“What do you think about pole dancing classes?”
Since the emergence of the pole-dancing craze, I get asked this question at least once a month.
At one point, I even heard of a ministry that was using the women in the strip club to teach holding pole-dancing classes as fundraisers to raise money for the organization.
Ummm. Okay. I could think of about a hundred other fundraising options that wouldn’t involve re-exploiting women. I digress.
I have a lot of friends who have taken pole-dancing classes. Many who do so without any conviction whatsoever. I tread carefully because while I don’t think it is my job to make a moralistic determination here on whether or not pole-dancing classes are “wrong”, I do have some thoughts on them.
I think there is a bigger question here. “What is the motivation for taking pole dancing classes?”
Many women note what a great work out they are. There is a certain cirque du soliel-esque element to them that requires a lot of strength and agility. But I could take an aerial arts class and achieve the same results.
Besides the desire to get a good workout, many women say they enjoy pole-dancing classes because it makes them feel sexy. Our sexuality is a part of our design. But what is sexy? What does healthy sexuality look like?
Pole dancing originated in strip clubs where a woman displays herself for a man (or a room full of men). She is essentially becoming porn for him. Who she is doesn’t matter. What she thinks doesn’t matter. What matters is that she becomes an object on which he can project his fantasy. In exchange for this service, he pays her money.
This is the image of sexuality that pole dancing projects. I believe this begs the question, is this what we want to model our sexuality off of?
Still many women say they are interested in pole dancing as a way to spice up their sex lives. Over the past several years, I have had at least 3 women from church ask if I would be willing to teach them how to strip for their husbands. The first time I received a request like this, I thought, “Well, their married right?”. By the third time I was asked (and respectfully declined), I began to wonder if there wasn’t more to it.
Every single one of those couples is divorced today. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
As it turns out, in these scenarios, the desire to learn how to strip was a last stitch effort to save their rocky marriage. Each of the husbands were addicted to porn and unsatisfied with their sex life. The wives thought if they could just be more like the women their husbands were so enamored with, maybe they could win back their husband’s attention.
It didn’t work. Sex addiction is an insatiable thing. Always wanting more. Never satisfied.
In light of this topic, my friend said this, “What if a woman told her spouse that she needed him to dress up in an Armani suit and pretend to give her a diamond for her to be turned on? Isn’t that the same thing?” How would that man feel if she could only be intimate with him if he portrayed a “Rico Suave” fantasy?
Married couples should have awesome, thriving sex lives. I personally believe that love and intimacy are the building blocks of great sex. But I think fantasy is the opposite of intimacy. Fantasy says, “This is who I want you to be.” Intimacy says, “I want to know you and be fully known by you”.
I don’t care to be anybody’s moral police. That’s not the point here. But I would suggest that if the motivation for taking pole-dancing lessons is to save a marriage in trouble, or to compete with a pornified version of sexuality, it’s probably not a great idea. What do you think?
Harmony Dust founded Treasures in 2003 while completing a Master’s in Social Welfare at UCLA. To date, she has trained outreach leaders that have gone on to establish more than 97 sex industry outreaches on 5 continents. She has been featured in various media sources, including Glamour Magazine, The Dr. Drew Show, and The Tyra Banks Show. She is a sought after speaker and her memoir, Scars & Stilettos, gives an account of the journey of going from working in strip clubs, to leading an organization that reaches women in the sex industry on a global scale.