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Male Pole Dancing on the Rise (Leg Warmers Optional)

Male pole dancing is on the rise, according to Diane Passage on the Huffington Post. There’s even a male pole dancing contest in the UK called ‘Mr Pole Fitness’. However Ms Passage is careful to make this slightly uptight, self-defeating disclaimer at at the end of her piece:

As I was discussing this topic with friends, the majority of both men and women were not turned on by the idea of watching a man work the pole. I personally am not a fan of a man who tries to imitate the sensual moves of a woman, but I do appreciate a man who demonstrates a masculine gymnastic style suggestive of what I might see in Cirque du Soleil – which does appeal to the masses.

In other words, so long as the male pole performer accepts that sensuality is the woman’s preserve and doesn’t ‘try to imitate it’ but rather pretends he’s taking part in an Olympic pommel-horse event or some circus act — instead of pole dancing in a thong — it’s still ‘masculine’ and therefore OK.

It seems to me that male pole-dancing is becoming more popular with men precisely because men are more and more disregarding what is supposed to be a woman’s preserve – particularly sensuality and inviting the gaze. Men today see women doing things – such as using cosmetics, pole dancing, and sucking cock – and think: Hey! That looks like fun!  I’d like to give that a go!

And why not?

After all, women have been doing the exact same thing with the ‘male preserve’ for some time. It’s why so many journalists these days are female.

Here are some other clips of male pole dancers that probably won’t meet with Ms Passage’s approval. I’m not entirely sure they all meet with mine. However the last clip seems to gloriously short-circuit quaint (North American/Anglo) ideas of what’s acceptably ‘masculine’. The young pole-dancer may be gymnastic, but he’s definitely not pretending he’s on a pommel-horse. Instead he seems to represent the emergence of a beautiful new species of butterfly.

Spectacularly demonstrating that males can be both (eye-poppingly) masculine and sensationally sensual.

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13 thoughts on “Male Pole Dancing on the Rise (Leg Warmers Optional)”

  1. You would be surprised how many men that are taking up pole dancing. The numbers are increasing for both men and women but I think that the number of males that are taking it up are growing as a proportion.

  2. Mark Hamilton: P.s: Daniel Radcliff appeared in Equus totally nude and will appear again in the last (I think)Harry Potter installments naked.

    This being a favorite childs series, should create havok with the socially conservative American public–I can just see Bill O’Reily et. all steam at the seams- the boy is straight but would appeal to male eyes both possibly because of his age and his sex, albeit that he is straight. I’m not sure what little girls would be thinking; perhaps they have asperations, along with Ms Passage of pole dancing; If they listen to her they concievably would prefer that to olympic performance.

    Another aspect of this though, which got me thinking about the responses to different pole dancing came as I spoke with a heterosexual male about his response to female pole dancing is that the appeal of females performing on the pole is that it is a masterbatory act :the appearance of women ‘getting off’ with the clitoral stimulation of a pole(phalus). This would not be a likelihood with males who aren’t so constructed.
    The pole dancing appealed to me except when they did the crotch crunching moves.

  3. The New Art pole boy in the bottom video certainly makes it look easy, while we all know it’s nothing of the sort. That’s an O for awesome in my book.

  4. Mark James Hamiltion: If you were interested in the science behind Visualizing Sexual Dimorphism there are a numer of related studies.

    Since your question seemed a little general and your thesis specific forgive me if I missed the point..

  5. Mark James Hamilton:
    Your subject is intriguing and certainly relevant to this issue. Indeed I think that it may be easier to come to terms with a traditionally male (utilitarian) activity like Martial arts becoming an object of visual libidinal desire as well as purely aesthetic appreciation as with the kata (exercise). While your question as it is posed could take us in a number of directions, I will try to be straightforward as possible. You asked:

    “how is a man more openly the object [of male libidinal desire].”

    I mean more openly than in the past, since men have been objects to be used traditionally to protect the female, provide food etc. A simplistic answer then is that with the recognition in last century of sexual object differences(see Mark’s article re: Mr. Kertbeny S’ 09 ), our society recognizes , for the most part that males as well as females have homosexual , bisexual, and even narcissistic metrosexual(M.S) proclivities. We see this in magazines(i.e.Men’s Health), advertising(e.g. underwear, perfume), on calenders(Male ballplayers); In dance, males perform in all male troupes, adopting forms usually given female custodianship, even dancing on point. In theater, a recent case where nubile male beauty was used is in Equis, where “Harry Potter” stood in naked splendor before a broadway audience. I’m sure this didn’t reflect his role in Harry (except the innocence)! In some of these cases one might assume wrongly that they appeal to females sexually, the appeal would be more aesthetic.

    One significant difference between males and females, which has been long supposed, is that most females don’t respond to visual sexual stimuli like males do. We have assumed that in the way that males enjoy pornography and and strip shows. While this might have been credited to female repression that has been disproven scientifically. This assumption has been proven scientifically only as recently as 2004.
    The neurological study of “sexual dimorphism” , or the difference in structure between male and female brains indicates that the gene responsible for sexually tied visualization is shut off in females. This is similar to why in canarys and zebra finches only the males sing. This is only onepart of the brain to which they have easy access.
    While some people believe that the choice of libidinal objects is inborn, the sight of which is a turn on, there is no proof of this, it could as well happen in formative years. Many of us don’t think the object of choice is an interesting question. What attracts us to the object of our choices(libido) seems to be inborn, or certainly formed before we make conscious choices.
    Regarding your thesis, It seems to me that taking a complex set of utilitarian (traditionally male) movements and removing their object (violence), renders them a form of dance. I know that some time back people were experimenting with those kind of exercises. They have great potential. For a male audience, the show of musculature and coordination would surely hold libidinal promise especially for gay, bisexual and meterosexual men. It would have great aesthetic promise for others. Hope that helps. (If you need the Neuro Study I can send it.)

    Mark S.: Well, Passage could be masochistic; or trying to get unemployment !

  6. Ann: I think men are born pole-dancers, given half a chance. And yes, muscular well-hung ones look best with their legs in the air.

    I suppose what I objected to most about Ms Passage’s report was the liberal hypocrisy of it: let’s write a piece supposedly welcoming male pole dancing, but then finish by saying that male pole-dancing is only attractive if it’s not actually… pole dancing.

    Mark W: Ms Passage certainly can’t have known what she was saying, otherwise she wouldn’t have said it. At least not out loud online, where everyone else can hear her — and point and giggle

  7. Well, unlike my last prudish comment (which I apologize for and take back, about not liking tits on men–I think it was just dancing silicone I objected to) I have to disagree with my uptight compatriot. And I also don’t think this is “shit.” I like to see well-built (and well hung) men displaying “feminine” sensuality–with minimal clothing, please!

    Through most of history, weren’t men always flaunting their “sensuality”? Walking around in big wigs and high heels and cascading lace in the 17th century. Skin-tight tights and showing off their buns in the 16th century. Cutaway coats to reveal the front of tight breeches in the early 19th century. (The pants were flesh-colored and were sometimes put on wet with no underwear–an early form of shrink-wrap…)

    Gentlemen were supposed to dance gracefully and have elegant manners. Yes, I know this isn’t exactly pole-dancing sensuality, but I think it’s all part of the same thing. Men have always wanted to show off their athletic grace and muscled bods, and women and other men have enjoyed seeing them, and why not?

  8. I love love love watching a really good stripper/exotic dancer. An amazing performer doing a beautiful routine is a heady cocktail of art and sex – and often humor – that is…really in a class by itself as far as media go.

    But I can’t watch this shit..!

  9. “women are sometimes the heterocentric target of male libidinal visualizations for those events, other males are equally as subject to such attention, especially as they become more openly an object of male libidinal desire.”

    how,mark? please tell me more.
    how is a man more openly the object.
    i am in the final moments of a PhD about the intersection of the martial arts and dance theatre, and thereafter.
    Mark (also) in NZ

  10. Ms. Passage seems to miss the point(or pole) entirely. It doesn’t take much imagination to suppose that the pole itself is representative of a phallus. Indeed it is a better constructed implement for simulating a sexual act than doing gymnastic stunts; if that was the case, I’m sure that the Olympics would have long ago presented us with more than just a pole vaulting event which seems evasive relative to sexual imagining: something more like a pole caressing feat. Ms. Passage must have bees in her bonnet to imagine that likelihood.
    If Ms. Passage was talking about the masturbatory delights’ of rubbing ones organs, as in horseback riding, on formidable surface, women have a structural advantage with poles and bouncing steeds, to be sure, she and other women would possess a favored anatomy. A girl friend told me about that.
    The allure of the visual has always been regarded as a male prerogative by nature.
    But while she may be right in assuming that the women are sometimes the heterocentric target of male libidinal visualizations for those events, other males are equally as subject to such attention, especially as they become more openly an object of male libidinal desire.
    My guess is that she’s less ignorant than she is simply envious..

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