A few years ago pole dancing became a new fitness craze. I’m not talking about what happens in strip clubs…that’s been popular for decades. I mean housewives and working women who plugged into gym classes that combined cardiac and aerobic fitness exercise with the sensual moves of pole dancers. Husbands and lovers cheered the fad. Women who developed the physical stamina to lift and hold their body weight while adopting and maintaining erotic moves reported not only firmly toned bodies but rejuvenated sex lives.
Predictably, pole-dancing-as-exercise quickly became a fad. Soon its advocates were doing the talk show circuit, happy hubbies in tow, showing off their slim, toned bodies and sexually-sated smiles. They knew how many calories a half hour of sex burned and how many chocolate covered strawberries added. They gushed about how desirable they had become to the men in their lives. Even Teri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives did a routine for America’s unconvinced women. The message was clear: if you pole dance, you will look great and your man will want you.
I was reminded of the issue recently while watching The King of Queens, one more sitcom about a working class couple, but rare in that Doug and Carrie actually enjoy sex. In this episode, Carrie installs a pole in the bedroom and, despite lessons, lacks the sense of the erotic in her body. Doug is a lusty fellow and is in a quandary—the ‘erotic’ dancing is wilting his lily. Carrie is going through the motions but not the emotions. Finally rotund yet sensual Doug asks Carrie to be the audience while he works the pole. Though he can’t do the contortions of his tiny wife, he shows her how to offer his body, how to tease and seduce, and how to glory in the sensations of anticipation and erotic power…and he’s hot!
I’m advocating pole dancing for everyone, whether literal or philosophical. What successful erotic dancers know (and what Carrie and the talk show groupies were missing) is that a tight body and physical prowess may be the vehicle, but what drives the engine is the theatrics of seduction. When we realize that an evening of bliss with our honey follows our dance of desire, we need only be at home in our body and with our sexuality to design an entertainment package of mutual pleasure.
But there’s the rub, isn’t it? The part about being at home in our body and with our sexuality. I don’t know anyone who is comfortable—really comfortable—with their body, so ingrained is it that we can’t possibly measure up to impossible standards. And of course if we believe we do we are chastised for our vanity. So let’s consider it a given that we have body issues. The pragmatic truth is that we can either wait to have fun with sex until we become tall, thin, young, and beautiful….or we can get over ourselves and have that fun now. Our lovers already know (and want) our imperfect bodies, and we theirs. Replacing the bashful hesitant routine with sensual abandon will reignite sparks of passion and reconstitute intimacy. It’s a good deal.
Feeling comfortable with sexuality is an ongoing process. We live in a culture uneasy with sex. We are simultaneously compelled and overwhelmed by its ever-present nature. We are curious and ignorant and don’t know where to go for answers. Pole dancing? That requires some chutzpah! You bet it does. Dancing for our lover means owning our body and offering it willingly, by choice and with intent. It reeks of animal desire. We risk rejection. Many women have little practice with this, but it’s good for us. And when we shoot our lover a sultry look, lock eyes, and purr…when we slither our body over our partner’s in a manner that leaves no doubt as to our libidinous intentions…when we dance and spin and abandon our body to the thrill of desire and anticipation, then we will have captured the essence of what makes strip clubs the multimillion dollar industry they are. And we can do that at home with someone we love who loves us in return.
We don’t have to have six pack abs or a size four body. We don’t need a gym membership to a place with windows overlooking a busy street. We don’t even need a pole. We need a saucy attitude, some costumes, and overflowing desire. Then we need to face our fears and dance our way to bliss. We’ll feel liberated, and our mate will feel wanted.
You’ll wonder why you ever waited.