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The complicated relationship exotic dancers have with toilet paper.

Before Julia*, an exotic dancer, goes out on stage, there’s a number of things she needs to consider.

And the first, she tells Mamamia, is in regards to toilet paper.

“It’s an issue with public bathroom toilet paper,” she explains, “it’s basically crepe paper and it’s terrible.”

You see, Julia says exotic dancers need to check after they wipe, to ensure they’ve not got any remnants of toilet paper stuck to their vulva.

“This is 100 per cent an issue that every girl in a strip club worries about,” Julia says.

“You’ve got to fold it neatly so you can see if there are any tears on the paper… and if necessary use a baby wipe or feminine wipe (as much as I hate those) to get the last bits off.”

What happens when a sex worker gets their period? Post continues below. 

If we were to peep backstage at one of her shows, Julia says we’d likely see a number of women bent over asking others if they can see a stray pube, a visible tampon string, any residual toilet paper or an angry looking ingrown hair.

“It’s a really close-knit environment between the dancers,” she shares. “It sounds gross but it’s like a sex worker sisterhood moment when someone is like ‘Can you please tell me if you can see my tampon?'”

Interestingly, Julia says it’s “actually better” to work on your period because “the hormones make your boobs bigger” which sometimes equates to more money.

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In the clothes Julia wears for work, which she describes as a bra, a thong, suspenders and stockings, a pad or liner isn’t really an option. Even tampons are risky, because the string is potentially visible.

Julia explains that women wear either a diva cup, sponge, or tampon with the string either “tucked up or cut off”.

The close relationship between the women often means that they help each other with inserting or removing tampons, given they can be a little harder to find without a string.

Luckily, ingrown hairs aren’t quite so obvious.

“It’s pretty dark almost everywhere in the club so you can’t really tell if you’ve got ingrowns to be honest,” Julia says.

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“Lots of girls get laser – like a Brazilian – but most shave.”

She explains that waxing isn’t ideal if you’re working regularly, because dancers don’t really have time to let it grow back between waxes.

As a result, “most have a bit of a rash from having to shave basically every day or every second day unfortunately… but a little concealer and setting powder definitely fixes everything.”

In fact, Julia recommends Tarte Shape Tape Concealer as one of the best on the market for perfecting a bikini line.

After five years as an exotic dancer, Julia says it’s nowhere near as “seedy” as many imagine.

She holds a few other jobs which she says offer her stability during the slow seasons, but overall, she enjoys what she does, and wishes there was a more public conversation about sex work in Australia.

Julia is not her real name, but she is known to Mamamia. 

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