London, Nov 26 : The chairman of the Lap Dancing Association told a parliamentary committee recently that lap dancing was not a form of sexual act.
The claim, made by Simon Warr, was greeted with scepticism by MPs, while he was giving evidence to the Commons culture committee as part of an inquiry into the operation of the Licensing Act.
Lap Dancing clubs are at the moment licensed in the same way as pubs and clubs, and the government is under pressure to change the act and to have it licensed as sex encounter establishments.
In their evidence to the committee, Warr and colleagues from the Lap Dancing Association claimed that their clubs should not be classified as sex encounter establishments because they were providing hospitality, not sexual services.
And Warr astonished the committed when he argued that sexual stimulation was not part of the clubs' attraction.
"One of the biggest problems we face is that not enough people understand the business blueprint of our clubs," Guardian.co.uk quoted him as saying.
"Actually, our premises are not sexually stimulating. It would be contrary to our business plan if they were," he said.
Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley who was questioning Warr, said he found the statement hard to believe.
"You are saying that the purpose of a lap dancing club is not to be sexually stimulating? Most people would find that a rather incredible claim," Davies asked.
Warr replied: "Then you need to go to a club, because the purpose of a club is to provide entertainment. It's to provide alcohol, it's a place of leisure.
"All right, the entertainment may be in the form of nude or semi-nude performers, but it's not sexually stimulating," he stated.
The exchange of words was intervened by Peter Stringfellow, the strip club owner, who tried to explain what Warr meant by his comment.
"Of course it's sexually stimulating," said Stringfellow.
"So is a disco. So is a little girl flashing away with her knickers showing. Of course it's sexually stimulating. So is David Beckham laid out in his Calvin Klein [underwear]. So are the Chippendales. Of course it does have some form of sex.
"But what my colleague was trying to explain was that it's not sex, 100%. It's not 'I'm going to go and get divorced.' It does not go on like that.
"Our environment lasts three minutes. Their clothes are on and off before you can blink. It's a lot more to do with personality. It's a lot more to do with the ambience of the club," he added.