Sex Work: Pillow Talk Sex Work: The Ropes

10 Unspoken Protocols for Exotic Dancers


The phrase “strip club” seems to mean something different to everyone these days – I’ve spoken to customers expecting anything from an illegal brothel to a pantomime-like theatre.

And expectations largely depend on personal experiences at lap dancing clubs and stories passed between friends and in the media.

Only one of these sources is actually reliable, but unfortunately, much of the negative sex work associations stem from the latter two – which, most of the time, are just fiction.

The myths about stripping massively vary by club, even within the UK. This means that we find ourselves redefining the boundaries of our work to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

But no matter where you go, there are some unspoken rules amongst dancers that you may want to arm yourself with if you’re working at a strip club for the first time! Here are 10.

Just some food for thought

Once the money hits the stage, dancer or floor, it belongs to her.

This mantra seems to be etched into every guy’s brain between Mexico and Canada but didn’t seem to make it as far as our little island. It’s a shame but now we know.

If they’re throwing it, we’re pocketing it.

Even well-known celebrities have been involved in scandals to do with post-rain-making tantrums.

Girls, we came to make money – let’s clean up and go home.

money exotic dancer

Do not approach a customer if they are already accompanied by a dancer.

This one is the very first thing I learned when I started. And I learned the hard way; followed by a few weeks of being disliked until the dancers realised it was, in fact, a genuine mistake.

Long story short, I approached two customers who were already speaking to two dancers. Gulp. Yup, 18-year-old me was quaking in her untrained boots.

Here’s a tip: just don’t do it. It’s rude and nobody needs that.

It’s also good practice to allow customers to watch the entirety of the dancer’s stage show before approaching them to ask if they would like a private dance with you.

Do not shame other girls, on the pole or otherwise.

This is really just basic common courtesy, but when self-confidence turns to arrogance and then, to ignorance; we see bullies in strip clubs. I have encountered very few; but the queen B always has her ally bees nearby, so if you hear a buzz, I would just take your classy assy elsewhere.

On the rare occasion that I do observe bullying in strip clubs, it’s very rarely personal and almost always seems to have a business agenda – not that this makes it any more forgivable.

I think it’s fair to say that sex workers are overlooked in mainstream society. So, let’s keep judgement and ignorance out of our place of work and focus on what’s important: how much money we are leaving with.

Our clubs can be safe havens for us all to let our hair down and earn a good living around others who are just like us – this is an opportunity, not a threat.

Be professional with your colleagues.

exotic dancers

Do not offer extras.

By “extras” I am referring to acts of a sexual nature, that require contact. This is not what a strip club is for.

Extras are a problem because the dancer performing these acts profits sufficiently whilst rumours of their “VIP blowjobs” waft through the club like a customer’s fart.

This then results in girls not being able to compete with “the one that will give head” and losing out on dance opportunities. Most unfairly, the dancers who follow the rules, the license regulations and the protocol – end up unable to earn.

I’m sure you are not the only stripper with financial struggles – but if we all stick to the same standard of delivery, we can all make a good night’s wage, keep our clubs open and give strip clubs a reputation that will keep them afloat!

Also, please consider your sexual health as this is something you must take seriously in any line of sex work.

Make the customer fall in love with you.

This one is a little more tactical, but important, nonetheless. You want your customer’s adoration – play the role, enjoy it!

As someone who enjoys being in the spotlight, I fathom the challenge of making my customers breathe heavily – having the ability to make a man crumble to his knees in front of you with pure desire, is fulfilling and empowering.

And our motivation? It couldn’t be stronger: 3 minutes of being paid to be adored in a safe place where no contact is allowed? Who would say no!

Choose a character for work who is a combination of the most attractive attributes that you admire in others – paint yourself a picture, step into the role and play the hell out of it!

Have a backstory.

As I said above, you should have a believable and, most importantly, false backstory. Using a fake name is the norm in strip clubs – and well-versed customers even do it too! Your privacy comes first!

The smart Alecs of the smoking area will lean in close with beer breath and say, “that’s not your real name though, is it?” – in which case I would advise you to smoke the rest of that cigarette with a customer who has more potential.

Moreover, this is an opportunity to have some real fun! Give yourself a cool full-time job, an accent, a signature lingerie colour, a self-designed pole move – it’s a chance to explore a different side to yourself!

Whatever you choose – know it and know it well! You don’t want to bump into a fellow American Scuba Diving Instructor and not be able to chat the chat!

exotic dancer

Everything has a price.

This doesn’t extend to touching and does not, in any way, permit offering extras at a lap dancing club!

Having said that, if you are, let’s say, in the middle of a one-hour VIP dance with a potential all-nighter, conversations are running a bit dry and your natural movement just isn’t coming to you.

Or maybe you just feel a tad repetitive.

Either way, taking tips to perform certain acts that don’t break the rules can be a good little extra earner! This could be anything from selling your £2 worn Primark knickers for £80 or masturbating for the customer for an extra £100 tip.

In the UK, strip clubs often have small private booths for dances under about £100 (although it varies by club) and larger lounge rooms for VIP dances, north of £100 – so privacy never concerns me and as a promiscuous person, I even quite enjoy it, however, this one is completely optional!

The ol’ tap of the nose.

Ah, this is a risky one to put out there, but I came here to spread the truth: the girl’s who drive to work, and therefore do not drink (most of us) will often be offered beverages by the customers before a private dance.

This is great for the drinkers on shift, but after turning down 10 flutes of champagne that just looks so damn bubbly, and you calculate just how much money you haven’t gulped down, you become rather frustrated. And if we say “no thank you” to these kind offers, we run the risk of being branded as ‘boring’ – and ultimately, loosing out on dances.

So, our modern solution? To tap our nose when ordering at the bar (and having discussed this beforehand) the bar staff provide a non-alcoholic, similar-looking drink. Think cranberry juice for red wine, apple juice and soda for champagne and simple H2O for tequila.

This way the extra money goes into your tip jar – or the bar staff’s if you’re feeling generous – and the customer is under the impression you are on the same level of fu**ed-up as them!

I just love it when a plan comes together!

tap the nose trick exotic dancer

Do not share things you wouldn’t want everyone at the club to know.

Strip Clubs are worse than high school when it comes to spilling the tea.

The strip club can be a very wholesome family who has got your back, but it is still a competitive, financially motivated structure, which when mixed with any drug or alcohol-induced behaviour, can be, well, disastrous.

To avoid the drama that I will end up taking home with me, I focus on staying in character and remaining a desirable asset for the club and to the customers. This tends to keep me out of trouble.

Be classy.

This may be the most important unspoken rule: hold your own, be strong and defend yourself when you feel it’s important – but always be respectful and don’t stoop to a level you’ll be ashamed of the following morning.

People are going to have negative opinions, and they may voice them in a distasteful way, but your reaction is the only way you’ll ever change their mind.

I talked an apology out of an arrogant headteacher who tried to tell me that my lingerie was too revealing. But that’s a story for a different time. The point is: I owe my success to my patience and tolerance.

I’m not saying it’s right that we are asked to explain our choices, but just do it to see their jaw drop.

Wear your job proudly and let your confidence inspire others!

If you’re feeling a bit unprepared for your first night as an exotic dancer, read What Should I Pack in My Stripper Bag?

stay classy exotic dancer

This list could be accused of drawing unnecessary attention to the negatives of stripping here in the UK, but there’s a reason we go back every weekend!

And please remember, stripping in itself is not the problem.

We still have a long way to go, but look how far we’ve come.

About Author

Strip club drama and bananas-up-butt-holes. Fill your thigh-highs with the inside stories and everyday musings of a sex-positive, misconception stomping, feminist sex worker.

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