History of male erotic dance

The Erotic dance was known since ancient times: in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome dance included sexual themes and ideas. Dances at different periods in antiquity were a part of entertainment and performed not only by females but young males as well! One can find some references and descriptions in the Bible and also in epic poems of the Iliad and Odyssey that describe young men and maidens dancing.

While the Greeks idolized the body and the intellect, by the time Roman Empire was coming to its end, dance has been reduced to smutty performance – the artistic, intellectual and religious aspects were abandoned so the most significant feature of the dance was the display of females and young males for the pleasure of male audience!

Steven Eggers belly dancer boy
Steven Eggers – belly dancer boy

A kind of a male exotic dance that is called belly dance was known in Ottoman Empire (1435-1922) (modern Turkey). As it was strictly forbidden for Muslim women to perform a dancer, so young male dancers appeared very soon and performed for wedding celebrations, festivals and in the presence of the sultans as well.

These dancing boys were sensuous, attractive, effeminate, and well-trained in music and dance. Their dance was sexually provocative and impersonated female dancers including ladylike walking, slow belly movements, suggestive gestures and acrobatics. The boy dancers dressed and behaved like women were known also in other countries of Middle-Asia in ancient times: Arabia, Egypt, Persia and Syria.

However, in the 1800′s boy dancers went out of style and were forbidden in 1856 – now it mostly exists as a part of a folkloric show in Turkey without much sexual expression.

Also in Western countries, after the spread of Christianity such admiration of an erotic dance especially performed by males was forbidden and long forgotten until the beginning of 20th centenary. And the male strip dance appeared only in 1970s in USA, UK and Europe and still later in late 1990s in post USSR countries. In USA, before the 1970s dancers of both sexes appeared largely in underground clubs or as part of a theatre experience, but there are only a few known cases of male strippers before the late ’70s.

Male Stripper by Man 2 Man
Cover of “Male Stripper” by Man 2 Man music band, 1986

For example, in 1973 Jet magazine told of one such dancer who “peeled down to a black G-string, handcuffed himself to the fence outside” Big Ben and had a banner labelling him as “The body divine—Angel, the lovely male stripper. Book him.” Following to the article, no producers appeared, but the police did. Police was a usual problem for the early male stripper in those times!

One more early appearance of the male strip dance was in a 1974 “Deviant Behavior” book, mentioning male strippers in a report on “Marginally Illegal Occupations and Work Systems.” Through the mid-1970s men who took off their clothes in public would probably get a citation for indecency.

However, eventually male strippers had become an indispensable part of the gay scene in US, taking it roots in go-go boys dance. While gay clubs and pubs where increasing – the number of male strippers performing for men also extended. After appearance of Chippendales and the movie “The Full Monty” male strip dance for female audience became very popular as well.