Boxers ‘N Briefs is a notorious all-nude male strip club located roughly half an hour outside St. Louis in southern Illinois, situated right there alongside the northern border of the Bible Belt. As H. Allen Scott writes in a fascinating article for Fusion, it’s flanked by towering megachurches and pro-gun signage, and proudly displays “Jesus Saves” messaging everywhere you look.
Based on its location alone, the establishment has a built-in importance for gay men that far outshines the allure of watching men shake their stuff in the nude (save for the tube socks where they stash their stray bills.)
“For more than 20 years,” he writes, “it’s served as a church of sorts for both dancers and patrons seeking positive affirmation of their queer identity.”
Scott says the “anything-goes sexual haven” held a particular appeal “if you weren’t skinny (me) or conventionally attractive (me.)”
As he explains, “In those early days, even as I began to embrace being gay, I didn’t have many opportunities to express the ‘sex’ part of my sexuality.”
The article finds the author revisiting the establishment sixteen years later with his cousin, chatting up the locals, the owner of the establishment, and strippers like 25-year-old Caleb, who tells Allen,”Boxers is a foster home for people who are broken, looking to find themselves, people that aren’t sure of who they are or what they want. It’s a safe haven for us. It’s a place for people who have been mistreated.”
The excellent article, which deserves to be read in its entirety, can be found HERE.