It seems to crop up often – on blogs, in the media, etc – that Christians, in particular Christian women are really, really uncomfortable with strippers. Their pity and contempt ooze. For some, they bleed with sympathy for these poor, choice-less women who have been forced into a wicked lifestyle to support themselves and their countless children. For others, they despise the wicked, sinful temptresses who are cajoling their helpless husbands into lust and submission.
I probably shouldn’t target only Christians. In my experience, many people feel this way about strippers, but the judgment feels more harsh, vocal and visible from the Christian coalition. Anecdotally, of the group of guys I (very) occasionally go to strip clubs with, the two with religious wives are the only two who consistently hide the fact that they go to strip clubs form their wives.
Anyway, my point… Both their pity and their contempt are misplaced.
In terms of pity, there are countless people who do jobs they do not want to do the jobs they are doing. If not for all of the stigmatization that society (especially religious society) places on sexuality, stripping is not a bad profession — good pay, reasonable hours (well, very last but no different that waitressing or fast food), safe work conditions (those bouncers mean business). It is only seen as degrading work because we judge expressions of sexuality negatively. And, lots of strippers are choosing to do this and feel perfectly fine about it. They know it is good money and not a lot of effort. Before ending this point, a huge caveat – there are women forced into sex work. This is awful and inexcusable. But, again, if you are religious and concerned, your response should not be to condemn sex work (history shows us this does nothing), but rather accept it and support its oversight and regulation – McDonalds is equally in need of labour, but there is no fry-cook trafficking.
In terms of contempt. Yes, strippers are tempting your husband. And so is the admin assistant at work, the waitress at the restaurant and your neighbour who waters the lawn in her bikini. We (men and women) are genetically wired to be tempted. A healthy marriage acknowledges temptation and resists the impulse to give into temptation.
So, now that you have surely concluded that your pity and contempt are misdirected, I have a few suggestions.
First, pity the cleaning lady, down on her hands and knees scrubbing your floor and picking up your dirty underwear. She is probably equally (or more) unhappy with the circumstances which lead her to becoming domestic help and she is getting paid 10-20$/hr for the privilege, as opposed to $100 or more.
Secondly, look inside yourself and ask why you are really focusing your discomfort on strippers. If you are uncomfortable with your husband lusting after other women, ask yourself why. It is perfectly natural and unavoidable to lust after others. Think of ways that you can improve your relationship (sexual and otherwise) to ensure that neither of you act inappropriately on these natural urges.
Third, while you are looking inside yourself, think about whether your views on sex and sexuality are diminishing your ability to respect strippers for their choices. They are choosing to market and asset that is unique and theirs – their sexuality. Why is this so difficult for you to respect. It is no more superficial than models who sell their looks, actors and actresses who do much the same – they are selling desirability and we, the consumers, like paying to get drawn into the fantasy. No harm, no fowl.
Fourth, to the extent that your pity is well placed — on stripper who are doing this truly out of desperation and against their wishes — help them, don’t judge them. When did religion become so focussed on judging others (especially as it relates to their sexuality) and lose its focus on helping those in need (maybe it has always been this way, but this is no excuse). Tell your political party (I know most of you are Republicans) to stop trying to cut funding to programs that help the poor and tell your church to take its focus off sexual sins and get out into the community and help people to raise their standards of living. This has nothing to do with sex, it is about helping people get into positions where they have choices… and then they will make the choices that are right for them (hey…isn’t this what conservatism is all about)
Finally, create a sexual relationship with your husband that causes you to be the focus of his lust. Make your relationship so good, that when he gets horny, it is you he wants to share it with. When your husband cheats on you with a stripper, he is cheating… not her.