Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 

Dollars Earned Per Stripper Shift by phase of heat

In an article titled “Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?” in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior 28 (2007) 375-381, Geoffrey Miller, Joshua M. Tybur, & Brent D. Jordan presented the results of an experiment designed to test the correlation of tips earned by lap dancers as a function of fertility as a proxy for sexual desirability.

The study was soundly constructed and enrolled 18 dancers who supplied data on 296 work shifts and approximately 5300 lap dance performed during that period. A lap dance was described as “entail[ing] intense rhythmic contact between the female pelvis and the clothed male penis.” (Barton, 2006; Beasley, 2003).

The results showed that exotic dancers in heat earned approximately $70 per hour, dancers in luteal phase earned about $50 per hour, while dancers “on the rag” earned about $35 per hour. Taking the pill, which induces a state of pseudo-pregnancy, results in an income loss of about 30%, which suggests substantially diminished sexual desirability; a good reason to consider an IUD.

The author’s conclude that:

"In serially monogamous species such as ours, women's estrous signals may have evolved an extra degree of plausible deniability and tactical flexibility to maximize women's ability to attract high-quality extra-pair partners just before ovulation, while minimizing the primary partner's mate guarding and sexual jealousy. For these reasons, we suspect that human estrous cues are likely to be very flexible and stealthy—subtle behavioral signals that fly below the radar of conscious intention or perception, adaptively hugging the cost–benefit contour of opportunistic infidelity."

Perhaps the most interesting revelation of the paper is the number of academic research papers that have been published on exotic dancers including, in addition to this one:

  • Barton, B. (2006). Stripped: Inside the lives of exotic dancers. New York: New York University Press.
  • Beasley, J. (2003). Lapdancer. New York: PowerHouse Books.
  • Brewster, Z. W. (2003). Behavioral and interactional patterns of strip club patrons: Tipping techniques and club attendance. Deviant Behavior, 24, 221–243.
  • Enck, G. E., & Preston, J. D. (1988). Counterfeit intimacy: A dramaturgical analysis of an erotic performance. Deviant Behavior, 9, 360–381.
  • Forsyth, C. J., & Deshotels, T. H. (1996). A sociological profile of the nude dancer. International Review of Modern Sociology, 26(2), 111–120.
  • Forsyth, C. J., & Deshotels, T. H. (1997). The occupational milieu of the nude dancer. Deviant Behavior, 18, 125–142.
  • Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Lewis, J. (2006). ‘I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine’: The role of reciprocity, power, and autonomy in the strip club. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 43(4), 297–311.
  • Linz, D., Bulmenthal, E., Donnerstein, E., Kunkel, D., Shafer, B. J., & Lichtenstein, A. (2000). Testing legal assumptions regarding the effects of dancer nudity and proximity to patron on erotic expression. Law and Human Behavior, 24(5), 507–533.
  • Pasko, L. (2002). Naked power: The practice of stripping as a confidence game. Sexualities, 5, 49–66.
  • Ronai, C. R., & Ellis, C. (1989). Turn-ons for money: Interactional strategies of the table dancer. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 18, 271–289.
  • Thompson,W. E., Harred, J. L., & Burks, B. E. (2003). Managing the stigma of topless dancing: A decade later. Deviant Behavior, 24, 551–570.
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