A striptease is an erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, usually to music, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner. The person who performs a striptease is commonly known as a stripper or exotic dancer.
In Western countries, the venues where stripteases are performed on a regular basis are now usually called strip clubs, though they may be performed in venues such as pubs (especially in the UK), theaters and music halls. In addition to night club entertainment, stripping can be a form of sexual play between partners. This can be done as an impromptu event or—perhaps for a special occasion—with elaborate planning involving fantasy wear, music, special lighting, practiced dance moves, and even dance moves that have been previously unpracticed.
Striptease involves a slow, sensuous undressing, with the audience urging the stripper to remove more clothing. The stripper may prolong the undressing with delaying tactics such as the wearing of additional clothes or putting clothes or hands in front of just undressed body parts, such as breasts or between the legs. Emphasis is on the act of undressing along with sexually suggestive movement, rather than the state of being undressed. In the past, the performance often finished as soon as the undressing was finished, though today’s strippers usually continue dancing in the nude. The costume the stripper wears before disrobing can form part of the act.
Striptease and public nudity have been subject to legal and cultural prohibitions and other aesthetic considerations and taboos. Female entertainers engaging in striptease is opposed by many feminists, who argue that the practice objectifies women, and undermines gender equality, by reinforcing the notion that women exist merely for men’s sexual pleasure. Restrictions on venues may be through venue licensing requirements and constraints and a wide variety of national and local laws. These laws vary considerably around the world, and even between different parts of the same country.