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  • Salient Mag

Liberated

Words by: Cowboy (they/them)


The first time I stepped into a strip club was when I began working in one. It was also the first time I watched porn, playing on a large TV in a private room during my initial lap dance. What a way to tick things off the list! Now, with over five years of experience as a stripper, I can confidently say that this job has been invaluable to me.


Before delving into various aspects of the job that I've both loved and loathed, I want to emphasise that this is solely my personal experience, and I cannot speak for other dancers or clubs.


Stripping liberated me. As an extroverted introvert, taking the stage in minimal clothing, towering heels, and slowly undressing has a unique way of blossoming one's courage. The personal growth I've experienced—whether in building confidence while engaging with people, embracing my body, or mastering the art of self-promotion—has been truly uplifting.


One of the things I absolutely cherish about this job is the flexibility it offers. Dealing with various mental health issues like depression and anxiety, alongside physical challenges such as nerve damage, can often make it difficult for me to maintain regular employment. However, I feel immensely grateful to have the ability to decide when I work, jumping onto shifts with 48hrs to one week's notice. 


What's truly remarkable is that there's no pressure for me to work every single week. This level of flexibility allows me to prioritise my health and studies without feeling overwhelmed. Having familiarised myself with the workings of the club I can earn a decent income from just one or two nights of work each week. This relieves the stress of having to juggle both my studies and employment commitments during the week. It's truly a blessing to have found a job that grants me this level of autonomy and balance in my life.


However, this job is ideally suited for night owls, with hours typically ranging from 7 pm to 4 or 5 am—a schedule that doesn't quite align with my ideal hours. One of the most significant adjustments I've faced, aside from dealing with difficult or rude customers, is adapting to these hours. Constantly resetting my body clock, coupled with the physical demands of the job, can be draining and challenging. As a result, I often find myself feeling tired and fatigued, especially during the weekends. It's a significant aspect of the job that can take a toll on both physical and mental well-being. Hence why breaks from this job are important!


Another struggle that I faced with this job was realising that I was non-binary. In an environment where the majority of people expect hyper femininity it can be difficult to balance the days when I am filled with masculine energy. Being comfortable with being referred to as a woman and having my feminine features constantly highlighted added to the complexity. It often feels like I had to conform to the social expectations of the club culture in order to make more money and be safe—an acting challenge I take up on many nights.


Some of these tougher nights are made lighter by the incredible support of my fellow dancers. It's truly empowering to witness so many beautiful souls come together and exude confidence as the sexy people they are.


Regardless of whether strip clubs align with your vibe, I recommend stepping inside and supporting these talented artists. And if you've ever been curious about trying it out, why not give it a shot? Take the time to do some research, ensure you feel comfortable, and enter the space with grace. I can whole heartily say that stepping into this world will be an eye-opening journey of self-discovery.


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