In an attempt to further ruin any hope of my having a good name on e2, I've decided to share this little bit of trivia picked up from my stripper friends. Even though one might expect that prostitutes make more money than strippers because what they do is ... how should I put this ... potentially much more disgusting than a lap dance could ever be, this turns out not to be the case.

I only caught on to this line of inquiry when a friend of mine who strips mentioned how little money she had, but said no jobs in town paid better than the one she already had. I jokingly suggested that she consider prostitution, which elicited a giggle from both herself and her boyfriend. She then said something to the effect of "Actually, some of the girls I work with used to do that, but they made way less money than they do at the club." I was incredulous, since it seemed like sex would almost have to bring in more money than simple teasing. However, after talking with her about her nightly earnings and what her co-workers had to say about prostitution, I began to see she was right.

Here's why:

In my area, a lap dance costs between $5 and $20. For the purposes of this example, we're going to say that $10 is the magic number, because that's what my friend made. Now, lap dances last the length of a song, about four minutes, and on a busy night a dancer can expect to be requested for ten or more dances an hour. To keep things fair, we'll average in the slow nights too, and call it 7 dances per hour. Typically the clubs around here close at one am to keep the cops happy, and shifts start at five, so the shift is 8 hours long. Let's do the math: $10 * 7 d/hr * 8 hr = $560, a pretty solid pile of Benjamins for eight hours work. We'll guess that the dancer decides to tip out 10% to the club's bouncers, leaving her with $560 - $56 = $504 on an average night. Nice.

Okay, the numbers are going to be a little sketchier for the out-call prostitute, since I've had to glean them from online references instead of a primary source. For my area, the running price for full service (which means exactly what it sounds like) is about $150. Now, I'm going to guess these ladies work reasonable seven or eight hour shifts, but need an hour or so of clean-up and travel time between clients. That gives us .5 clients per hour, or four clients per night, which seems like a nice brisk trade. Multiplied together, we get $150 * .5 cli/hr * 8 hr = $600. Of course, we can't neglect the escort service these girls work for, which probably lops a massive $50 right off the top of each client's payment. This step, finally, leaves us with the prostitute's earnings, $600 - $200 = $400 per night. Evidently even high class escort prostitutes make less than plain vanilla exotic dancers.

Just for fun, we'll compare these two salaries to what an inner-city street-walking prostitute might expect to make. I warn that this is almost completely conjecture, since the site referenced below had much, much more information about prices of escort style prostitutes than streetwalkers. We'll assume the average price for a half hour of "service" is $45, averaging between all the (ahem) kinds of service offered. Let's also assume an 8 hour shift, for convenience's sake. So, we've got $45 * 2 cli/hr * 8 hours = $720, which seems like quite a lot. Unfortunately, we've left the pimp out of the picture, which he wouldn't like one little bit! Once his 70% cut -- and that's a low estimate -- is figured in, it leaves the poor girl with a paltry $146 a night, by far the least of the lot.

refs: - broken, as of 2002:08:05

This assertion may be true but is not necessarily so. Certainly some strippers make better money than some prostitutes. The rates quoted above are not generally representative of the reality (in my experience). This analytical approach is missing data and draws invalid comparisons.

Ceteris paribus*, these two forms of sex work might be compared and found to be exhibit an income differential. However these professions have rather different necessary qualifications and skills.

Working in exotic dance is purely visual and accordingly the level of attractiveness necessary is probably higher. In my locale, the lowest priced table dance runs $10 (days in a no-contact club) and typical is more like $20-30 (in a club where contact is allowed). In San Francisco (where the variety of available sexual trade is vastly greater) dances run $30-100 and patrons are not permitted to stay in a club if they fail to tip dancers during their sets. Contrary to some expectations, the highest tips seem to go to dancers with either large or very small breasts.

The quoted 7 dances per hour might be achieved on a Saturday night, however it is a high figure. An attractive and skilled stripper working at $10 per dance will be doing well to walk away from an 8 hour shift with more than $300. Working nights pays better, and indeed some girls working in a busy full contact club with a going rate of $30 per dance might average $400 per night (after paying stage fee or tips to the staff). Night shifts, however increase the dancer's expenses as most city's public transportation systems shut down before the closing time.

Women working in prostitution, whether an escort service, independent or on the street also need a degree of beauty to work successfully but the emphasis is on the ability to have sex and fulfill the client's fantasy.

Again in my area the rates are rather different from those quoted above. The lowest rate for an outcall is $200 for a very exactly limited hour's contact, the average is more like $250 and high end starts at $400. It is normal for a girl working between Thursday and Sunday nights to meet 3-5 clients. Usually 1/3 of these will be longer sessions of 2 hours or more, with fees in the $300 - 700 range. As a technical matter, prostitutes almost never permit clients to kiss them. In addition to the implied intimacy (which is not something you can buy from a prostitute), she does not want to have to re-apply makeup between clients. Also cleanup typically happens during the client's paid time.

Thus it would not be unusual for a successful woman to gross 900 - 2000 or more, or to average $1200 per working night. Weekend working hours are more likely 12-14 hour nights. than the 7-8 worked by most dancers.

Other differences include working conditions, Strippers spend a 7-8 hour shift working in stiletto heels or more often platform shoes, doing strenuous work in a usually smoke filled environment, and simultaneously engaging a dozen or more patrons, working to establish individual rapport and eye contact with every one.

In both of these professions one key to success includes repeat business. The dancer is working to encourage customers to pay for multiple lapdances, just as a girl who engages in sex for hire maximizes profit by working with clients who will book her for 2-3 hours. Also because there is inherent risk in meeting with every new client, (s)he will be more at ease with customers where there is an established rapport.

Finally girls working for escort services will see clients who they evaluate as safe privately, thus keeping the entire fee. In this case, of course safety includes a sense of the client's discretion as few services would be happy on learning of these arrangements.

Most sex workers necessarily have or develop excellent boundaries. In both arenas most clients enjoy engaging in conversation. Also both professions have set limits which the clients may or may not understand. In both cases what is being sought is very much a fantasy, and the girls who do this work may succeed (or fail) more on their ability to deliver that fantasy than any other aspect.

This writeup draws on personal experience of self and others.

* ceteris paribus = Other things being equal.

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