A Brief History Of Male Strippers…

Man2ManWith all the hoopla over Magic Mike and its nearly $40 million box office haul, Forrest Wickman at Slate takes a look at the history of male strippers. Apparently that history is short:

While musclemen have been paid for popping their pecs and otherwise showing off their bodies since at least the late 19th century, it’s only in the ’70s that stripping became a co-ed profession.

Gay strip shows sprouted up around the same time. By 1976 the Gaiety Theatre in Times Square featured men stripping for the entertainment of other men.

Unlike the shows oriented toward women, the Gaiety shows regularly featured full frontal nudity on stage. Still, gay shows were otherwise quite similar to their straight counterparts, though there was more likely to be drag and other gender-play.

It wasn't long until male strippers started popping up in pop culture, featuring in long-gone television shows and made-for-tv movies. And now they're making millions at the box office. Male strippers sure have grown!


  1. jason says

    Is Mr Belonsky still promoting Magic Mike? A movie with no gay or bisexual men at all in it is hardly gay-friendly. Think before you promote this movie, Andrew.

  2. Bart says

    What does this article have to do with being gay-friendly or not? He wrote about Andy Griifith too…I don’t think Andy was gay or bisexual. Guess what, some gay men actually worry about other things than everything being gay-friendly.

  3. stranded says

    So Channing is not opening up about his same sex experiences. Ho hum.

    I think that Magic Mike is an inaccurate portrayal of the world of male strippers. Any suggestion that a guy could make a living by taking their clothes off for female audiences is simply ludicrous.

    Where are the stories about the rich sugar daddies that they meet, who take them around the world and buy them fancy clothes and parade them as their objects of adoration? Is anyone so naive as to think that elderly women are the ones paying them?

    I for one have never met a male stripper that isn’t bisexual by trade even if they claim to be straight by preference.

  4. Gabe R L says

    One really does have to suspend disbelief to believe that all these boys in Magi Mike are supposed to be hetero. I wonder what Channings former co-workers would have to say about it all, but they are all on the DL most likely.

    And Stranded’s statements about male strippers apply also to male prostitutes from the street whores to the fancy call boys.

  5. C says

    The main character has 3 jobs in the movie. Stripping, Roofing and Selling furniture he makes himself. The Protege strips and starts dealing drugs. Matt M’s character is the club owner. So the point of them only stripping as their only source of income is wrong. They made the movie from a str8 guys POV, this not a huge issue and trying to make it an issue at all means you may have too much time on your hands.

  6. Gabe R L says

    Is that final statement supposed to put someone in their place. If they have to do all those jobs they must be desperate for money, and they are probably sleeping with men to get it. What str* guys POV is ther in stripping? Trying to make the movie ‘mainstream’ then.

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