Home » News » Male Exotic Dancers Perform to Boost Self-Esteem
Male Exotic Dancers Perform to Boost Self-Esteem

Male Exotic Dancers Perform to Boost Self-Esteem

New research finds that male exotic dancers, or strippers, remain committed to stripping because it enhances their self-concept.

University of Colorado Denver (CU) researchers focused on how exotic dancing influences the way male strippers view themselves.

“Because stripping is a stigmatizing occupation, it has the capacity to negatively affect exotic dancers’ self-definitions,” said Dr. Maren Scull, an instructor of sociology in the CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The study appears online in the journal Deviant Behavior.

“I looked into what motivates men to continue dancing and found that stripping led to feelings of mattering, mastery, and enhanced self-esteem.”

Scull spent almost two years interviewing and observing male strippers who dance for women in an American strip club. She found that unlike many female strippers who report that it is the money that motivates them to remain involved in exotic dance, male strippers continue dancing because they experience higher self-esteem and self-confidence.

The difference in motivation among genders came as a surprise.

In fact, while the majority of the men interviewed said they became strippers for money, few earned more than $100 per shift; substantially less than female dancers in the same club. Instead, Scull found that men continued to strip because it made them desirable and feel good about themselves.

“Initially women who dance for men may experience a boost in self-esteem, but after time they suffer from a diminished self-concept,” said Scull.

“My research finds that men who dance for women generally experience positive feelings of self-worth. So much so, that men will continue to strip even when it is no longer financially lucrative.”

Scull suggests these gendered differences are due to the fact that men and women ascribe different meanings to the objectification they experience while stripping.

Female dancers may be more inclined to define sexual objectification as negative, because as women, they experience it more frequently than men.

Males, on the other hand, enjoy being objectified by audience members, Scull found. They did not define objectification with disempowerment and instead noted that they felt positive about being desirable.

Source: University of Colorado, Denver/EurekAlert

Male Exotic Dancers Perform to Boost Self-Esteem

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Male Exotic Dancers Perform to Boost Self-Esteem. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 13 Jul 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.