Episode 225: An Inside Look at the World of Burlesque

September 19, 2023 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 225: An Inside Look at the World of Burlesque

At the beginning of the 20th century, burlesque shows featuring stripteases took the United States by storm. They played on Broadway and were popular across the country. By the end of the century, though, they had all but disappeared. However, burlesque has since made a comeback and is arguably more popular than ever. So let’s dive into the world of modern burlesque! I spoke with a burlesque performer about how she got into the business, the role and meaning of nudity in her performances, how audiences react to her shows, and so much more.

My guest is Fancy Feast, a Brooklyn-based burlesque performer, writer, and sex educator whose work has been profiled on NPR, Refinery29, and The Huffington Post. Her debut book, Naked: On Sex, Work, and Other Burlesques, is set for release next month.

Some of the topics we explore include:

  • At its core, what makes something a burlesque performance?
  • What are some of the different meanings of nudity for burlesque performers, and how is this communicated to the audience?
  • What does the process of preparing for a burlesque show look like?
  • How do local laws limit what performers can do in their acts?
  • How (and why) do people’s opinions about burlesque differ from other forms of sex work?

To learn more, you can check out Fancy Feast’s website, and stay connected on Instagram and Twitter.

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Credits: Precision Podcasting (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.


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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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