Strippernomics – auditing the sex industry

Fake tits, fake tan, lacey lingerie and glitter spray. The list goes on. But how much does it really cost to get other people off?

Sliding a five dollar bill between the boobs of your on-stage gal of choice is just the first step on this economic journey. That note has a whole sweaty adventure before it eventually winds up in someone’s pocket.

So we asked a pro, in both senses of the word, what price needs to be paid in order to make one both watchable and fuckable.

What got you into the sex industry?

Obviously, the money. You can make a heap of cash in no time. But, I guess it’s kind of nice to be both making money and having people looking at you. You know, admiring you at the same time.

What does it take to make it as a stripper or sex worker?

It takes a lot of you personally. You’re expected to have a high level of presentation, to have a fashionable hair style and attractive clothing. You have to spend so much of your money on lingerie and heels. To be a stripper you wear stage makeup as well. That’s heavy stuff, really expensive, I have to go to Mecca or Sephora too.

If you’re a bigger girl and you want to be a stripper you’re obviously going to have to do extra work, exercise and be generally fit to get a job at a club. Some girls paid for the gym, I didn’t.

How much money is running through a strip club?

Well the entry fee for men is usually $16 at the door. Being a working girl, you pay a working fee of $70 a night on weekends. You have to pay before you can even work – it sucks if you don’t make any money during the night, you’re basically paying $70 to go to work. On week nights, the fee for the girls is only around $30.

The clubs make a lot of money selling booze, because a lot of guys come in and say “oh, no, no, no we’re just here for the drinks,” and the strippers will say “yeah sure, why don’t you go to the pub then?”  

The men pay $50 for a 20-minute private dance, or $20 for a five-minute dance – the money they give you for that goes entirely to you. Some clubs will put on heaps of girls though, to take advantage of the working fee.  

The clubs themselves are probably clearing 5-10 thousand dollars a night easily. Usually the guys that come in are either the type to say “oh no I’m only here for the drinks” or they go all out on drinks and get dances from all the girls.

How much did you make as a stripper?

Maybe $500 to $600 a night, and that’s at a club that would put more girls on than were needed. At somewhere like Centrefold, the girls can be pulling in anywhere from a grand each night.

If it’s a slow night you can’t leave, you’re expected to stay until the end of your shift – even if you’re basically losing your working fee.

What got you into sex work?

So, I’ve been doing sex work since I was around 18 or 19 – God, it makes so much more money that I ever could stripping. But I started to strip because I really needed a break from it, I thought a normal job would be so boring and I needed something else that would make more money, so stripping really did it for me. I’m back to sex work now.

Is it more lucrative than stripping?

Yeah definitely, but because I have anxiety I try to do day shifts rather than a Friday or Saturday night. The most I’ve made during one of those is like $900 to $1000 in a night. I know it sounds like I’m earning the same as I was stripping, but when I say a ‘night shift’ the amount of time I’m actually working is fuck all. I just play on my phone really.

It’s such an easy job working in a brothel. I’ll only spend maybe three or four hours working with clients; it’s a lot different to standing up on six inch heels for eight consecutive hours and dealing with rude customers. You’re more highly respected in sex work than if you’re a stripper.

Why do you prefer sex work to stripping now?

So many people don’t even understand what goes into sex work. I prefer working here, because a lot of people look down on the industry – and that means less people are doing it. A lot of girls think it’s great to be a stripper, but they’re so opposed to sex work. That just means I have no competition. I work with an old lady during the day, so I’m clearing $400 and it’s real easy work.

By Harrison Johnstone

Twitter – @TheHJohnstone

IG – @harrisonjohnstone

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