-product of actions, but not by the people themselves. I read her asking EGs to keep the common work area that they all share, clean and hygenic. This isnt different at any other job on the planet.In the end, Josephine is making a reasonable workplace request.
Honest communication of these issues can only help tip the scales of power back to you, where it belongs. A club full of strippers that act as a team would end most of the common problems- abusive/manipulative/unfair club management and lead to a safer, cleaner, and nicer workplace. And, increase profits for the strippers.
The attitude of: “I don’t want any women around here who do sexual things that I don’t approve of, for reasons that I don’t personally condone”, is one that sits oddly on any woman who is herself a sex worker, given that reasoning is more or less the exact sort of thing said by people who want to shut down strip clubs (and all other forms of sex work) entirely.
A strip club, like all other forms of group sex work in the US*, is an environment utterly controlled by third parties who do not have our well-being at heart, and who definitely want to prevent any sense of unity among us as a class of labor. As long as dancers fight amongst themselves, management can get away with high house fees and less-than-optimal working conditions. Any notion that sex workers can fundamentally change the structure of those environments by attempting to finely control what sexual activities their coworkers may or may not engage in – and for how much money – is misguided and doomed to failure.
I have had every job I can think of in the sex industry, and I think being a stripper is the most stressful. Strip clubs – far more than brothels or massage parlors, in my experience – are close-quarters pressure-cookers. I think that’s because unlike other sex work jobs, the service takes place in more-or-less full view of other workers and customers. It’s really easy to examine and critically judge other girls (and oneself too) and get stressed about it. And since customers often get dances from more than one dancer in a visit, there’s lot of opportunities for the customer to see and leverage an individual dancer’s anxiety as well.
My experience suggests to me that a lot of women see the sex industry as a short-term work option and wish to approach it in the manner of a temporary employee. That approach has drawbacks when one is, in fact, the business owner. I danced at the now-defunct peep show, The Lusty Lady, here in Seattle, and it was a really novel experience for me to actually be a legal employee and get a paycheck as a sex worker. I wish there were more non-exploitative options for women to do that. But the truth is dancers are small business owners just as surely as the person who runs a coffee stand.
I’m not a dancer anymore, so my ability to offer marketing advice to dancers has limits. But I am – and I always have been – willing and happy to offer any sort of advice/resources I can to any sex worker. I think group discussion about “how can I make more money without crossing my own sexual boundaries?” is a good discussion to have. I think it is both useless and mean-spirited to have one about “how can I keep those dirty whores from being dirty whores?”
With that, I think I should stop talking, unless someone really wishes to engage with me.
*Except the collectively-run Lusty Lady in San Francisco.
The infuriated women here are the ones who: do extras in the club, or escorts outside the club.
Here’s the point, it’s not about slut-shaming, the simple fact is that hooking in the club puts the club at risk.
It’s not unheard of a business to be shut down or fined because of illegal activity; this affects lots of people. Bar staff, bouncers, DJs, dancers, whatever.
Don’t endanger the woman who agree to dance naked, if you want to do more.
If an Extras girl wants to make my job more difficult, I’ll have no problem making hers a lot more difficult too.
Stripping is my job. And I’m not going to be put out of work by someone who refuses to follow the rules.
I don’t find this letter whore-phobic at all and I don’t agree with the majority of the comments so far. Some commenting are not even dancers and are just nit-picking instead of looking at the issue at hand. That does not mean their comments are not credible or that they should not comment, but I am a no extras dancer and I have seen first hand how the extras dancers fuck with my money.
I dance in LA and it’s bad here but I cannot even imagine how bad it is out in Detroit. I know both strippers and escorts are sex workers, but the strip club is meant for, well, stripping. I understand that it doesn’t matter what you do or where you go and that there will always be girls doing more, but I would say that stripping and escorting are completely different ball games. Me saying that in no way discredits escorts or demeans them. One of my best friends is an independent escort and an ex stripper and she tells me girls who bare back don’t hurt her game NEARLY as much as the extras girls hurt the non-extras girls in the club. The reason why extras girls make so much more is BECAUSE sex is a different ball game….
People are defending extras girls and throwing out terms like “coming together” and “respect”…. I feel like if they had any respect for the dancers, they would go elsewhere because they know exactly what they are doing to their coworkers and that’s affecting their well-being, big time. I’ve definitely sat in bodily fluids in VIP from the girl before me getting busy and it’s not pleasant. I’ve had guys in VIP get rough with me or become verbally abusive because they expect sex because some other dancer gave it up before. I’ve lost regulars who paid most of my rent to girls who do extras… I will never tell someone how to do their job or try to make them feel like their reasons for doing what they do are not legitimate, but I work at a strip club and not in a brothel for a reason, and to tell non extras dancers to DEAL WITH IT is extremely ignorant and annoying. Deal with it? Talk about patronizing.
And some of you are seriously using the “Well, if you don’t like it then why do you work there? JUST QUIT” approach? I can’t even begin to express how terrible this logic is. Someone could say the same thing when a dude tries to force himself on a girl in VIP… Well, it’s a strip club and girls are naked and dudes are all drunk and worked up… It’s to be expected right? You’re surprised? Well, if you don’t like it then get out! As if it’s deserved and OK. And I think we can all agree that is never ok. Should we all just just not be concerned about the standard of our working environment? Red is on point: I work at a strip club because I DON’T want to sit in cum, or have a surprise finger shoved up my ass.
Another comment I saw: “Many of the girls whining the loudest about extras are very high earners who have no clue what it might be to have to make that choice, and I find the utter lack of compassion for those who do to be utterly fucking repulsive.” I know girls who don’t make shit and girls who make over a grand a night and they ALL have a problem with it. This not specific to just high earners and just because they don’t want to compete with actions that don’t belong in a strip club doesn’t mean they lack compassion at all. I consider myself a very passionate person, I have escort friends and they know my stance on this issue. I’m also not making very much at the club and have never really been a top earner, and I still have these same views.
Despite the fact that I don’t agree with extras in the club, I do have to “deal with it” because there is nothing I can personally do and thinking about the lost money just brings me down at work and loses me MORE money…. Still doesn’t make it right. The standard in clubs in that the girls do not do extras. As Red said, extras are the exception, not the rule, which is why many of us are strippers and not escorts. And to those who are saying that men will always want sex in the club and the women shouldn’t be blamed if they are just giving them what they want… Save it. If that’s the case, then they should be discouraged from coming to the strip club for that and should hit up some establishments where there are escorts galore and everyone is competing more or less in the same game.
This is everything I wanted to say. Thankyou L.A. for such a thoughtful response.
My opinion on the topic of the letter is that she absolutely right. No extras should be given in a strip club, period. I don’t feel that way for any reason other than strips clubs are completely the wrong environment for that type of thing. It’s illegal, it’s unhygenic, and it’s unsafe. Yes, girls who give dirty dances or do extras have are putting “regular” strippers at a disadvantage and it’s absurd to think that “regular” strippers are on some moral high horse for pointing that out. So, there’s that.
However, the girls who feel offended have every right to be offended. When reading their responses it reminded me of the post about the “GoGo dancer who is ‘NOT’ a stripper.” Everybody got so up in arms because, how dare she say bad things about strippers, she’s no better than us. I do think it is important to call the extras girls out, but they can still be butt hurt about it.
I feel like this thread might indicate the need for a sex work 101 lesson. Maybe a round table discussion? I’m noticing that most of the comments are coming from people that have little or no working knowledge of stripping.
Elle: “The infuriated women here are the ones who: do extras in the club, or escorts outside the club.” I’m neither, and I am fucking infuriated by this comment. You don’t think you’re being massively whorephobic with that sort of bullshit shut-down? You are trying to intimidate and belittle other people into silence and complicity. And that attitude fucking stinks on ice.
The only people not listening or trying to understand here are the prostitutes, and only a few of them, yourself included, have worked in a strip club. So tell me, did you do extras as a stripper? Kitty, do you? Because if you haven’t come forward yet to say you have, I’m betting you didn’t and don’t, you save actual sexual transactions for outside the club. Because you know it’s a shitty and undermining labor practice even if the reasons behind it are valid.
We UNDERSTAND that the people who do extras are mostly those who feel that they can’t compete, for a variety of reasons; we understand intersectionality and the concept of interlocking oppressions and all the other things that make this a sensitive subject and have all these nonstrippers (who for the most part aren’t even WORKING in the conditions we are talking about here and display zero understanding or empathy for them, “turn your wrist” excuse me? as if i haven’t, and didn’t decide that dancing was a better and safer option for me). jumping down our throats and using the concept of slut-shaming to shut down actual discussion which NEEDS to happen.
I don’t think it’s really fair to say that full service workers on this thread aren’t listening, or trying to understand. Many of us are trying to engage in this discussion thoughtfully, and have indicated an interest in learning more about the specific issues facing strippers. But we’re also feeling hurt and upset, and so yeah, some of us are sounding angry. That’s because many comments here, as well as the original article, have ideas in them that feel like an attack (not specifically on escorts, no, but comments that read as slutshaming in a way that feels particularly hurtful to full service workers). I don’t think we should invalidate those feelings by saying that people aren’t listening, and I do think we need to recognize that there are maybe some privilege issues at play here in terms of how easy it is for different kinds of sex workers to deal with this discussion.
Red: Did I do “extras”? Sure I did. I’ve never actually fucked anyone in a strip club, mainly because I wasn’t experienced enough to know how to negotiate that when I worked in the high-contact places. But I’m quite sure I did things that were “extra”, because the very word “extras” has a slightly different meaning to everyone who says it. There isn’t a stone tablet with exactly what does and what does not constitute an “extra” that gets handed down from Stripper Heaven. My first strip club was the Mons Venus in Tampa, and it was a high-contact club. I thought that was just what all strippers did. I went to a club in Georgia and scandalized the girls there until I learned (by watching, because nobody would talk to me until some pissy girl was ready to punch me in the face) what was okay and what was not. And even then, it wasn’t exactly that I was grinding too much or too often, it was that I wasn’t charging enough, in her eyes. So she was mad. Other girls, in the same club, didn’t give a damn. A whole bunch of girls all observing my behavior and having completely different reactions to it. The phrase “extra” – and the idea behind it – is different club to club and dancer to dancer.
Amen, wow. I really couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you.
How do you figure that? I’ve never been a top earner at my clubs and I still have a problem with extras. I know plenty more dancers that make just as much as I do and they feel the same way. This is not exclusive to top earners at all…..
Michelle of many names: Okay, let’s pull the “extras get clubs raided” thread a bit. There’s a logical fallacy known as “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”, which is Latin for “after this, therefore because of this” that I think applies here. I was in a raid once at Seattle Lake City Déjà Vu, which was (at least at that time) a club with relatively low-contact dances. I also danced at the notorious Rick’s in Seattle, which was very definitely a club where a lot of contact happened. Like, a LOT. It didn’t get raided while I was there. Rick’s eventually got shut down. Lake City Déjà Vu? Still there. Observation anecdotes are not always reliable data in matters like this.
So I feel there’s a problem with the mental slide from “I know that clubs get raided sometimes” to “…and I know why that happens, and what I must do to prevent it”. I think this is sort of like all those “rape-prevention tips” you see. It encourages us to think stuff like, “Well, if I don’t wear my hair in a ponytail, then I won’t get raped.” Everyone wants to make sense of their universe, so all humans all have a tendency to reason this way. But – it’s not accurate, and it’s not really making anyone safe.
Clubs don’t get raided because of dancers, clubs get raided because someone with more power than dancers wants them to be. The idea that if dancers behave like nice girls who don’t do dirty things then customers/cops/society won’t punish them is just… fallacious. We live in a sex-negative society, and dancers are sex workers. I am 100% in support of dancers not having anything nonconsensual done to them. But I continue to say that the vast majority of problems in clubs with both money and customer behavior are the fault of the club owners and, after that, the customers. There is a whole class and gender system that works together to keep poor and disempowered people – sex workers, in this case – poor and disempowered. Dancers are wasting energy and hurting each other by trying to police each other.
Please see my reply to you from 3:35am, if you haven’t already. I think that may clear up my point about this further.
I see some real logical issues in the thinking on both sides of this argument. My initial response to you was pointing out that your comment sounded very much like those of the men who feel entitled to disrespect all of us, strippers and escorts alike, when we get upset at being disrespected.
I’m quite aware that the plural of anecdote is not data, but lacking any real data (other than LE and news reports, which aren’t of amazing reliability on these matters), we need to rely on our narratives.
Josephine posted hers, and it clearly resonates with many of us who have worked regularly in strip clubs during the last couple of years. Even many of us who read TAS, i.e. tend towards activism against slut-shaming and whorephobia right along with escorts who we consider to be our friends and allies. It was an angry letter. It provoked an angry response from about half the site’s commenters. That doesn’t mean it didn’t make or at least approach a number of valid points.
I read this piece while taking a break at the club in BFE where I’m currently working. I go through the trouble of traveling out here partially because the rules are consistent with my personal preference regarding contact levels. I’m a “when in Rome” type stripper but if given the choice, my comfort level is one-way contact. When I arrived, I saw an extras girl I used to work with in Portland and my heart sank.
I didn’t rally other dancers to drive her out with pitchforks, just made a mental note not to approach customers after her and kept on doing my thing which is “staying in my own lane” at work. I realize that every dancer has a different backstory, financial situation–whatever–that may influence her decision to do extras. But having some compassion for where my coworkers are coming from really doesn’t make their lowering the quality of my workplace any less shitty.
I’ve worked in clubs where coworkers who would leave used condoms in the dance rooms, which I would happen upon with my customers. In the least, it was icky and made for awkward conversations (“How’d that get there?!” *nervous laughter*). This doesn’t make me whorephobic. I don’t like it when my coworkers pee all over the toilet seat or throw their tampons on the bathroom floor, either.
I’m bummed to see how attacked Josephine was for this piece. Anyone not currently working as an exotic dancer needs to respectfully stand down here. I feel like some of you are whorephobicphobic.
This. This. This.
Again, I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that sex workers not currently stripping shouldn’t comment on this article. I do agree that it’s gotten heated to the point where pretty much everybody is feeling defensive and misunderstood, which I don’t think is great. As a non-stripper, I would actually really like to hear a lot more about these issues from strippers, I just don’t think this discussion framed that in a great way. Even the author has agreed with that now, so I think that’s pretty much settled. I also don’t think being criticized or having your work problematized in this way is the same thing as being attacked, but I also know it’s really hard to read a lot of negative feedback on your work, so I appreciate the way Josephine’s responded to that, and I do sympathize. I don’t think the answer is for everyone who hasn’t stripped to stand down though (although a general cool-off period for all parties might be wise at this point) – I actually think many people (be they strippers or escorts or dommes etc) have made a lot of really constructive comments, and I’m pleased to see such a productive discussion taking place.
I can’t speak for all the non extras girls, but for me… I was very surprised to see some of the comments that I did… Especially in the beginning where it seemed no one could see the actual point of the letter. Bottom line: girls who do extras kill money for those who don’t do extras. That is a fact. A girl who doesn’t do extras can still make money, sure, but it impacts every girl who won’t go that far, top earners or not.
I agree with Kat when she says: “I realize that every dancer has a different backstory, financial situation–whatever–that may influence her decision to do extras. But having some compassion for where my coworkers are coming from really doesn’t make their lowering the quality of my workplace any less shitty.”
We all (sex workers) put a lot of mental and physical work into prepping for our jobs. Whether we get our hair done, get our nails done, spend obscene amounts of money on makeup, clothing and heels, get waxed… It’s a lot of time, energy, money, and upkeep… So it’s definitely discouraging when I walk into work, post pep talk, feeling fabulous with the upmost confidence…. and then make almost no money from VIPs because the guys are coming in just for the extras girls. Sometimes it’s hard enough already competing with non extras dancers, but when you throw extras in there and it’s being done right under my nose, I’m not ok with it.
Yes, very much this.
Gonna second that this is not an issue exclusive to just conventionally hot white chicks who bank no matter what.
I’m reasonably fit but by no means “stripper thin,” I don’t have big or amazing tits, and I haven’t been a top earner in a few years (it’s relevant to note here that when I *was* known as “the girl who always makes bank” at my clubs, I was also 30 pounds overweight and allowing less contact during dances than I have in the last year or two).
And I still think that giving extras for the price of dances (or close to it) is a problem.
When I was stripping, I found that it was not at all useful to be down on gals who may be providing something I didn’t want to. While I was a whore, porn performer and jack-off booth lady before stripping, I did not find the strip club environment ideal for unleashed-penis activities, so I didn’t do them. Instead I did my best with what I was willing to offer. Sometimes I got customers because they liked my personality or my body type or the fact that I could have a decent conversation or I had an OK sales pitch. Sometimes I was lucky enough to approach him just as he was jonesing for a moment of privacy in VIP during which to snort some coke, or perhaps his buddy had just been hustled to VIP. Whatever. My point is that in terms of making money, I don’t think it will ever be useful to spend energy and time being hard on others instead of improving yourself.
OK – but is this a conversation about your personal stripper earnings, or is this a conversation about working conditions in strip clubs? If it’s a conversation about “extras” and how they affect your personal strategies for making money as a stripper depending on your boundaries, it probably belongs on a forum like stripperweb. But if it’s about working conditions in strip clubs, then I think there ARE many more interesting things to discuss, such as house fees and required scheduled shifts and general ways that strip clubs fuck dancers by treating them like employees while classifying them as independent contractors. Blah blah blah – I guess it seems like there are MANY issues arising here and it would be good to break them down.
But I do want to say that as a stripper, I have found it un-useful to my personal earnings AND my conscience to be down on or even really pay too much attention to “extras”. When guys have whipped out their dicks in VIP cos that’s what they did “last time” with some “other girl”, I’ve just said that’s not ok w/ me…and I give them the unique experience of being with ME. Cos that’s what it’s all about, “extras” or not.
Stripping is an emotionally and physically challenging job that can pay pretty damn well. But it ain’t easy and you gotta have the skills and energy to make money selling yourself within your boundaries – and I do think it’s lame to bitch just because it is not a cup of tea, is not a completely controlled environment and exposes you to other peoples’ realities. Stripping offers great money if you’re willing to deal with the trade-offs, one of which is the unavoidable reality that it’s a marketplace for sexual stimulation in ALL it’s varieties and you just have to find your place within that.
A strip club is a space dancers share with each other, customers, and staff. Because it’s a common space, there are rules that we follow to make sure things are nice for everyone – like, say, a public park, where it’s against the rules to throw trash on the ground or uproot flowers. We pay the same tip-outs, take turns going on stage, and charge the same amount for dances. If a dancer doesn’t want to play by the rules, she’s free to find a space where the rules suit her, or create her own. Dancing at a club implies that you understand and will abide by the rules, because when you don’t, you make life miserable for your fellow dancers, whether that’s hustling off someone’s rack, always being late to stage, or giving blow jobs in the back. Just like someone who doesn’t pick up their dog’s shit makes everybody in the park miserable – and why we sanction that kind of bad behavior with a fine or expulsion from the park.
You don’t get to do whatever you want in a shared space. Your space, hell yes. Leave your condoms wherever. Charge thousands or a few bucks. But in a shared space, there are rules for how we use it, and some of those rules concern what type of services are allowed, and the minimum charge allowed.
No one here has said that it is wrong to sell sexual services. We all make a living from sex work. But if you are so unsuccessful as a dancer that you are ‘forced’ to perform extras in order to make ends meet, then stripping is not the industry for you. You are failing as a dancer, but succeeding as a hooker (and making it more difficult for the women you work with, to boot).
I agree that there are some problems with the article, and I don’t agree that you have to have specific work experience to have opinions on sex work (I’ve never worked as a prostitute, and yet I have opinions on it). I think it is always wrong to tell anyone (regardless of work experience) that they should not be thinking about something. But – I also feel pretty confident that a huge number of strippers would largely share the viewpoint of this article. Does that mean there is something wrong with all of them? Or does that mean that this issue of “are there “right” boundaries between different kind of sex work” or “solidarity in market capitalism” need to be teased out a little more?
I think part of the issue with this conversation is that when you strip away moral panic what is left is a bunch of people essentially trying to fix a market. Like – without the moral issues, and without saying that there is something inherently wrong and “dirty” you are left with kind of a competition argument (please be gentle if I am wrong about this). The basic tenet of the marketplace is that competition is meant to benefit the consumer, therefore stifling it is bad. But we’re the industry – like most industries we don’t really care about consumers, except for how to extract the most for the least. That does not make for a good position; it is hard to justify without appealing to the laws most of us don’t like and moral rigidity which we don’t necessarily fit into well.
On the other hand – there are boundaries between different kinds of sex work, and surely there is room for us to non-judgmentally want to stick with one and not the other? Like – when I think about my career, I spent like 15 years stimulating men’s genitals using parts of my body that were not my hand, vagina or mouth. Totally comfortable grinding a cock with my ass; suggest I put my hand on it and I get all squirrelly. Probably a lot of women who work in strip clubs feel the same way. It is a weird and tenuous market, when you think about it, because that is kind of a fucked up thing to want to do. It is a very weird thing to sell, overall, and that makes it kind of a fragile ecosystem. For the tens of thousands of women who have found that market and don’t necessarily want to jump into other kinds of sex work, is there a right way to want to protect that market? And a different question – is there a “right” way to resent people for undermining that market? (I have no answers to this, by the way. If anyone does I would like to hear).
The tone of the article has shades of moral panic, which unsurprisingly, irks the people it moralizes against. But that doesn’t mean there are no issues worth talking about.
WOW those are a lot of comments. I’m a super clean dancer, but have worked at clubs where all the other girls were grinding and accused me of being a prostitute because I talk super dirty. I feel very sorry for girls who are falsely accused of doing extras when they ARE NOT doing them, as happens to me from time to time. I think I’ve been bullied and falsely accused because I’m a good hustler. However, to the real prostitutes in the strip club, please don’t make my job more difficult. I’d also love to kill the men who touch me and assume they’ll get to. They are the patriarchy that doesn’t ask for consent, and these men should die.
Can we please not use the concepts “dirty” and “clean” to refer to more or less contact stripping? It’s very stigmatizing.
I’ve also had sadistic customers tell girls that I gave them a hand job when I give air dances. This happened to me multiple times at Union Jacks and everyone thought I was a hand job peddler. I wash my hands multiple times a night because I’m a germophobe, and people began to spread rumors that it was because my hands were covered in semen. Not true whatsoever. Sometimes these rumors are false. All it takes is one jealous dancer and one sadistic man to ruin a girl’s whole work life, particularly if that girl is quiet and doesn’t talk to anyone, but makes lots of money.
Thanks to all of you for your passion, intelligence, and ability to engage civilly with one another while disagreeing. We are (temporarily!) closing comments to allow a cooling off period. Our inbox and twitter feed are always available to you should you need to get something off your chest immediately. Comments will reopen in a day or two.
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Whorephobic is the word of the day. But the author of this letter is not whorephobic. A phobia is an irrational fear, and her fear of whores is rational and grounded. Whores are undercutting her business, and more importantly, threatening her employment by performing illegal acts.
Look, it’s silly that prostitution hasn’t been legalized/decriminalized yet, but it hasn’t. Until it’s legal, or Charlie Sheen becomes president (and he will), these girls are putting everyone at risk and need to be weeded out and fired.
I was a bartender at a club where this type of shit was the norm, and it pissed me off. On a given night, there might be fifty to a hundred dancers, three managers, seven bartenders, twenty cocktail waitresses, a DJ, five or more bouncers, a couple door girls, some bar-backs, kitchen staff, etc. When a girl puts that dick in her mouth, she puts all of those people’s jobs in jeopardy. She threatens the families and people who depend on those employees to supply income. She needs to step away from the penis, and examine the bigger picture.
No liquor license = no club. There is no argument against that. Until President Sheen is in office, and Pizza Huts are replaced by Handjob Huts, if you need to perform illegal acts to make ends meet, please be considerate and do it in an environment where you are the only one at risk.
I like the site, keep up the good work.
“Whorephobic” is a word that’s been used by the sex workers’ rights movement since the 70s to convey hatred or prejudice vs. sex workers–in the same way that “homophobic” doesn’t connote irrational fear of queer people.
1.) Sometimes girls will not have a luxury to just chose whatever club they want. I’d rather compete with girls who follow the rules and look “hotter” or “dance better” (I say this in quotes because it all depends on a customer’s preference), than girls who don’t follow the rules and may only land VIP’s because they do extras. I’ve heard guys come out of VIP, tell their friends they just got a blow job and it was “alright”, despite the fact she wasn’t “hot or a good dancer on stage.” It’s no longer about that in some cases. So that competition comparison is just way off.
2.) I shouldn’t have to travel 3 times as far (and spend more to do so) just to dance somewhere that may be a little more “suitable” when there is a club right near where I live. TO be honest, there aren’t man clean clubs where I’m at. I would say that might be my problem… Anything that costs me more money when I shouldn’t have to spend/lose it is my problem.
3.) I can see the point you’re trying to make…. There will always be competition… But no sex vs. sex in a place where you are supposed to only strip is definitely different. Going from dancing on a guy to sucking or fucking is way different from fucking with or without a condom. At least the latter is in the same ball park.
for all those naysaying the article because it doesn’t take into account extras girls who are underprivileged, poor, or under a lot of stress, i’d like to point out that actually the dancer only dancers who are underprivileged, poor or under a lot of stress are probably the most impacted by extras girls. not being underprivileged, i actually knew that a night when an extras girl seemed to rack dollars on every customer i would have got (yes, i know it’s just my perception) didn’t mean that my children or I wouldn’t eat or be able to pay rent. yet, dancer only dancers who didn’t have that privilege often spoke to the pressure to take on acts they weren’t comfortable with due to the extras girl competition. in other words, the people i saw most fucked over by extras girls were the underprivileged dancers that some people here assume MUST BE the extras girls.
my point here is that there should be enough compassion to go around. i agree with what kat said way way way up there in the comment ladder about having compassion for extras girls and their choices and needs and also recognizing a shit situation for a lot of other people (who aren’t all privileged hot chicks).
[…] Got Problems: George TakeiAn Open Letter to the Extras GirlMy Sex Work Bucket List: CatyYou’re Not Not Funny: The Onion’s Ten Funniest Stripper […]
Most of you probably feel that I really have no right to comment on this, because I’m a flamboyant but straight guy.
Here is my connection to stripping. I spent a number of years selling clothes & shoes to strippers, and some escorts at a fair markup. In fact most of my sales were made by strippers who wanted to make extra cash on the side, which I split with them 50/50 on profit. Our prices were usually 1/2 of what you would find in the specialty store. I have friends who work both as strippers and escorts, and a couple who have done both.
I have owned my own traditional business, with beauty service employees with different skill levels, insurance, workers comp., and alot of other issues that independant contractors do not have to deal with. I also have worked as an independent contractor for some manipulative and controlling folks at times.
On top of this I enjoy going into the local strip clubs to relax, play pool, chat, and get a dance from time to time. I always spend money, and often tip above the posted price. I don’t ask for or expect extras at the clubs I frequent because I know it is a strip club, and I respect the boundaries of others. Over the years I have given this piece of advice to dancers when they get a customer in that is pushy and looking for more than a dance from the girls at the club. It is this,
It is unfair to this customer to lead him on and bad for the community of dancers working under the same guidelines at the club to allow him to stay and be conned (led on), and frustrated. This guy afterwards will leave dissatisfied with his “night at the club”. He will do one of the following:
1. Bash the clubs name – the girsl there are all ugly, smelly, lesbians (but not the cool kind), etc…
2. Lie and brag about imaginary illegal exploits. These rumors can then damage the club, its dancers, and its workers livelihoods. This is directly in regards to law enforcement.
3. Lie a little to just close friends, and attract more customers that can’t be satisfied legally, thus perpetuating the problem.
The best solution is that of excellent customer service. Just like on the Christmas movie “Miracle on 21st Street” If they don’t have what the customer wants at Macy’s send him to Gimbal’s.
So have on hand a web address where that customer can go and contact a escort, which is what he thought he could find here. If you escort on your non-club days as well or have a friend who does, let him know the fake name to search for, many girls will even kick back a bit as a referral fee. Later when its his friend birthday or bachelor party he will remember the good customer service and bring them back here for a fun time. He also won’t have anything bad to say about the club when asked, other than they don’t do extras there and everyone seemed nice.
Just an idea. 🙂
Are you serious? If a guy goes into a strip club hoping to get laid, dancers are leading him on? I don’t know, I guess I don’t feel that sorry for men who find themselves in that position. And like Caty said, it would put us in legal danger to be recommending prostitutes to our customers (it would possibly be pandering, which is a more serious offense than prostitution in most places). Besides, it’s not our job. If you’re looking for an escort and you’re smart enough to find your way to a strip club, you are also probably smart enough to get in the internet yourself without wasting a stripper’s time at work.
Unfair to “lead him on”? Talk about male entitlement. And have you considered the legal risk that strippers would be taking recommending escorts?
I’ve thought about this for a few days, and I feel the problem with this conversation is that it’s devoid of context. Sex work does not operate in a political vacuum. In fact, I think it’s a bit ahead of the curve in this matter. Strippers started getting fucked over by club owners in the nineties. The rest of the US had a few more years of economic bliss before everything went sideways. Right now, the disparity between corporate wealth and power and the rights/pay of individual workers is HUGE – bigger than it’s ever been in my lifetime. Strippers have it really tough – and so do the majority of Americans. I don’t know anyone who works for a big corporation who is not getting non-consensually finger-banged by them.
Strip club rules are: strippers pay the club a lot of their money. That’s the only rule the club owners care about. They do not personally give a damn how you get it, as long as you give a lot of it to them. And as long as they’re making enough money (off the dancers), even the occasional raid isn’t that big a deal to them. They’ll pay the fine and open up the next day, because to a big corporation, it’s all part of doing business.
So when I hear strippers talk about how if everyone just followed the rules, there would be no problems, I have to say: I really, really don’t think that’s true. I think everyone who’s working for a big corporation in America – or who, you know, invested their savings in one that went bankrupt or bought a house with a dodgy mortgage from one – would LIKE that to be true, because I believe that most people are decent people who generally will do what’s right.
But workers from WalMart to Microsoft are following the rules, and they are getting overworked and underpaid as much as women at the Big Tits stripper-chains. The corporate strip club system is rigged to take money from dancers. I think there are better ways and worse ways to deal with a rigged system, but I am very clear that it’s a mistake to blame co-workers for a system they did not devise, can not control, and do not profit from any more than you.
You may not agree with me. But let me ask: where are these clubs where strippers do nothing but dance in a manner that everyone thinks is cool, and everyone makes enough money doing so? Because I myself have not seen very many dancers saying that about their clubs lately. (And by “not very many”, I mean: not any. And by “lately”, I mean: for, like, ten years.)
If there are clubs like this, I’d be interested to know how they are doing that, because the system all the clubs-that-are-not-like-this are using does not seem to be working. But if there are not any clubs like this – then I would suggest that that rather makes my point.
You are so spot on with this, as with the rest of the comments of yours that I have read. You have hit the actual nail, rather than hammering all around. There have been many important opinions stated by everyone from all their different perspectives and some points seem more serious or emotional and stand out from the fray.
But the dichotomy of the sex worker and the *pimp (read corporate/club owners) is THE point at the center of this whole web. They set the stage, create disunity, collect undeserved fees and percentages of our money (often through extortion), don’t provide healthy working conditions, don’t offer enough protection against aggressive and rude guests and even get us to police ourselves through whore shaming.
If there is anyone who feels that there is even more to be derived from this, so far enlightening, discourse beyond sharing our opinions and bringing difficult issues to light, I would love to talk with anyone who is seriously interested in creating a plan that services all of us (stripper and escort alike) over and above the corporations and moral authorities that have us under their boots and penned in legal or illegal shaming corners.
In many ways we are disenfranchised as an industry, while at the same time still reaping enough benefits that we still choose this over other professions. I feel this paradox acutely and chronically. I’m thinking of a more cohesive banding together of strippers state wide or even nation wide where we begin to set our own standards. I also envision a legal platform for escorts or prostitutes to work from, that would no doubt take time and momentum, much like the movement to legalize marijuana. I know positive things and lots of money can come from all of us sex workers putting our heads together and working for and with each other as an industrial unit that strives for monetary and sexual autonomy. ✊
It’s very late to weigh in, and there’s so much to say, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I appreciate many of the comments here but Kat’s and Story’s in particular. To accuse someone of being “whorephobic” because they don’t want semen all over their workplace is ridiculous, as is the accusation that any stripper unhappy about extras must be extremely privileged. It’s one thing to talk about how power dynamics often play out; it’s another to imply that those dynamics create an absolute, rigid system within which everyone on side “X” must be the most stunningly beautiful and rich white girl ever to grace a stage and everyone else is disadvantaged in multiple ways. On behalf of the strippers I know who are broke as hell and don’t offer extras, that infuriated me. I’d ask us all to be mindful, now and in the future, that our urge to acknowledge and address privilege doesn’t turn into a replica of how sex work prohibitionists talk about most of us who read, write, and comment on this site. (“You’re just a small privileged minority, your opinion is selfish and irrelevant.”)
With that said, I love how many issues were raised in response to this, and I think ultimately the core problems are 1)criminalization (How can we ignore Elle’s point that if a girl is caught giving extras, the whole club can be shut down? That *is* directly jeopardizing someone else’s livelihood, not just surmising that Baseball Cap guy would have spent more on clean dances if he weren’t saving up for a VIP room blow job) and 2) the club fees and shitty management. But I say that as a hooker, not a stripper, and I’m happy to defer to the experts on these topics, meaning the women who are currently stripping and who think about these issues on a near-daily basis.
I’d ask us all to be mindful, now and in the future, that our urge to acknowledge and address privilege doesn’t turn into a replica of how sex work prohibitionists talk about most of us who read, write, and comment on this site. (“You’re just a small privileged minority, your opinion is selfish and irrelevant.”)
[…] Got Problems: George TakeiAn Open Letter to the Extras GirlMy Sex Work Bucket List: CatyYou’re Not Not Funny: The Onion’s Ten Funniest Stripper […]
Giant whore here, just coming in from a discussion on another work-related board about why some of us offer bbbj, which was basically just like this article: slut-shaming and whorephobic.
It isn’t any of your business what anyone else in the club is doing–just like it’s none of my business to police what services other escorts are offering (or for what price). Focus on yourself rather than on what everyone else is doing and you’ll fare much better, imo.
I truly object to being call ”Whoreophobic”. The problem with extra’s girls is really simple – Its that it breaks the rules of my workplace. Now, I totally understand that only the club benefits, they dont care how you make your money as long as they get a big cut, blahblah blah. Untimately I dont suppose most clubs’ care if a girl does extras, as long as she isnt caught (though in my experience, they always are.) .
I am not against her deciding to use her body in this way. I am not telling her what to charge, to use a condom, and really, I dont even much care if she gets splooge over my workplace(im a big girl and it doesnt really freak me out too much – I can use a tissue and avoid that wet spot). I dont have a single moral judgement or even feeling about what the Extras’ girl chooses to do during her working night. I dont feel it much detracts from my earning potential – She and I are very different and we would never be chosen by the same customers anyway. I am not ”Whoreophobic”.
I am ”Rulebreakerophobic”. I (and The extra’s girl) have both agreed to a certain set of rules by which to work in the club. Those rules are there for a reason – To keep our bodies, minds,relationships, licences and our jobs safe.
I chose the club I wished to work at extremely carefully, trying many until I found one whose rules and boundaries suited me. I dislike the extra’s girl not beacuse shes a ”Slut” or im ”Whoreophobic” – I dislike her actions because they flout the rules that keep me safe and happy. And if just ONE girl is flouting those rules, the customer’s expectations of me, the stability of my job and my wellbeing is affected negatively by her. ( If she does extras, why wont I? say the customers, pulling at me or trying to grope me without my consent – because SHE allowed it.)
Please dont call me or others Slut shaming or Whoreophobic – Moral judgement has nothing to do with it.
and @ Mistressmatisse ; I do understand what you mean by following the rules (like at Wal-Mart or whatever) not really helping the workers who are underpaid and overworked, but the ‘extras’ rules are there to keep us all safe, as well as making the company money. There are enough strip clubs to find one that welcomes Extra’s girls – They should work under restrictions more to their taste. It isnt the same as getting a dodgy mortgage – One mistake and you’ve locked yourself into that. Not so with strip clubs.You’re free to find another (and if you arent free to go, I’d talk to the police.)
As to your last paragraph, I actually do work in a chain club in London that is run extremely well. Extras are not possible ( Unless you have genuine Ninja skills and can make a fellow orgasm without moving your hands or head around his penis area, or removing or undoing any of his clothing). If you are seen doing any of those things, you’d be asked to leave, and sharpish. Girls really do just dance, mostly we have a wonderfully friendly atmosphere, happy women, plenty of pleasant customers and a relatively low house fee and comission in comparison to our earnings. We also all seem to earn enough . Im not saying we walk out of the club with £1000’s each every night, but I rarely hear a real gripe about having earned a pittance of an evening. Its a lovely place, and more clubs should be like it.
Its a big assumption to say only women in poverty ect would give extras.
I used to hate Extras Girls. I used to rant and rant against them. But they are the business now. They are exotic dancing. I’ve been to many different clubs. It’s the same everywhere. Some do it in the club, some do it outside the club…but the result is all the same. So for the clubs that have strict no-touch rules and enforce them…….the sexual favors are just happening outside your building and you aren’t profiting from it.
The Extras Girl drives the exotic dance industry. Girls offer sexual favors to customers to “get rich.” They offer sexual favors to management/owners to make it on flyers and billboards. Hey, it’s the SEX industry!
I’m not excusing these individuals, mind you. They are lawbreakers and pigs. But stripping is a vicious pyramid scheme, with dancers on the bottom and club owners on top.
Plus, let’s be honest – so-called “lap dancing” is nothing more than a dry hump, a cock grind, a SEXUAL ACT. In many clubs girls are told not to grind hard against customers’ crotches, yet this is what’s expected. You can’t sell a dance with no contact. In some clubs I worked at, if you didn’t let customers grope your breasts, you got no more than one dance and consequently made no money working there.
It’s the nature of the beast, chickens. And us strippers allowed this decades ago, when we agreed to paying clubs to work there. When we agreed to “private dances” and such. Everyone was greedy…..and now we’re all paying the price.
[…] came across this article which caused quote a stir, and I was shocked to see just how many dancers were defending […]
[…] came across this article which caused quote a stir, and I was shocked to see just how many dancers were defending […]
[…] published a few articles that led to a raging online debate within the community about what we call “extras girls.” I read tons of entries by women either defending being extras girls, or attacking it. Personally, I […]
[…] published a few articles that led to a raging online debate within the community about what we call “extras girls.” I read tons of entries by women either defending being extras girls, or attacking it. Personally, I […]
So I’m a stripper, just got off work, and I had just an awful night. To sum it up short, there’s this extras girl that I work with that’s been stepping on my toes since I started at my club about 6 months ago. Unless it’s a slow day, when I’m not working with her I come out with anywhere from $200-$400 on a decent night, and roughly $500-$1000 on a good night. Maybe not every single time, but a lot of the time when I work the same night as her I make way less than I normally would. Every time I’m talking to a customer and I go on stage or I step aside for just a minute to do something, she swoops in and usually manages to get them in to a champagne room within the first song or two of my stage set, after I had just spent several minutes, maybe even an hour charming this client into bringing me in a room.
Tonight was an extremely slow and dead night for everyone there, aside from the several hundred dollars (at least) that two of the extras girls there made, one being the girl that’s been stepping on my toes. Anyway, this guy had been buying me drinks and chatting me up for maybe 10-20 minutes and was super digging me. I had him in the palm of my hands until extra girl came over, grabbed his dick at the bar, and told him he needed to take her into a room so she could “give him a happy ending” as she so put it. Moments after that, I get called on stage, and within the first song of my set I see them heading in to the champagne rooms.
Here’s the thing, I don’t judge nor do I hold anything against girls that offer extra services. I personally don’t see why a woman or man shouldn’t be able to offer those services, as long as they stay safe and respect their own boundaries (in other words, sticking to doing what they’re comfortable with). Offering extra services is one thing, but swooping in and stealing my regulars and clients I’ve already been investing my time in is unacceptable and completely goes against basic stripper etiquette.