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News flash: Strip clubs could be good for your health

Strip clubs may be good for your health. That's the word from Lakewood-based VCG Holdings, which owns the Diamond Cabaret, the Penthouse Club, La Bohème, the three PT's Showclub locations and thirteen other clubs in nine more states. According to VCG president Michael Ocello, the company hired Empire Research to get in-depth info on why guys go to adult clubs, why they stay there and why they come back. To go more than skin-deep, so to speak.

"Everybody says, 'Well, there's a simple answer why guys go to clubs," Ocello says. "If all they wanted to do was see scantily clad women, you can go turn on the Internet for free and see scantily clad women. We knew it was more than that, and ultimately, when they came back with this research, there were some things that just absolutely astounded us."

A report recently sent to VCGH e-mail subscribers suggests that going to adult entertainment clubs can reduce stress and elevate testosterone. "Being around beautiful women, interacting with them, having these interactions in an environment that's basically risk-free, causes their testosterone to go up," Ocello explains. "And it causes oxytocin, a chemical which gets released. It helps eliminate pain and makes us feel better. It's called the love hormone, just because it gives you that feeling of well-being that makes you sleep easier at night."

When men interact with beautiful women, he adds, it also reduces the amount of cortisol, the so-called "stress hormone," in their bodies. "When people are stressed, their bodies hold cortisol, which is really a negative chemical that our body releases," Ocello continues. "It comes out of your adrenal gland when you're in a fight-or-flight situation. The problem is, where we're living today in this stressed place, there's a lot more cortisol, and it's really negative for us. The health detriments are huge."

Cortisol is the age-accelerating hormone that interferes with learning and memory, Empire's report noted, and it can also make you more susceptible to weight gain and disease.

But the health benefits weren't the only surprises in the study. When couples go into an adult club, Empire determined, they stimulate the same parts of their brains that were stimulated when they first started going out. "When a couple goes into a club like ours, what happens is his testosterone goes up, they're both together and the oxytocin gets released," Ocello says. "They're in a sexually charged atmosphere; there's a lot of variety, a lot of uniqueness about it. And it stimulates the same parts of the brain when they first started dating."

Over the last decade, Ocello adds, they've seen an amazing increase in the number of women visiting their clubs. "Go over to PT's on Evans on Saturday night, and half the room is couples and women," he says. "It's not what people think. It's not swingers. It's people coming in, and they're having a good time. It's a sexually charged atmosphere. The reality is, women have been telling me for years that if you want to spice up what happens when you get behind the bedroom doors, you have to spice up what happens before you get there. This is a great way to add spice."

Club scout: After almost two years, Open Tap Bar & Grill (1446 South Broadway), which had taken over the former Cafe Cero space, has gone dark; several different restaurant groups are eyeing the spot.

Rockstar Aaron will launch Female Trouble on Friday, November 5, with B-52's tribute band Hey Lady at Bar Standard (1037 Broadway). The DJ says he wanted an edgy name so that people will know it's a ladies' night; the name is a nod to the John Waters film of the same name. Every week, Aaron will spin a mix of pop, rock and dance on this no-cover night.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon

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