by Phil Hubbard, Sexualities journal (2009) 12 (6) 721-745.
While adult entertainment venues offering striptease have proliferated in the UK, recent reforms have subjected them to more onerous and restrictive forms of licensing control. This article examines the justification for this re-regulation, noting that debates around the desirability of such venues have become increasingly framed in terms of gendered exploitation rather than sexual liberation and ‘play’. Noting that such debates often conflate questions of public morality, criminality, nuisance and exploitation in unhelpful ways, this article argues that the reform of the licensing law was underpinned by possibly flawed assumptions about the gendered and sexed nature of adult entertainment. The article accordingly emphasizes the ability of the naked body to excite both desire and disgust, and challenges the assumption that commercial sex is always exploitative.