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Our readers asked:

I’m thinking of becoming a stripper to make extra money on the side for college and eventually medical school, so I can help the poor. The job only entails dancing behind a glass wall and there’s no sexual touching involved. Is this morally objectionable?

Neela Kale Answers:

The Catholic Church teaches that human sexuality is a beautiful gift from God. It allows us to love others and, in a special way, to truly give ourselves in love to one other person. Through married love a couple unite themselves to each other and open themselves to the precious gift of life, literally becoming co-creators with God if they are blessed with the gift of a child. This may seem like a lofty ideal, especially because it is so counter-cultural today. But it is the standard to which we hold all our expressions of human sexuality. Other expressions become more and more objectionable the further they stray from this ideal.

Even though you say the job involves only dancing and no sexual touching, you are nevertheless engaging in a sexual expression (and encouraging those who watch you to engage in a sexual expression) that deviates from the intended purpose of human sexuality, which should be expressed as a loving, intimate union between two people who are committed to each other for life. Genuine sexual intimacy is meant to celebrate the dignity of the human person and to call a person into deeper relationship with his/her spouse. Erotic dancing in front of strangers, by contrast, is an objectification of other human beings and encourages self-centered expression focused on mere gratification. No matter how noble your goals – and I hope you do succeed in college and medical school and go on to make a difference in the world – you should not sacrifice your own human dignity and integrity, or that of others, in order to achieve them.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • M

    What you do and your standards are one thing, but another to consider are the customers themselves. Why are they there? And how does your work affect them?

  • Ken Maher

    About 40 years ago, I was approached on the street in Nairobi, Kenya, by a young man who said he was paying for his Roman Catholic seminary education by selling his body to other men. Before walking away, I told him that I didn’t think that that was really a very auspicious way to prepare for the priesthood.

  • James

    Well, the spectators won’t be able to touch you, but but who will protect you from the management and employees? (I know they say they will, but they won’t.) And what about their “special” customers in the back room? And what about the little side jobs they talk you into off site? The parties, the “modeling”? Where do you draw the line with those? Oh, yeah. And don’t forget the “boyfriends” you’ll meet.

    The Christian professor Mike Adams stated the following about his stripper students in a column called “I Had a Dream”:

    “When they finally decide to leave, they often walk out with STDs, drug addictions, a string of unwanted pregnancies and even lower self-esteem. But they never seem to walk out with the money.”

    I strongly recommend you look up that article before you make a decision. In fact, one of my own students, a genius at microbiology, headed in that direction and wound up as more or less nothing.

    The people running the strip bar will make all kinds of claims about how “safe” it is, and they can overwhelm you with financial numbers, but it’s all an illusion. There are factors to the job you don’t see until you’re snarled up in it.

  • Christine

    Well said! Thank you for expressing the Church’s teaching so succintly and movingly.

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