Lap dance: Wikis


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A lap dance is a type of erotic dance performed in some strip clubs in which the patron is seated, and the dancer is either in immediate contact (contact dancing) with the patron, or within a very short distance. Depending on the local jurisdiction and community standards, lap dances can involve touching of the dancer by the patron, the patron by the dancer, neither, or both; the dancer may be naked, topless or fully clothed. Variant terms include couch dance which is a lap dance where the customer is seated on a couch, and bed dance where the customer lies down. In some places a block session (usually half an hour to an hour) can be booked in a champagne room, where the dancer and the patron talk in an intimate setting and drink champagne together. The dancer might perform lap dances too, depending on the patron's wishes.



In many clubs, the duration of a lap dance is measured by the length of the song being played by the club's DJ. Charges for lap dances vary. Sometimes, sexual partners will perform lap dances for their partners as a teasing kind of foreplay.

Full-contact lap dances often involve non-penetrative sex where the stripper may rub her lap or genitalia (if naked) against the patron's. Local jurisdictions and community standards typically determine how much and where the patron can touch the dancer during the lap dance. In some cases, any touching by the patron is forbidden. On the other hand, absent any oversight by the club, various levels of contact may be negotiable between the participants. Clubs vary widely with regard to whether they enforce their rules, or turn a blind eye to violations. Some patrons wear a condom before they enter the club: along with wearing pants that are very loose, this allows the man to have so called dry sex, while being safe.

It has been alleged that some club owners, by installing dark private booths and charging dancers steep stage fees, are covertly condoning and encouraging sexual acts between customers and dancers.[1][2]

History and legal issues

Lap dancing clubs are a development of the earlier strip clubs, in which strippers danced on stage and were paid a wage. In the 1970s, New York's Melody Theater introduced audience participation and called it "Mardi Gras". [3]The Melody Theater became the Harmony Theater and operated in two locations in Manhattan for over 20 years until it was closed down in 1998.

In 1980, San Francisco's Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre changed its policy so that customers could have dancers come to sit naked on their laps for a $1 tip. The practice quickly spread.[2] It suited club owners, because it brought in more customers and it meant they had to pay the dancers less. Sitting on customers' laps evolved into lap dancing.

In some areas of the U.S. and Canada, local authorities began cracking down on lap dancing after reports that some clubs allowed customers to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual activity with the dancer during lap dance sessions.[citation needed]


In 1994, a Canadian judge – Judge Hachborn of the Ontario Court, Provincial Division, in the case of Pat Mara and Allan East, the owner and manager of Cheaters Tavern – ruled that lap dancing did not contravene laws on public decency and defined what lap dancing should mean. A number of conflicting judgements were passed in the years that followed, including decisions to close certain bars in which sex acts took place on the floor of the club and other rulings in which patrons were allowed to touch the dancers as long as an actual sex act didn’t take place. Finally, in 1999 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that lap dancing was legal.[4] This led to the displacement of strip clubs and table dancing clubs in Canada by lap dancing clubs.

England and Wales

Lap dancing arrived and spread to every major city. A court ruled in 1996 that full strip at a Liverpool club, Angels Paradise, was acceptable, as long as the dancers were not touched at all by the client, and that the dancer must remain 12 inches away at all times.[citation needed] From April 2010, local authorities will gain powers to respond to the concerns of local people regarding the number and location of lap-dancing clubs in their area.[5]


Some jurisdictions in the United States outlaw lap dances and enforce a minimum distance between dancer and patron. One such minimum distance ordinance in Seattle was overturned by public referendum in November 2006. [6]

Concerned about reports of sexual assault and illegal stage fees, in 2006 San Francisco's Commission on the Status of Women recommended a ban of private rooms and booths at adult clubs in the city. However a majority of dancers at the Commission on the Status of Women's meetings and San Francisco Board of Supervisors' meetings protested against these efforts, fearing for their income and claimed that these rooms are safer than other venues.[7]

Labor issues

The economic position of the dancers, as employees of the clubs, has also changed. Over time, the clubs stopped paying the dancers. The stage dancing became a showcase to advertise the bodies of the dancers, whose money came from the tips – or standard charges, depending on the club – that the patrons gave them for lap dancing. In the majority of clubs, dancers are simply charged a percentage of their takings. However, the latest development in many countries, including Britain, the United States and Canada, is that many clubs charge dancers a "stage fee" or "tip-out" per shift. Given that they are paying to be there, some clubs allow as many dancers as possible to appear on any given night, increasing competition among the dancers. The vast majority of clubs will not waive this charge if the night happens to be slow. Consequently, the dancer either leaves her shift out of pocket or builds debt to the club.[8]

In the U.S., most clubs treat dancers as independent contractors, thereby avoiding the need to pay minimum wages, overtime pay and other benefits required by law. This status has repeatedly been challenged by dancers. While labor commissions and the courts have for the most part ruled that exotic dancers are employees and deserving of reimbursement for back pay and stage fees[2][8], some court decisions have decided that an exotic dancer can be classified as an independent contractor. In June 2006, in case number A108951, Tracy Buel v. Chowder House (dba The Hungry I), an appellate court of California's first district ruled that dancer Tracy Buel (aka Daisy Anarchy) was correctly classified as an independent contractor, and that "Buel shall pay defendants’ costs on appeal". A publication called the California Employment Law Letter described the case as follows: "The dancer based her suit on the fact that she was an employee of the nightclub rather than an independent contractor. The appellate court, however, after applying a 10-factor test, upheld the jury's verdict in favor of the nightclub and its owners and found that the evidence weighed in favor of classifying the dancer as an independent contractor rather than an employee."[9]

Menstrual cycle and earning power

In 2007, based on statistics from 18 dancers over 60 days, it was noted that female lap dancers earned the highest tips around the time of ovulation, during the most fertile period of their menstrual cycle, and the lowest tips during menstruation; the average difference in earning between these two times amounted to about $30 per hour. Women on the pill earned overall less than those not on the pill. The results were interpreted as evidence of estrus in humans: females apparently advertise their fertility status to males in some manner.[10] This find earned its authors the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in Economics. [11]

See also


  1. ^ Julie Bindel: Profitable Exploits: Lap Dancing in the UK, Study for the Glasgow city council, August 2004
  2. ^ a b c Lap Victory. How a DA's decision to drop prostitution charges against lap dancers will change the sexual culture of S.F. -- and, perhaps, the country. SF Weekly, 8 September 2004
  3. ^ Blog entries from patrons and dancers of the Melody and Harmony Theaters
  4. ^ Judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada
  5. ^ New powers to crack down on lap-dancing clubs BBC News 12 February 2010
  6. ^ Lap dance ban defeated
  7. ^ Adult club private rooms debated. San Francisco Chronicle, 5 August 2006. Exotic dancers rally at City Hall to halt private-room ban in clubs. San Francisco Chronicle, 19 August 2006.
  8. ^ a b Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America by Lily Burana, Talk Miramax Books, 2001
  9. ^ "Exotic dancer stripped of her job" by David R. Ongaro, California Employment Law Letter, Vol. 16, No. 9, July 14, 2006
  10. ^ Geoffrey Miller, Joshua M. Tybur, Brent D. Jordan (2007). Evolution and Human Behavior. Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus? Evolution and Human Behavior. Volume 28, Issue 6, Pages 375-381.
  11. ^ Miller, Geoffrey (November 2007), "Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?" (PDF), Evolution and Human Behavior (Elsevier) 28 (6): 375–81, doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.06.002,, retrieved 2008-10-03

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