Penis pumps and clawing fans: the reality of being a male sripper

Penis pumps and clawing fans: the reality of being a male sripper

It’s a Saturday night in Dublin, and a group of men are buzzing around backstage in a nightclub. They’re rifling through costumes for their performance, slicking back their hair, pumping themselves up.

Outside sits a sea of women smattered across a number of tables, glasses of prosecco sparkling under the strobe lights. It’s not just young girls looking to get their kicks on this night out – older women, even pensioners are there, chattering in anticipation. The noise swells as the women all start screaming.

The Dreamboys are in town as part of their new No Strings Attached tour, and with the men having been away through lockdown, the excitement rippling through the atmosphere is palpable.

For newbie Jayson Kyle, who recently made his first foray into exotic dancing, it’s a stark difference from his musical theatre cruise ship work.

‘I’d never seen a crowd like it,’ he tells ‘I’ve never seen women scream so much. Before I was performing for 70 and 80-year-olds – so this was a culture shock.’

The world of male exotic dancing – or stripping, as we better know it – is nothing particularly new. Disney+’s recent mini-series, Welcome to Chippendales, reveals the fascinating true story of Steve Banerjee, who tapped into the entirely forgotten market of women’s sexuality by starting a strip club comprised of a troupe of male strippers.

It’s an exposing look at the yesteryear of the industry: the cheesy costumes and roleplay male strippers are still associated with all feature in abundance: cowboy hats, fireman’s hoses and policemen’s handcuffs are common sites alongside insatiable women stuffing money down men’s thongs and screaming for more.

But the industry has rapidly evolved beyond men ripping off their Velcro trousers and helicoptering their nether regions around. With some tickets for male strip troupes charging upwards of £150 per show, and the success of film franchises such as Magic Mike, people are happily paying a premium to see dancers.

The higher costs means there’s a greater emphasis on performance: simply seeing a naked man isn’t going to cut it anymore, no matter how well-endowed he might be.

‘We’re a new breed of performer,’ Jordan Darrell, dancer and lead choreographer at the Dreamboys explains. ‘Watching a Dreamboys show now is like watching a West End musical. It’s not just about a greased up guy being fawned on. It’s a full experience.’

The wild world of male stripping was fully exposed to Alice Woods when she bought the Dreamboys brand in 2018. After completing an MA in Finance and Accounting, she was considering a career in investment banking – but decided to plunge headfirst into the world of stripping when she saw the brand was up for grabs.

As the first woman owner of a male stripper troupe, and boasting an all-female management team, Essex-based Alice, 30, laughingly acknowledges it’s been ‘an eye-opening experience.’

‘As you can imagine, there’s a mix of personalities and egos in this industry,’ she explains. ‘Personality management is a big part of the job.

‘We get multiple applications every day and 90% of them we just delete because they don’t have a hope in hell. But we have a thorough audition process – a Zoom interview, then a group audition and a trial for the live shows. We now have 14 teams and around 80 men on our books.

‘We find our boys from a whole range of places, and this is what makes the job so interesting as you see many people from non-typical backgrounds. We often see people who are very talented dancers but they haven’t had access to the training or education.’

You could have the Boner Lisa of penises; you can always be humbled by someone in the world of striptease

Marshall Arkley is one of those men who found himself embedded into the stripping world 12 years ago. As someone who was keen to perform at school and college, but struggled with his ADHD diagnosis, the 35-year-old was drawn to the Adonis Cabaret – a Brighton-based strip show which infuses comedy into striptease.

‘I was allowed to really play with my act,’ he explains.  ‘There is such an emphasis on being a performer. It’s all fine being a buff gymnast, but you won’t get paid if you’re a s*** performer.

‘Being able to take the mickey out of yourself is super important, especially in striptease. I literally would end my show using my d*** as a shadow puppet.’

Alice agrees personalities are essential in having longevity as an exotic dancer.

‘Women’s fantasies are a lot more complicated than men’s,’ she explains. ‘What they want is that personal touch. The boys make an effort to chat to get to know women. They want to feel special and remembered.

‘You need to be a people person. That’s the cherry on top of having a big sausage and a good body.’

Alice continues that a career with its foundations based on being conventionally attractive, athletic and naked attracts exhibitionists. Ego management is an essential part of keeping her performers in line – an unsurprising by-product of having thousands of people screaming for you when you’re on stage.

However, Marshall insists he finds himself humbled ‘on a daily basis’ with other performers from the Adonis Cabaret and Boy Toy, his other outfit.

‘I’ve seen blokes with penises so big you can wrap them round your forearm,’ he laughs. ‘You could have the Boner Lisa of penises; you can always be humbled by someone in the world of striptease.’

‘No one wants to look at a little willy,’ Alice admits. ‘To keep themselves fuller for the final showdown, some of our boys use a pump to keep blood in their penis. I’ve tripped over enough of those pumps at work.

‘I’ve seen the boys naked so many times that I actually enjoy watching the audience’s reaction instead!’

Marshall adds that this side of the industry requires strong level of trust and support from partners. Welcome to the Chippendales shows how frequently on-stage stripping can quickly turn into backstage shagging as women threw themselves at their favourite dancers.

‘If you don’t appreciate the industry or you’re not part of it, then having a stripper as a boyfriend would be a problem,’ he says. ‘I’m lucky that my girlfriend is performing. I can’t wait for her to enjoy this world with me.’

Jordan Darrell, who started stripping for Dreamboys eight years ago after touring with artists such as Rita Ora, even met his wife at a show.

‘I gave her a solo dance, but I was the one who fell for her,’ he laughs. ‘She loves it, she still comes and watches the show. The last time she came along, she brought her sister and their mum!’

Jordan’s wife isn’t unusual in bringing her family out to see some strippers, with rapidly changing attitudes towards male exotic dancers and female sexuality have meant shows like the Dreamboys attract huge audiences from all different walks of life. Alice says that, after the pandemic slump, sales for their new tour have been higher than ever, with many cities having to add additional performances to meet phenomenal demand.

Jordan points towards phenomenons such as Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike for ushering in a new chapter in the world of stripping.

Magic Mike and its 2015 sequel Magic Mike XXL grossed nearly $300m (£245m) worldwide, and another sequel – Magic Mike’s Last Dance – is due for release this month.

‘Magic Mike has certainly aided with making women going to the strip club more mainstream and acceptable,’ Jordan explains. ‘It also means we’ve really had to up our game and make our performances bigger as the audience is expecting more.

‘We do routines from films such as Dirty Dancing and for this tour, I even came up for inspiration for a routine by watching Countdown.’

Marshall agrees his performances with the Adonis Cabaret and Boy Toy are bigger than ever. As a self-taught fire breather, he’s forever adding more complicated and eye-watering layers to his routine.

‘I’ve had a few burn marks down there, but thankfully I’ve escaped a really scorched sausage,’ he laughs.

‘For one exclusive New Year’s party I performed at, I really upped the ante of my closing routine.

‘I wore a grey suit to be strong and masculine, but then stripped. I was stark bollock naked and standing to attention. There was a string dangling between my legs and then ‘Feeling Good’ started playing. I walked to one end of the stage and then tied the string and then I threw out the butt plug I had installed. I would throw out one letter of bunting I had stored inside myself that read out “happy new year” on every beat.

‘That’s one of the cleaner anecdotes I can tell you, anyway.’

Bigger performances and larger crowds has meant things can get frenzied, says Jordan.

‘We call it the zombie stage invasion,’ he laughs. ‘It’s a lemmings mentality. One gets up and runs, then suddenly there’s 30 or 40 women trying to get on stage. Security has to get involved, and sometimes they’re looking at us to help.’

‘There was one woman who got on stage and then started stripping off herself,’ Alice recalls. ‘We had to get her off quickly.’

‘It’s the older women who are more handsy,’ Jayson explains. ‘They love to grab your bum. We’re clawed at sometimes, and we’re covered in scratch marks and blood. It’s like the Zombie apocalypse.’

However, the MeToo movement and issues around consent is something that has filtered through to younger observers, who are less likely to grope and grab without permission.

‘I had a lass run to me, grab my bum and run away laughing,’ Marshall recalls. ‘But then she came back, apologised and said she should have asked for consent. I actually found that quite refreshing.’

While it’s the men who are the dancers, Alice says it’s the women who are at the heart of the show, with the men ensuring the safety and comfort of whoever they perform to.

Jordan adds: ‘The magic of our show is that we provide a safe environment for people to let their hair down, embrace their fantasies… and be a bit naughty.’ 

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

Share your views in the comments below.

Source: Read Full Article

Previous post Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa quits Sex Education after season 4: 'Bye bubs'
Next post Everything you need to know about laser hair removal – from price to how painful it is