The History of Stripping (Part One)

Although a lot of conservative folks would like you to believe that stripping is a new invention that has risen out of our sexual misbehavior, it is not anything new at all. In fact, you can read more about its origins in our previous article, answering the question of how old is the stripping profession.

Today we are going to look a bit further into the history of exotic dancing. We will see how it progressed through the ages, why it has stuck for so long, and what makes it so special after all. We will venture to the Middle East and then to Europe, and maybe we will do a trip around the world.

Stripping and Mythology

In the last article we mentioned that there are cave painting portraying stripping women. However, since there is no written record, we cannot really say all that much about these. Yet there is written record about myths from around the world, and in some of them sexuality and stripping in particular make quite the fuss.

For example, one of the oldest mythologies – the Sumerian one – have stripping as a part of a ritual practice. Women would take off their clothing piece by piece in order to mimic the ordeals of goddess Inanna in the Underworld.

Of course, we have already mentioned in the other article that Greece had quite the fascination with sexual practices in temples, where sex workers would essentially be their own version of priests. This ties to their mythology as well.

Part of a Larger Industry

Although it is pretty far-fetched to say that Ancient Greece had any industry, there were still brothels, which operated in a rather interesting way. For example, certain workers there had only one job – to dance naked in order to arose clients so they can go and do some other things inside the brothel.

This is perhaps one of the first examples of female strippers who had this as a profession unrelated to anything mythological or religious. And how far back does it date? All the way to the 6th century BC! Quite the thing isn’t it?

Ancient Rome also had its strippers, although there were laws in place that would put certain limitations on practicing the art form. Still, it is assumed that stripping was a regular thing, with many female performs thinking of themselves as actresses, since stripping was only a part of the whole thing. It usually involved a play, which may not have been exactly erotic in nature, but they used eroticism to spark interest in further acts as well.

Going Dark

After the Roman Empire adopted Christianity en masse, the practice of stripping was largely banned. It is not exactly sure whether or not this ban was enforced, but there are no records of the practice after the era of the Antiquity and up until the more recent centuries in Europe.

However, there are still other records of stripping, but most of them have to do with slave workers, which is not exactly what we are going for in our search through history. See you next time for part two, where we will focus a bit more on the modern times!