Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 3–27 | Cite as

Queer desire in the sex industry

  • Bernadette Barton


“They are all lesbians anyway,” is one of the stereotypes with which mainstream society labels sex workers. In this field study of exotic dancers, I research what dancers feel about this stereotype as well as the shapes they perceive queer desire assuming in the sex industry. In this article, I highlight a fascinating tension between the desire that sex workers perform for men and the queer desire they feel for other women. Using the framework of ethnographic descrition, I explore this tension through the description and analysis of the sexual identities of sex workers. Specifically, I examine the sex industry as a site that encourages women to expand notions of their own sexuality. This is partly because the environments of strip bars and peep shows offer women easy access to other women, invite them to break taboos, and teach them disdain for men.


Sexual Orientation Sexual Identity Emotional Labor Bisexual Woman Exotic Dancer 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernadette Barton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Social Work & CriminologyMorehead State UniversityMorehead

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