Structural risk and limits on agency among exotic dancers: HIV risk practices in the exotic dance club

Katherine H.A. Footer, Sahnah Lim, Meredith R. Brantley, Susan G. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper provides longitudinal examination of women’s health and sexual risk trajectories in US exotic dance clubs, which represent an important commercial setting for the economic mainstreaming of sexual services and an important target for public health programmes. Between July 2014 and May 2015, two semi-structured interviews (at baseline and at three months) were conducted with 24 female exotic dancers who had recently started working in in Baltimore City, USA. Results from a constant comparative analysis point to the interrelationship between the structures of the club setting, including the social context, and women’s agentic practices concerning their sexual health. Study findings highlight the centrality of the interrelationship between individual- and structural-level experiences in influencing dancers’ risk behavior. Findings point to the need for interventions to empower women both individually and collectively so as to provide the foundation for longer-term structural change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-334
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018


  • Exotic dancers
  • HIV risk
  • USA
  • agency
  • structural factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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