With easy access to erotic performances and more online, millennials have been less inclined to take a trip to a local jiggle joint. The Internet is the most persistent, and successful, the challenge facing strip clubs worldwide. Even clubs with decades of success have been forced to recognize that the online customer is becoming important. Almost as important as the clientele lining up outside every night. Just as casinos have allowed customers to gamble online in virtual reality, some strip clubs are seeing the new writing on the digital walls. The Gold Club San Francisco means to take this new challenge head-on, offering a VR strip club experience.
If nothing else, it’s an interesting way to attract new customers. For any number of reasons, people can’t always get to their closest strip club. The Palomino offers free rides to guests staying at a hotel here in Las Vegas. That same shuttle can’t reach people on the other side of the country on the same night. But imagine being able to experience the Palomino in all of it’s glory, without actually being there.
A VR strip club isn’t there just yet. The technology is still growing, running into limitations, and growing around or through them. But thanks to the adult industry, it might start getting closer to the real deal, faster than you may expect.
VR strip club vs. the real deal
This is the obvious question: why one over the other, if you have a choice?
Despite the best efforts of asshole politicians and prudish people with more power than common sense, strip clubs are still a presence throughout the world. They serve a very real desire that people of any orientation have. And while here in the America we have a pretty skewed perspective of sexuality and violence, sex still sells. In short, we wanna see the bits lovely ladies (and handsome gentlemen) usually keep hidden.
The internet has made this incredibly easy, though. If you want to see a girl or guy performing a specific sex act, you can literally google it, find it, watch it, and… “experience” it within minutes. Now, if you’re the type of guy or gal who wants to have a gathering of friends to watch some internet porn as a group? Handle your needs as a group? Hey, awesome, more power to you.
It’s safe to say that most people don’t do that. Porn and cam shows, outside of comments and chat feeds, are a very private experience for the person watching. Private, and oftentimes a lonesome experience. The girl or guy putting on the show is nowhere near you. The act is influenced in very limited fashion by you. It’s not a social event in the same way that going to a strip club, hell, any night club, stripper-staffed or otherwise. But it does take care of a very specific need, and thanks to the internet, you don’t have to go anywhere to fulfill that need.
VR strip club experiences promise to bring the club to you, but there’s plenty of work to be done for that to mean anything. When we say “it’s not the same”, we mean that it’s not the same.
What the VR strip club lacks
Proponents are claiming that this is the future. However, not everyone is super enthusiastic, and it isn’t just clubs that are iffy about it. One ex-stripper, Janice Blaze Rocke, wrote a scathing review of the Gold Club VR experience for Polygon.
Gold Club VR is described as a “barren wonderland” that forgot all about the “tease” in striptease. It’s limited to a virtual recreation of the club itself, the only inhabitants being the dancers themselves, and virtual security guards. The VR strip club goes a little further than the actual San Francisco club, in some ways. By clicking a button, you can make more carefully edited videos of women to appear around you, even have their clothes come off.
Limitations are numerous beyond the viewing angles of the ladies: they don’t speak, don’t interact with you in any way beyond changing positions at your button clicks. Ms. Rocke observes, from personal experience, that “what most men actually desired was both the sexual stimulus of a naked woman and the company of a living, speaking, thinking one.”
There are a lot of things that the current VR experience decidedly lacks, a lot of problems with how it’s set up. We think Ms. Rocke’s nailed just about every one of them on the head when it comes to comparing a virtual strip club to real ones.
It doesn’t have to stay that way; technology is always marching forward.
The future of stripping?
Well, there’s no way to perfectly predict the future.
Honestly, the current limits of VR make apps like these sound pretty weak, from a personal perspective. It’s one thing to see a woman in person, dancing on stage, teasing herself with toys for your benefit. It’s something else to watch a pre-recorded video on a VR headset, doing the exact same motions that it does for everyone else.
The VR strip club doesn’t quite recreate the complete real-world gentlemen’s club experience. We’re not quite Star Trek, so no VR set is going to give you a proper lap dance, help pour you a drink, or just sit comfortably against you for a short chat. It does, however, allow people to focus on one specific aspect of the dancers, and with minimal fuss. No need for small talk, no need to dress up nice, no drinks to worry about spilling.
Of course, if you’re like me, VR isn’t an option; I’ve gotten seriously motion sick with every Oculus Rift I’ve tried. If I’m gonna be sick before, during, or after a lap dance of any sort, I’d prefer it to be from questionable choices in eating and drinking.