While the exact origin of the striptease is debated among historians, sexually suggestive dancing, where one slowly removes articles of clothing, dates back to both Ancient Rome and Greece. However, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the English word striptease, itself, was first used in 1931.
In the past, women traditionally stripped for the male gaze, but in 2019, anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or body type can perform a striptease. And you should, for no other reason than it’s different, sexy, and can turn your partner on to no end.
We asked three professional male burlesque dancers for striptease tips, specifically for men new to the suggestive dance. Here's what they said:
Keep it slow.
“The key word is tease,” says Milo Pony, performer and co-director of Members Only Boylesque. “Teasing creates tension and builds anticipation. Nowadays, with instant gratification at our fingertips, it’s necessary to slow things down. Don't be afraid to take your time and enjoy it.”
Often, we think of stripteases as being around four minutes long, but that’s because professional performers usually have the length of one song to take everything off. Since you’re not performing a number to an audience, you’re not constricted by time. You can go for as long as you want.
Don’t be afraid to make it funny.
Odds are you don’t have the skills of Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, but unless your partner is delusional, they’re not expecting you to hit his moves with the same skill and grace. Since you’re untrained and not going to be able to twerk upside down in the air while doing multiple hip thrusts, lean into being humorous.
Burlesque performer Jason Waterfalls tells Men’s Health that he typically performs comedic routines because he firmly believes that nothing is sexier than a man who can be silly while trying to seduce.
Waterfalls says, “A playful nature translates to a fun time in bed. So when you remove that glove with your teeth, give a growl and shake the glove like a dog with a chew toy.”
He continues, “Anyone can look sexy taking off their clothes, but a sense of humor about it will make people fall in love with you.”
Let go of judgement.
In a similar vein, it’s necessary to let go of any judgement you may have. This, too, will help you build confidence, which all three performers made clear is the key to a successful striptease.
“I would say that any guy trying to seduce their partner should let go of self judgement first, and just have fun with it,” says burlesque performer Jack Barrow. “Because if you’re having fun, your partner will too.”
Don’t be sexually graphic.
Striptease is an art. It requires finesse, subtlety, and precision. Letting it all hang out there while repeatedly shoving your crotch in their face isn’t a true striptease. “Being graphically sexual can come off as crass and too aggressive,” says Jason Waterfalls. He then explains that being sensual can be foreign to many men. It’s not something that guys are taught, and in many cultures, what’s deemed sexy as a man is engaging in more traditionally masculine and aggressive sexual behaviours. That’s just not the case for a striptease, which is why Jason suggests letting go of what you perceive to be manly and embracing all other aspects of your sexuality.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health