Women have as much love for sex and pleasure as men do but often we do not engage with this. Whereas you can find 50 strip clubs for men in a city, women engaging with exotic dancers is always seen as a major event, despite the fact that there is a throbbing market for it.
Women love sex.
That is something that my work is making me realise more and more. From vibrators and the array of sex toys on offer, to actual research on how long women spend on sites like Porn Hub Women. From reading erotica to writing it, from faked orgasms to reaching sexual peaks, women are consuming sex.
One underdeveloped market is that of male strippers. In any given city there are more strip clubs than you can shake a man stick at but to find male dancers is akin to searching for the Holy Grail. This despite the fact that there is a (very excited) market for it.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a Magic Mike show in Johannesburg. Run by Kim Randoff, Magic Mike SA promised me the best prime beef in the country. The actual tagline is 'SA's best and exclusive ladies revue show'.
Knowing very little about the male dancer scene, I had presumed it to be a hodge-podge production where barely toned men gyrated awkwardly to music, prancing around with the promise of a glimpse of penis, but I was wrong. The show had men with names like 'Tarzan' and 'Brown Sugar' undulating in ways that had you thinking of how chocolate would drip, if it had abs.
male strippers on the adult entertainment fair Eros & Amore in March 2013 in Munich, Germany: Photo: Wiki/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.
This show was choreographed, there was pole dancing, there were women being picked up and spun around, and yes, there was baby oil. There was pure sex in the air and the women LOVED it.
That is what struck me the most. Often people do not think that women would enjoy a man dancing around purely for their pleasure, but they really do. The women loved the pure sexual energy - no frills, no decorations, no promise of a morning after, just that raw offer of sex, right there and then. In this space they could be unabashed about their desires and wants.
To watch the women at the Magic Mike show was to witness the absolute glee and delight that women experience when a male dancer did a semi-nude push-up.
Why the dressing up?
It was interesting though, how even if the women did love the show and clearly took great delight in it, they had to dress it up - I mean literally: Minnie mouse ears, unicorn horns, bridal veils. That, for women, to engage with sanctioned economic desire must be an event. A bachelorette party, a wild (but organised) night out, a team bonding or a re-enactment of a 'girl's night out'-type movie.
Most of the women there seem to have planned this like the next mission to Mars. Everyone there seemed to be celebrating something. My group seemed to be one of the few that was there to see some toned arms, washboard abs and ass cheeks you could crack walnuts on. One woman had given the night out to herself and her friends as a Mother's Day gift. One also could not turn around without bumping into either Bachelorette or her friends.
This experience is mirrored in other contexts. In Kenya, it is all about having a safe yet fun night, says Beverley Munga (aka the Vibrating Lawyer), owner of G spot Kenya, an online sex toy distributor. Munga has, for the last four years, supplied the services of 'hot, strong, nice smelling' male strippers. She wants her female clients to have an 'unforgettable night'.
One can hire a male dancer for 13 000 KSH (about US$130) and the 25 000 KSH package (about US$250) buys you a full-on bachelorette party. Her clientele is mainly women planning bachelorette parties or who just want a fun night with wine, sex-themed games and a sex toy pop-up shop. Bookings peak during 'seasons and major holidays', such as Valentine's Day and wedding season. She notes that April, August and December are fully booked.
Munga does let on that some of the women can get a little wild, some wanting to 'touch the 'stripper's D', give them head or even sleep with them. Munga, however, never allows this because it is not part of the experience and not good for the business's reputation. She has both her dancers and her clientele to protect in this regard, with her motto being 'a fun yet professional night'.
This all comes back to the ability to simply, as a woman, pursue sexual pleasure and desire. It took me to the numerous conversations I have had in which people were surprised that women masturbated, or watched porn, or simply found someone 'a snack' without wanting them to be their future husband. The women couldn't simply show up for a good time and enjoy these Adonises who moonlighted as personal trainers. They had to give an excuse for loving sex; turn it into a celebration of sorts.
It is difficult, as a woman, to simply enjoy sex, because society often shames you for it. To want sex for sex's sake is deemed unsavoury at best, downright evil at worst.
This leads to a world of women suppressing their sexual desires and statistics claiming that '58 percent of women fake orgasms'. It also allows women's partners to ignore their sexual wants and needs, to simply keep shelling out bad sex or, as in the case of DJ Khaled, refusing to go down on your wife and the mother of your children while expecting her to do it for you because "there are different rules for men". This is 2018! As a species we should do better than ignoring the sexual desires of women, or pretending that they are sinful.
Ignoring the sexual desires of women does not mean that they will magically disappear. So, look out for a chain of Tiff's clubs, coming soon to a major city near you...