Pole’s Exotic History: Where Do You Stand On The Matter?

by | Aug 14, 2019

The stripping vs pole fitness debate has played around my mind for years.

When I first started pole, the stripper-stigma that was attached to pole was something that put me off. I had grown up believing that one shouldn’t come across as sexy as that was somehow “wrong” or “inappropriate”… and perhaps more importantly it would land me in trouble.

I didn’t tell many people about my new hobby. I didn’t talk to my colleagues about it and only mentioned it to a couple of close friends. I had this big worry that people would view me differently or think it was something it wasn’t.


Over the years, my opinion and thoughts about stripping and pole fitness have been challenged. And I now feel very differently to when I first started pole.

First off, I see “pole fitness” as a sub-category of pole. Pole fitness is the strength side of pole. It’s a very different style to the lyrical, contemporary style “Pole Art” or the exotic, sexy style “Classique Pole”. And so if I’m honest, I don’t really get the direct comparison. To me they’re totally different. Different outcomes, different environments, different vibes.

It would be like comparing classical art to modern art. Both beautiful in their own unique and very different way. And like art, some people prefer one to the other.


When training pole in a studio, it feels like you are nurturing your body, your mind, your spirit, your sensuality. And this has a different feel and purpose to if you were to go into a strip club to perform. 

I believe there is light and shadow to every situation. And I think this is true for stripping too.

Some people who strip will totally love it, they’ll feel alive, feel confident, in control, feel electric, perhaps even feel predatory at times. And on the shadow side, I think there’ll be others who hate it, who feel objectified, who feel trapped, and feel like a victim forced into the situation. Hell, I bet on some days it ranges through all those emotions in the same day. Do I think that makes stripping wrong?

No. I know many people who would describe their office job like that. Sometimes they feel on top, sometimes they feel trapped and abused. They’ve stripped themselves of their true dreams, their voices, their values for the 9-5 paycheck. Is this any better or any worse than stripping your clothes?


I’ve come to feel very grateful for strippers. Although, pole fitness has been around for centuries (prior to the introduction of Pole+Burlesque in strip clubs) it wasn’t mainstream or that well-known. It’s because of the American striptease boom in the ’50s that pole is what it is today. The beautiful, varied, interesting activity which I love with all my heart. And for that I am full of gratitude.

If I could make one change in the world on this stripping vs pole fitness topic, it would be to better educate people about the differences. And with no judgement. Wouldn’t it be cool if more people understood the different styles of pole and the incredible life-changing benefits they can bring. Wouldn’t it be cool if people were less judgmental of pole – whether in the strip club or in the studio. 


Now I would love to hear from you…  Did you ever run this debate round in your head? Did you hide your new hobby from family and friends? Or were you loud and proud of pole for all of its sides right from the get-go? Tell me all in the comments below.