Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

Strip clubs? They really turn me on
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The Independent Online

As the pneumatic brunette gyrated in my lap to the strains of "Hungry Like A Wolf", her pert D-cup breasts hovering inches from my face, I began to wonder what I'd gotten myself into. Curious about men's fascination with strip clubs, I had agreed to accompany my on-off boyfriend Richard on one of his boys' nights out. But unlike Prince Harry, who turned down a private dance because didn't want to upset his girlfriend Chelsy, my guy was a willing participant. After he paid for the lap dance, my heart raced as the dancer snaked in and out between my legs. I was seriously turned on.

But I was also a bit embarrassed, like when I'm at the gym and a nude woman is blocking my locker, with her privates at eye level. I just didn't know where to look - but I couldn't look away. I definitely don't consider lap dances cheating, because strip clubs are all about fantasy, not reality. After all, I doubt that any man I date would run off with Bambi from Lithuania.

I've been to the occasional Chippendales show with my girlfriends, but just because I have a laugh while stuffing £5 notes down a fit man's pants does not mean I want to be oiling his torso down backstage later. I've had several friends who have worked as strippers, and they were all savvy businesswomen who assured me that at the clubs, my man is just another dollar sign. Which is also why I find the idea that strip clubs exploit women ridiculous - the women earn truck-loads of cash. So as long as guys are honest about their nights out, I have no problem with them paying for surgically enhanced girls to straddle them.

My male pals agree. "It's sort of a cheesy male-bonding experience," says my friend Michael. "I think it's better for the guys in relationships, because they can go home and take the sexual tension out on their girlfriends. Otherwise it can feel like going to a restaurant, smelling the food then having it yanked back before you've taken a bite."

Of course, I would be wary of any guy who dropped thousands at clubs, uttered the phrase "She really likes me" about a dancer, or had a four-time-a-week habit, like my friend Victoria's ex. "I'm totally cool with the occasional visit, but he was there constantly," she said. "When we went together, he whipped out his loyalty card! I ran out after he suggested we eat at the hot food buffet where there were loads of naked girls running around."

But if seeing naked women whets a man's appetite for a night of passion with me, so be it. As for Richard and I, the voyeuristic thrill started to evaporate after shelling out loads of cash for a few watered-down drinks.

Buy my lap dance definitely acted as an aphrodisiac. Because when she kept telling me how gorgeous I was, the illogical part of my brain started thinking, "Wow, it's not just about the money!" Now I know how the blokes feel.

I tipped her generously, then took Richard back to his flat and ripped his clothes off. After my five-minute sexually charged tease, the sex was exhilarating.

So I'm happy to accompany my boyfriend to strip clubs on occasion - just not for dinner.

c.townsend@independent.co.uk

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