What is a virtual strip club and how will it affect the traditional strip club? Here is everything you need to know to profit from the online strip club trends like OnlyFans. Virtual Strippers are indeed a lot of fun to watch but there is still something about the feeling of being at a real strip club.

Stripping dates back a long time even before the Birth of Christ, and going forward, it has evolved over the years with modern strip clubs opening in most cities, like you have the Scores Chicago Club in Chicago enticing men with an exotic world of sensual dances from some of the most beautiful women the world can offer.

While most of the erotic world has hurdled into the future in recent years — with innovations like smart toys, virtual reality porn, and even high-tech condoms — the strip club industry has preferred to remain resistant to change.

Many clubs often feel as if they are stuck in the ‘80s or early ‘90s, both in their outdated aesthetics and sensibilities. Not all, but quite a few. Quite a few never even bothered to acknowledge the advent of the digital era by setting up so much as a Facebook page or website.

Some of the club world’s resistance to change tend to stem from the fact that many venues are run by now-geriatric men who may be set in their ways but who also, more importantly, never felt threatened by trends like the internet that rocked many other industries.

Insiders maintain that clubs offer a unique form of connection between patrons and dancers, a responsive and in-person intimacy that digital offerings like porn or virtual reality cannot recreate.

However, as at summer 2020, a good number of US workers were struggling to make ends meet amid COVID-19 outbreaks and civilian push-back against police brutality and white supremacy. Likewise, the nation’s strippers were also facing many of their own hurdles in a historically tricky industry.

While health and regulatory issues have been forcing so many strip clubs (and most other enclosed nightlife spaces) to shut or pare down, dancers have increasingly sought to recover their incomes using social media and other platforms, such as OnlyFans and various live-stream webcam sites.

And according to reports, some dancers are even making more money than usual, whether from online fans or in virtual clubs — in some cases, as much as $50,000 or even $100,000 in a week or two.

Various Ways the Growing Virtual Strip Club Model Will Affect the Traditional Strip Club

Most Strip Club owners in the United States have long enjoyed steady, profitable patron bases that have seemed happy with their clubs, and these owners are never asking for changes. However, things are changing and it is drastically affecting the traditional strip club model in many ways, which includes;

  1. Appealing to an evolving audience

Over the last year, outlets from the BBC to Playboy have reported on their declining consumer bases and profits, and the closure of a number of venues. However, despite a few notable closures, experts still believe that the total number of strip clubs in America has been steady at about 2,500 for decades.

Howbeit, some patrons are disappearing because they are just getting too old to go to clubs. Some are showing up less because it is no longer acceptable for them to hold business meetings at clubs. Younger audiences have also not been eager on replacing old patrons in part because they just don’t go out as much as older generations, preferring at-home entertainment.

Most people, young and old, have also found that they can get the same responsive intimacy at home via cam sites and now virtual step-ups. These relatively new online adult businesses thrive on performers forming intimate and individualized, albeit digital, relationships with dedicated repeat patrons.

But even younger folks who are quite willing to go out for the night also seem to be put off by the old-fashioned sensibilities of clubs — because many don’t let patrons use their phones in-venue, or due to the decidedly dated aesthetics they impose on their dancers, or maybe the creepy-salacious vibe they give off compared to other innovation-happy sex businesses.

In response to the relentless march of time and the pressures that come with it, innovators from inside and outside the industry have recently started to try to overhaul the world of strip clubs. Have it in mind that they have done so both in flashy ways, bringing high-tech concepts into the notoriously low-tech field, and in subtle ways, trying to tweak or reinvent core cultures and practices. Their initiatives will likely lead to a massive change in what the average strip club looks and feels like in the near future.

  1. Investment in VR

In 2016, San Francisco’s Gold Club partnered with a company called Vixen VR to create a virtual strip club experience — not just one that would let clients to strap on a headset and see a dancer gyrating in front of you, but one that would record the entirety of the space, allowing the user to move around within it.

Note that this idea was to make club customers out of those who prefer to stay home than go out for an evening of entertainment and those who might be interested, but fear actually going into strip clubs because of the stigma. Maybe, industry experts thought, VR experiences could wear away at young people’s reticence about clubs and turn them into in-person consumers as well.

By 2017, a number of clubs at the annual Gentlemen’s Club Expo, the industry’s only trade show (organized by Exotic Dancer Magazine) were boasting plans for VR projects. A few other clubs have opted, instead of investing in emerging VR technologies, to take a page from the cam site book and set up live streaming feeds of their stages and dressing rooms.

Like AR and VR systems, this allows homebound or cautious young consumers to sample club spaces from the comfort of their own spaces while netting new revenue for the venues, all without the bother of investing in AR or VR recording equipment or requiring the consumer to have an AR or VR rig.

  1. Industry Uncertainty

A good number of these tech-facing solutions in the industry are still embryonic at best; pure gimmickry intended to drum up short-term publicity and traffic spikes with limited long-term potential at worst. Most early VR projects in the industry, including Gold Club’s, appear not to have come to any great or lasting fruition.

Some industry critics have stated that their pre-recorded content actually robs users of the core appeal of strip clubs: the real-time and personalized interaction with a dancer in a bespoke space. It also denies them the one form of intimacy they can’t get while interacting with cam performers: the occasional, casual physical touch — a hand on the shoulder or brush of hair on a thigh.

Techno-futurists might still argue that haptic technologies will more or less solve the touch issue, making it possible for someone to feel even subtle contact from a dancer, perhaps in real-time, through a VR or AR rig and a bodysuit. However, all these are still highly speculative and far-off visions of the future.

  1. Culture Problems

A good number of old owners are either selling their clubs or handing the reigns of management over to younger folks with a better sense of what millennial and Gen Z individuals like and don’t like.

These younger owners or managers have started to introduce simple fixes, like not only allowing but encouraging patrons to use their phones in clubs — so long as they don’t invade or violate dancers’ privacy — offering discounts or free drinks for posts about the space and using that social media engagement to build a digital presence and friendly, transparent brand.

Many have retrained their staff and dancers to shift away from gruff or seedy demeanors and towards welcoming and inclusive attitudes. Some big clubs are starting to view their mission not as a basic transactional one, offering access to flesh and scintillation for cash, but instead as an epic endeavor to put on a raucous party every night — where eroticism is a key to attracting clients.

Experts in the industry believe that these core cultural tweaks are having a real effect, especially when it comes to drawing in women as patrons. Until relatively recently, most clubs did not allow women in if they were not dancers; they were exclusively male spaces, catering extensively to the male gaze and using sometimes demeaning language for women.

However, attracting women as regular patrons, either to appreciate dancers as performers or the club as a party space or pure novelty, helps to replace old male customers. It also helps young men feel like it is more acceptable, or just less seedy, for them to go to a strip club as well.

  1. Safety

This new trend of virtual strip club model has inspired women who wouldn’t normally do this sort of thing, as well as empowering those who do, with the publicity from the Instagram Live’s giving them a platform to make money from Home.

A good number of girls who participate in these online shows reported making thousands of dollars for just five minutes, compared to the eight-hour shifts they are used to in the real world. It is also a lot safer as clients can’t touch them no matter how hard they try, yet they are still willing to shell out crazy money.

Conclusion

Successful models for change and innovation that attract younger and more diverse crowds in place of declining old patron bases are slowly spreading through the industry. The advent and diffusion of best practices may actually be accelerating thanks to the emergence of a few big strip club conglomerates, like RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc., that make their fortunes by buying up small clubs nationwide and overhauling to align with lessons learned from successful operations.

Joy Nwokoro