Skip to content

How American strip clubs work

American strip clubs are one of the more common forms of adult entertainment to be found. While these places are obviously limited to the United States there are quite a lot of them around. It might be easy to simply say that American strip clubs are places where women dance naked for money. But that would be a serious oversimplification. I prefer to dig deeper so I can explain how American strip clubs work to the uninitiated.

According to at least one estimate there are nearly 4000 strip clubs in the United States. That’s about one titty bar per 8250 people. So there is quite the choice for nude entertainment in the United States. Yet the strip clubs that do exist are spread out. Some areas have huge concentrations of these venues. Then there are vast swaths of land with no nudie bars to be found at all. There is also a lot of variation between clubs.

Strip clubs have never been the exclusive focus of this website. But I have covered them to a large extent as a part and parcel of writing about the commercial sex industry around the world. So nude dancing bars have been mentioned here quite a few times. Many of the bars I’ve written about were outside of the US. But I have reviewed a number of American strip clubs including:

Although I have not covered even 10 percent of the strip clubs in the country I have cut a fairly good swath. I have also visited American strip clubs that I have not written about here. So I do have a pretty good understanding about how these places work in all of their various permutations.

The basics

Most American strip clubs have a cover charge. It can range between $5 and $50 USD. At certain clubs the price will vary depending on the time of day. Some places will also wave the fee completely during slow times in an attempt to get more guys through the door.

You don’t always get what you pay for. There are places where customers pay a very low cover of $5 or $10 and are entitled to unlimited free drinks. Then there are places that charge $50 but will have security warn customers that they need to spend more money inside.

adults only

Cover charge is really no indication how nice the venue is or how good the women look either. Some hole-in-the-wall bars charge large amounts. Then big and beautiful buildings that shimmer like gold will let people in for a nominal fee. This is an industry where the phrase “your mileage may vary” really applies.

Inside most American strip clubs will have a stage, a bar, and some other seating. At least one woman will dance on stage at a time. People who sit in seats near the stage are expected to tip the women. Usually a few dollar bills is satisfactory. But there are also clubs where big spenders make it rain regularly.

People seated away from the bar normally aren’t asked to tip the dancers on stage directly. Though they may be approach by dancers looking to make a few bucks. A few American strip clubs now have lady drinks on offer. But that still isn’t the norm. So most strippers will ask customers to do dances instead.

Air dances, table dances, lap dances

There are different sorts of dances available from one club to another. Some clubs have various sorts of dances too. They basically break down into air dances, table dances and lap dances. Dances usually cost between $20 and $35 dollars each. Often there are deals for multiple dances. In most clubs a dance lasts “one song”. In some of the better places the dances are timed. So a customer pays for a set period like 5 minutes rather that wondering if “one song” is something short like Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” or the extended mix of “November Rain”.

Air dances offer no contact between strippers and customers. The dancers just stand somewhat near the customer and wiggle their body around. This might give a customer a good view or a chance to talk to a dancer. But that is where it ends. In some clubs this is as far things ever go.

inside American strip club

Table dances are like air dances though they happen at or on a customer’s table. When the stripers dance on the table it is sort of like the Magic Table Bar in Bangkok. Though the similarities end there.

Lap dances are the main draw for many who visit American strip clubs regularly. As the name would imply they involved a stripper dancing on the customer’s lap. Of course there can be a lot of variation even here. Some clubs do lap dances right out in the open on the main floor. Others have back rooms or even private booths where dances occur. A couple of clubs have couches or chairs that recline so that the dancers can climb all over the customers.

In some places lap dances are done by fully nude dancers. They can even include a lot of mutual contact. Again it comes down to the customers of the bar are often the local regulations. That is one area where things vary wildly.

To be or not to be nude?

Although these places are commonly referred to as strip clubs that term is self-applied. Instead these venues call themselves things like “gentlemen’s clubs”. I don’t know how many gentlemen visit these sorts of establishments. But that term may still be more accurate depending on the location.

In some areas the women working at strip clubs don’t strip at all. Instead they wear bikinis or even just short shorts. In other places the women will drop their tops and keep their bottoms on. At some places the women get topless but put body paint over their nipples. Then there are all the fully nude clubs. Those could properly be called strip clubs since the women actually do strip down to their birthday suits.

American strip club sign

Another thing to note is that local laws can determine the availability of drinks in strip clubs. In some parts of the United States bars cannot sell alcohol if they have fully nude dancers. Some then go totally dry. Others get around the rules by giving away free drinks. Or they allow customers to bring their own drinks into the bar under the BYOB (bring your own bottle) system. A few strip clubs go the other way. Believing alcohol sales to be very important they just tell the dancers to keep their bottoms on so they can continue to push grog.

Some clubs that do not sell alcohol will allow people 18 and older inside. Other clubs require guests to be 21 or older. There are clubs that just wave people in without a second guess. Other have hulking bouncers who look at identifications cards to prove age even for men who are obviously elderly. Then there are the places that scan or even take a photographic record of the photo ID card of each person who enters.

Frankly it is a strange situation. But I don’t make the rules. I simply follow them and report on my findings here.

Extra extra, read all about it!

What about “extras”? This is a common phrase used to describe sexual services offered by strippers beyond the legal realm of nude dancing for cash. As far as I know this is not legal anywhere in America. Prostitution itself is legal only in a few select rural counties in the state of Nevada. So prohibition of any sensual services would seemingly extend to the strip clubs too.

Of course people do what people do. So there are actually strippers who offer hand jobs, blow jobs or even sex in or outside of some clubs for cash. The majority of dancers in the majority of clubs do not however. Where extras exist they most commonly take the form of letting customers fondle or slobber on a nipple or breasts for an extra tip. Even in those cases the service reminds more of a Japanese oppai pub than a brothel.

So are American strip clubs worth a visit? That would depend on who you ask. Obviously I have been to plenty of these places. But I don’t recommend that anyone do anything. For the last decade I have simply written about the world as it actually is. Each person has to make their own choices in life. Some may think watching women dance nude is the best thing in the world and worth any amount of money. Others may think it’s exploitative and wrong and avoid these places like the plague. Then there are those who have been to strip clubs like Madonna in Tokyo, Fase II in Medellin, or AAA in Prague where customers can have sexual relations with dancers and wonder why anyone would waste time in a no touch titty bar.

How about things from the stripper perspective? Is it worth it for women to work in titty bars? Again I make no recommendation. Each person has to make their own way in life. I have met women who seemed quite happy in their career choices. Then there are those who obviously have had a hard run of it and ended up sliding around on stage for cash. But couldn’t the same be said of the restaurant industry? I’ve met lots of happy wait staff but also plenty of sullen servers who look like they’d rather be dead than dishing up breakfast. Some strippers undoubtedly make a lot of cash. Others are classified as “independent contractors” and charged a fee just to dance. Though that practice is quickly loosing steam since some lawsuits have found dancers to be employees entitled to wages like any other worker.

I think that prostitution should be legal for consenting adults as it is in the more civilized parts of the world. In the meantime things are as they are. So even in areas where women cannot show their vaginas for money they can continue to show them for free. This is the society we live in. So this is what I write about. Hopefully in this case I’ve helped you to understand what strip clubs in the United States are all about. Feel free to let me know what you think about American strip clubs or my description of them in the comments. Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “How American strip clubs work”

  1. I remember once in Suzie Wong in Bangkok. 4 US College guys had their first night in a Go go Bar, this was when Suzie Wong had harcore lesbian acts and it was possible to get blow jobs in the benches. The guys totally lost it and started to scream, very diffetent from what they experienced in America.

    Movies about US Stripclubs often suck, Striptease, Showgirls.. Maybe thats a tell. Not a very sexy or engaging environment?

    1. Every strip club is different. Laws also vary from one locale to another. Some places offer lots of mutual contact with fully nude women. At other places the customers can’t get within arms reach of a topless lady. Then there are the women and places who go their own way and offer everything up to full service. Though those places seem to be disappearing as time goes on. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *