Wednesday, June 12, 2013

behind the towel

I watched a very enlightening documentary recently. It was called Confessions of a Male Stripper. It answered a question that I have had in my mind for many years. How far do they go? My interest in this subject was started when I saw a late-night game show on TV (probably Channel 4 again) where they showed a photograph which had been partly blanked out. The photograph was of one of the participants on the game show that night. It was a middle-aged or elderly woman, an actress in one of the soap operas - possibly Coronation Street.

It looked as if she was licking the penis of a male stripper. The penis had been blanked out, but not so much that you couldn't work out what was going on. I thought that this was the tackiest thing that I had ever seen.

Years later I saw another documentary where two young women got into the back of a taxi after a night out. One of the young women was very euphoric and talkative, the other one was silent. Someone asked if the silent woman was OK. The talkative one said that the silent one had never been to see a male stripper before, hadn't known what to expect and was shocked. I wondered what it was that the young woman had seen that had shocked her into silence.

There are a lot of videos on the internet showing male strippers. They show a number of women performing sex acts on a male stripper. Usually they look as if they have been staged for the camera. Some of them however have middle-aged or plain women who obviously aren't porn stars. These videos look as though they are actual recordings of what some women get up to when they are on a night out with a male stripper.

I went onto the PunterNet forum and asked the question. How far do women go? Do they perform oral sex on the stripper? The consensus seemed to be that I must be naive to think that these videos depict the activities of real women, that they are all staged with porn actresses.

I wasn't so sure. Then I watched Confessions of a Male Stripper and it showed women sucking male strippers on stage. The women come onto the stage and each sits on a chair. The strippers stand in front of them with towels around their waists. The strippers open the towel so that the woman sitting in the chair in front of him can see his cock. He is close enough to her that she can do what she likes without everybody seeing. The towel obscures their view. She might just want to have a look and giggle, or she might want to touch, or she might want to give him oral sex.

These are the Dreamboys, who are a well known group of male strippers. It makes me wonder what the less high profile strippers get up to. I don't think they bother with towels.

Another documentary I saw recently is one showing young people in Magaluf. It showed a bar with young women giving a blowjob to random men as part of a drinking game. So now we know what the average young woman wants from a good night out.

Radical feminists want to ban stripping. They have achieved this in Iceland. I remember listening to a radical feminist on the radio who said that when women go to see a male stripper it's completely different from when men go to see a female stripper. She said that for the women it isn't an erotic experience. I'm sure many people think this, that the women just go there to laugh.

I don't believe that it isn't an erotic experience for the women. The experience is different for men and women. Women are much more vocal, they shout a lot. Apparently WE WANT COCK! is something commonly shouted in unison over and over again at a particular stage in the proceedings. That doesn't mean that it's not erotic though. So, if they ban women strippers they should ban male strippers too. I don't think they should ban either though because I don't think there's anything wrong with what they do.

Confessions of a Male Stripper can be seen here. The documentary about young Brits in Magaluf is not available but you can find out more about it here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

lucky west end girls

I have just finished reading a new book by Violet Ivy about the sex industry called Lucky Girl. It is an account of her life and in particular her involvment in different areas of the sex industry on three continents. I was especially interested in her time at the Soho walk ups, which is the area that I know most about, but her life story starts in a small town in Australia.

As a young adult she moves to the city. Finding work is difficult so she tries serving beers in a sleazy bar wearing next to no clothing. Not being happy with this she progresses to stripping. Eventually she decides to try prostitution. Her account of what she has to go though, especially the first time she has sex for money, is quite harrowing. So too is her account of her first anal sex where she is injured and robbed.

She goes to work for a year in a brothel in Kalgoorlie (I don't know where that is either). It is only when she comes to Melbourne and a high-class brothel there that things begin to look up for her. Although happy at this place, she wants to travel, so she moves to Las Vegas and works as a stripper and a sex worker. She paints a fascinating picture of a world of orgies attended by her - group bookings - against a background of the desperate gambling addicts she sees on the streets and in the casinos of Las Vegas.

Again on the move, she comes to London. Although working in the Soho walk ups is not her first option, she endures it until she is headhunted by an elite fetish brothel in Mayfair. Returning to Australia despite loving her work in Mayfair, the pinnacle of her career is accompanying a leading actor to an award ceremony. He is a gay man who needs to pretend to the world to have a girlfriend, and Violet provides that service for him.

While in Soho she is threatened by an Albanian pimp. She sends him packing. The girl in the flat above her is attacked. The police try to help, but this is in the days when CCTV was uncommon in the walk ups and maids could not always be afforded. Maids get a £2 tip from every customer but the sex worker has to pay her £60 per day. She also has to pay £240 to £280 per day in rent for the flat. Some days some of the sex workers were unable to make that amount of money and could get into debt.

Some of the readers of this blog might remember her. She called herself Sydney then and she worked in Peter Street in Soho and perhaps other places too. This would have been more than 10 years ago. There were a couple of other Australian girls working in Soho then too.

One thing I liked was her account of how she tried her best to help a 32 year old virgin enjoy his first experience of sex. She showed great sensitivity to his needs and was aware that her actions could affect his future relations with women.

Violet writes about her experience of what is perhaps the biggest problem in the life of sex workers, and that is the problem of boyfriends. A sex worker might meet a lovely man and want to have a relationship with him. Only an unsatisfactory man would accept his girlfriend working as a prostitute. So she might keep her work a secret and always fear he might find out, remain single, or accept as a boyfriend a man who might try to exploit her.

A while ago I read the book West End Girls by Barbara Tate. Barbara was a maid in Soho walk ups soon after the end of World War 2. Although the information is a bit out of date now, there is one area especially where she is relevant to today, the problem of boyfriends.

Barbara wrote that there weren't any pimps in Soho but some of the women had ponces. A ponce isn't the same as a pimp. A ponce is a man who tries to form an emotional relationship with a sex worker, not because he cares for her but because he intends to exploit her. He emotionally manipulates her and gets her to hand over her money to him. He tells her that he will invest it for their future together.

In Tate's Soho a ponce was often a Maltese man who would try to hook an established prostitute - who was nearly always a British woman. I think that many of the women in Soho today have men like this. The women are from Eastern Europe and the men are from their own country, maybe their own town. They could be 'boyfriends' who persuade them they can have a good life together in London.

Taking the two books together, it seems to confirm that the clever women are the ones who use sex work to make as much money as possible, bank it or make sensible investments, then leave. They can use the money to set themselves up, do what they really want to do in life, and they don't have to lie to their boyfriends about what they do.

Lucky Girl is a very informative and enjoyable read. We need to hear more about women's experience of the world of sex work and its unusual and occasionally frightening characters. You can buy the book at many places: AmazonBookLocker and Book Depository. Violet has her own website.

Violet Ivy