Look but don’t touch – customers must ‘sit on their hands’ if sex club opens in Exeter

Customers will be ordered to sit on their hands if a lap dance club ‘celebrating female sexuality’ moves into Exeter.

An Exeter city centre bar could become a ‘sex entertainment venue’ if city councillors give the proposal the go-ahead next week, writes local democracy reporter Guy Henderson.

The Monkey Suit, in Sidwell Street, will have its application decided at a meeting of Exeter City Council’s licensing committee on Tuesday (September 12).

The application has been lodged by a company called Bar Dynamics, based in Paignton, Devon.

Police say they have no objections.

The entertainment would take place in a room on the first floor between 9pm and 4am, and one of the ‘no touching’ licence conditions states that patrons will have to sit on their hands while being entertained.

The rest of the building would remain a bar as it is now.

Exeter City Council has an existing policy – adopted 10 years ago – which says there is nowhere in the city where it would be appropriate to licence a sex entertainment venue, or a sex cinema. As a result, the city currently has none.

A report to the committee says the venue would have clear house rules and procedures to ensure no physical contact between customers and performers.

Customers would buy colour-coded chips to exchange for the level of performance required.

And, the report continues: “A clear distance is provided between performers and patrons when a performance is taking place, with customers required to sit on their hands.”

Security staff would be on hand to ensure performer safety, and booths for private dances would be open on one side.

The application says the bar wants to ‘celebrate female sexuality’ and challenge stereotypes of people working in the sex industry.

There have been a number of objections. One said: “I don’t believe that there’s any evidence that Exeter needs such a venue, or this type of entertainment.”

Another objection lodged said: “We believe that such a venue would lead to a decline of the culture in the surrounding area.

“Once one sex entertainment venue has opened, it will be much easier for others to follow, resulting in an area of the city which the majority of the public would try to avoid.”

But there were also supporters whose endorsements appear on the reports going before the council meeting next week.

One stated: “What is being proposed will allow for a safe late-night place where the LGBT community can go and have fun. The owner is a lovely, kind, welcoming guy and I feel like this would be a great fit for Exeter.”

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