Erotic performance and spectatorship: new frontiers in erotic dance

Katy Pilcher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Erotic dance is one of the most contentious issues in feminist debates today and a source of fascination in media and popular cultural representations. Yet, why is it that we currently know so little about those who perform erotic dance for female customers, or the experiences of these spectators themselves? The result of a unique investigation within two of the UK’s leisure venues, Erotic Performance and Spectatorship seeks to rectify the aforementioned lack of insight. Through vivid ethnographies of a lesbian leisure venue and a male strip show, Pilcher’s research advances key debates about the gender and sexual politics of erotic dance, whilst simultaneously relating these to debates about the sex industry more widely. This book also subverts previous assumptions that only women perform erotic dance and only men spectate. Thus, this book stands out amongst other academic accounts, developing the debate beyond the established focus on erotic dance as either empowering or degrading. This new contribution to the study of erotic dance – which provides a fresh theoretical perspective combining queer and feminist theorising, in addition to rich empirical evidence – will appeal to academic researchers and both undergraduate and postgraduate students within the fields of sociology, gender studies, sexuality studies, gay & lesbian studies, feminism and other neighbouring disciplines. It will also be of interest to feminist and sex work activists, policy makers, and practitioners
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages196
ISBN (Electronic)9781315679297
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • gender
  • sexualities
  • sex work
  • erotic dance
  • visual methods
  • ethnography
  • power
  • sociology
  • aesthetic labour
  • emotional labour
  • body work
  • queer
  • feminism


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