For a long time, many young men have privately considered going to a “strip club” to be something of a rite of passage. However, this may be changing as many young men now are refusing to go to strip clubs, and amid declining revenues, many are attempting to find ways to attract Millennial and Zoomer customers.
The $8 billion dollar live adult entertainment business is fighting against changing times, but it may have to go high-tech to generate higher revenues.
“You won’t find too many social media pages for adult entertainment clubs, especially some of the higher-end ones around here,” a dancer/bartender at Satin Dolls in Times Square told FOX Business Wednesday, who asked not to be identified. “Most of the owners and the girls want to be discreet.”
Seemingly an industry-wide resistance to social media and technology may have hurt. Annual revenue growth at strip clubs across the country — which number between 3,900 and 4,000 — was 4.9 percent between 2012 and 2017 but it slowed to 1.9 percent from 2013 to 2018 and is projected to fall to 1.7% by 2023, according to IBISWorld.
RCI Hospitality Holdings, which boasts such adult entertainment venues in its portfolio as Rick’s in New York and Scarlett’s in Miami has seen its stock fall more than 10 percent year to date.
There is a growing sentiment in the live adult entertainment business that those revenue numbers will not improve if the industry does not adapt.
Strip clubs are one of the few establishments that don’t allow patrons to use a camera or your phone to take pictures, and for good reason.
“Proprietors within the Strip Clubs industry (have) distanced themselves from the seedy past image associated with clubs,” IBISWorld’s “Strip Clubs Industry in the US – Market Research Report”’ states. “Instead, they marketed their establishments as high-class gentlemen’s clubs and cocktail lounges that offer adult entertainment.”
American-style strip clubs began to appear shortly after World War II and have remained almost entirely unchanged technology-wise since then outside of aesthetic alterations.
Dave Manack, editor of the industry trade publication Exotic Dancer Magazine, says there’s a very good reason behind strip club owners’ rationale, saying that owners “probably figured, ‘hey if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” according to a recent Mashable report.
But younger generations are largely eschewing strip clubs and company-expensed strip club business meetings are a thing of the past due to workplace changes. Recently, sportswear maker Under Armour told employees they could no longer write off expenses for strip club visits, with the Wall Street Journal reporting employees being told that “strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning.”
The lack of millennials may face a bigger challenge for adult entertainment outlets. “The Baby Boomers are retiring. They were for 20 years an amazing customer base,” Alan Markovitz who operates gentlemen’s clubs in four states recently told the BBC. “The millennials are not coming to the strip clubs that much. That’s the issue.”
The Houston-based club Vivid advises potential customers on a budget — and it can be a costly “night out.” Vivid’s website says to “plan at least for a $15 cover, $7 per (average) cocktail, $20 (plus tip) for a one-song lap dance, and enough cash to tip the array of employees who serve you – from coat check to bathroom attendants. Our ladies appreciate a considerate guest, and enthusiastically repay the kindness of generous patrons.”
With the average millennial borrower owing $34,504 alone in student debt, according to Experian, going to a costly adult club may not be in the budget. (source)
The concept of giving strange naked women gyrating on a pole money just to look at them while a bunch of strange men looked on with lustful thoughts while semi-intoxicated and some attempted to “feel” themselves in their pants was something that I always had a difficult time wrapping my head around for reasons of simple logic.
I am not saying that any of these things before or what I am about to mention are good, moral, or should be done by anybody. Rather, we are talking here about an exercise in concept meant to illustrate changing social trends. Indeed, I do NOT recommend that people do these things.
Say that one wants to look at naked women, nothing else. One only needs to put in any number of sexual (or many times non-sexual) words or phrases into any search engine and one will immediately find any kind of porn that one could want, from the extremely tame, to the completely deranged, to the just insane (there is an unspoken rule among many 4Channers and cyberlurkers called “Rule 34”, which means that ‘if it exists, there is porn of it’).
But say one wants attention from an actual woman directly. Why pay hundreds of dollars to a naked women to look at you and not touch you when for the same price or less, one can hire any number of escorts- of any race, appearance, body type, age, and price range -to not just take her clothes off for you, but give you personal attention in the privacy of your home or a hotel room? Since most of this can be done on the Internet, one can be with them and without lots of creepy, drunk men around.
Want a cross of the two? Any number of “cam girl” sites give you a hybrid of both, where you can pay naked women to do sexual things for you in a one-on-one chat. If you are cheap, you can be in a group chat, where you don’t have to be near, look at, or feel the other people around you save for the person you are watching on camera, and you often don’t have to pay money to see the same and more sexually explicit acts.
Want more physical contact, and perhaps even sex? Forget about dating sites and apps, unless you are trying for something of a relationship. Who needs them when you have escorts (see above), or for the one who wants a more “exotic” (read: random and with a mild degree of risk but not much) experience, visit or call up any number of women who do “private modeling” or “physical care”. For the same price or lower, you can see, touch, be touched by, and possibly have sex with one of these women, all in your own privacy.
I am saying these things because as I noted above, I’m not trying to encourage them, but to point out for the man who seriously wants to indulge in his own lusts, a strip club is a bad deal. Police hang out at strip clubs, drug deals often take place, lots of questionable or odd people come, there is a lot of social stigma attached to it, one can only go at certain times, and the things that one can legally engage in are highly limited and those which one can do are often expensive.
You are witnessing the strip club in its current form fall into decline because it is an outdated relic of another time, one that existed before the Internet, cameras, and contemporary mobile technology. It is to the adult industry as the rotary phone was to press-button phones.
Expect to see a major decline in strip clubs around the US and even the world so long as they remain in their current form. This is a good thing.
But, as the situation begs the question (and not because I think this is good), but can the strip club be re-invented?
There are several ways, but one of the only ways to see this concept re-invented would likely be through a cross of modern technology and integration with laws as well as the current society where going to a strip club is no longer a semi-anonymous experience, but rather an all-embracing destination that is actually far worse than what is in the future.
Here is one possibility, because it certainly could become a reality.
Think of the strip club as just that- a special club. One has to pay money to be a member, like a country club. Members have to be routinely tested for STDs, which is offered for free or extremely low-cost and “on-the-spot” for club members. Those who are caught spreading disease to members are immediately barred and prosecuted for breach of contract, which they must sign upon becoming a member they will not do. All of the women employees- who are not just strippers but are also prostitutes and employees in actual job titles such as bartenders and waitresses -are also tested, and all “contact” with clients is carefully monitored.
The strip club is only open at certain times, and one may either pay women or just watch them. These same women also do other things, like play video games against each other naked or while “stimulating” themselves (something that has become popular on the Zoomer video game live streaming website TwitchTV), and men can also “pay” for sexual services with the same women, the caveat being that all of said services will also be filmed and the property of the club, which they can use at any given time, and the reason for this is that by doing do, it becomes legally registered as the production of pornography and thus is not considered prostitution.
Think of this like the “Playboy mansion”, but more accessible to the common man, and with less of the strange displays of “elitism” that Hefner attempted to market to his audience. Think of this place as a location where a man and his wife or girlfriend could go safely. It is also not a “swingers club” because people who attend just do not go there and have relations with each other, as this would not be permitted, but only with certain “employees” at the club for the reasons that were stated above.
Think a clean, neat bar and restaurant with good food at good prices. Think video games, electronic entertainments, and social interaction. A place where people can make friends, be around attractive naked women, have sex with some of the women if they pay, and can do so in a socially-acceptable way.
One of the points that Ted has noted throughout the years is that evil does not just die away, but that it only changes form. The strip club is an evil thing, and while it is good that it is dying away, it actually has not disappeared, but is changing forms. Most of the things that people of lower income and class ranks went to strip clubs for have been replaced by cheap, adult-related entertainment options from the Internet. For those who want to maintain a “brick-and-mortar” type business, as well as remain affordable to many people but do so in a profitable way, are looking at something of the above for the future, and this is already being seen with the emergence of “private society” type sex clubs where sex with members is at best a secondary focus to the larger emphasis on food, relationships, entertainment, and a safe area where people can get to know each other in an atmosphere filled with sexual tension and if they choose to indulge carnal lusts in private.
The future is here, and the death of the strip club is just the passing away of old things into history.