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firepoleI’d been pole dancing at S Factor for six months for fun, fitness and to feel sexy. My favorite part of class was dancing to a song that I chose while being witnessed by classmates. After months of choreography, we’d recently been set free to improvise our entire dance. I adored this even more.

One day in February as I sat at my desk in my home office, prepping for teaching my Public Health class, music playing in the background captivated me. The song pulled me up out of my chair; my hips couldn’t resist the galloping beat. They circled right, then left. My feet strutted through my home office, around the corner, through the dining room and stopped to do hip circles in my dance spot in the living room. When the song ended I skipped back to my desk, hit replay and continued swirling my hips.

“Ooh La La” by Goldfrapp (was a gift from the Universe or at least Apple as a free iTunes download). Goldfrapp set hips in motion in dance clubs throughout Europe the prior summer. They hadn’t hit big in the US yet. But Apple knew.

A few weeks later I chose the song when Ana, my teacher, asked us to dance in a sensual piece of clothing. I was drawn to silk and had already danced in a little red silk chemise I’d bought for class to Madonna’s “Erotica.” My hands loved the slippery, cool texture of the silk. And my body loved the smooth feel of the silk and my own healing touch through it.

I chose “Ooh La La” for dancing in the chemise again because Alison Goldfrapp’s voice felt like silk skimming across my skin.

When it was my turn to dance in class I leaned against the wall with my hands on the silk at my sides. The beat lifted my hips off the wall as Alison’s voice slipped around me like a kimono.

“Dial up my number now.”

That’s just what this song did. I swiveled my hips to the pulsating beat along the back wall. The rest of my body joined in. I took up space. My shoulders pushed off the wall. I stepped into the center of the room.

I didn’t usually hear most of the lyrics; perhaps a line or two would register. But I heard more from this song.

“I need la la la la la la. I need ooh la la la la,” Alison sang.

I spun around the middle pole, linking tricks—flying from “swing walk” into “firefly” into a twirl then a “pole bend.”

“Switch me on. Turn me up.” I strutted to another pole.

The song propelled me around this pole into a “half-pint” all the way down to the floor. I crawled back to the wall.

“I need ooh la la la la. You won’t walk for days.”

I luxuriated in hip movements on my knees at the wall while peeking at the person in the chair in the corner; she was there, anticipating the lap dance I could choose to give her (or not). I stood up and slid along the wall toward the chair.

“I’ll never walk again, no! I need la la la la la la. I need ooh la la la la.”

I grinned at my classmate in the chair. I owned this song.

The music faded out of the room before I reached the chair sitter. But it didn’t matter. Oh. My. God. My breathing was deep and heavy. My chest moved in and out as I tried to catch my breath. How could moving so slowly be so aerobic?

Cheers reverberated behind me. Positive comments from Ana, my teacher, fluttered by. I heard them, but they didn’t make it into my memory. Instead, my mind soaked in the kinesthetic experience of the dance, the silky sensations and the movements. It had been months since I’d felt that magical connection between the music and my body, that oneness, that in-the-zoneness. Only this was on an entirely a new level. I was on the kind of high I suspected was possible, but wasn’t sure I’d ever experience. It was similar to the primal fire I felt after taking an introductory class nine months earlier while watching the teachers demonstrate at the end. This was so much better; I didn’t receive it from watching others, but from dancing it myself.

I’d turned myself on from the inside out. Ooh La La! Thank you Goldfrapp.

I rushed home after class because my husband, Brian, and I had our monthly massages that afternoon. I chatted through my massage with my therapist. I felt like my skin was glowing. Like it had absorbed Alison Goldfrapp’s voice and the beat, and was slowly releasing the vibrations from within me.  It wasn’t a restless high like when you can’t fall asleep from excitement because your lover is coming home the next day after a long absence. It was a grounded, vibrant energy. Despite our chatting, I breathed deeply and gained the benefits of relaxed muscles from my massage.

I still felt on fire after our massages. Most months I felt relaxed and out of it, like silly putty that has been used all afternoon and is ready for the kids to put it back in its egg for a nap. But I still buzzed with excitement about my dance. As we arrived home, this unexpected idea popped into my head:  Dance for Brian. Before I had time to talk myself out of it (and so I wouldn’t chicken out later), as we walked into our living room, I whispered to Brian, “I want to dance for you after dinner, ok?”

“Sure, yeah!” he nodded, dropping his keys and wallet onto the coffee table.  “What do I have to do?” I’d already told him about my dance during our hot tub soak before the massages, so he knew I’d had a spectacular class.

“Just sit in the red chair. And keep your hands to yourself.” I pointed to the chair in the front corner across the room.

“But isn’t that why I got married? ” He looked at me with wide, shocked eyes, as if I took him to the Aloha Stadium Flea Market on Oahu but told him he couldn’t buy any Hawaiian shirts.

“Just until I’m done dancing.” I grinned and glanced over my shoulder as I sauntered through the dining room and back to our bedroom where I changed then showered off the oil and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.

After a quick, light dinner, where we joked and flirted, he offered to clean off the table while I readied the living room and myself.

I retrieved my iPod from my dance bag, which was in my office and cued up two songs at the stereo in the living room. The one from class, “Ooh La La” by Goldfrapp, and one I didn’t have the courage to use in class, but hoped would blow his mind—“Where Life Begins” by Madonna.

I turned on one soft light, our hula girl lamp. I slid our coffee table into the dining room to create dance space. Then I went to change into my red silk chemise and threw on my black satin robe to give me something else to play with and strip off. I did a slow, sexy “S walk” to give me courage from our bedroom into the office, which I used as my backstage, where I said, “Hit play on the iPod whenever you’re ready, honey.”

When I felt the familiar beat I sashayed the few steps to the doorway of the living room, pausing when I knew he could see me. He cheered and whistled. As I stepped into the living room and felt Brian’s gaze intently on me, I became nervous.

I was hyper-aware of being watched.

I sat on the arm of our couch, across the room from him. I lay back onto the cushions while slowly “prancing” my legs in the air. I tilted my head to peek at him because he’d grown quiet. I felt awkward and exposed though he seemed mesmerized.

I remembered to breathe. Then noticed how smooth my calves felt as I rubbed them together. This reconnected me with the sexy vibrancy I’d felt all day.

I slipped off the couch to the floor and moved in ways that felt luscious and familiar. But I didn’t get out of my head like I had in class. I was too aware of his eyes on me. He’d never seen me move like this, so overtly sensual. My butt was on full view, hips circling, chest pressed to the floor. Then I sat up and arched back savoring a full body stretch while caressing myself from cheek to chest to hip. I wondered, “What effect is this having on him?”

I wanted to see.

I slithered out of my robe as I crawled to one beam separating the living room from the dining room. I stood up, hip first then turned to gaze at him. I leaned my shoulders against the beam, tracing my hips in a languid semi-circle. He couldn’t take his eyes off me. Brian was speechless.

The silence was eerie and incredible. He was Irish and possessed the gift of Blarney, which had been heightened after we’d visited Ireland and he’d kissed the Blarney Stone on a trip we’d taken to celebrate our fifth anniversary. I’d expected whistling and hooting like in class, but it was even more empowering for him to be silent and transfixed.

Eventually, I slid to the floor and crawled slowly toward Brian in the chair. As I tried to slip my knee between his, I discovered there wasn’t enough room. Our chair was smaller than the one in class. I used the arm of the chair instead, but it felt odd. I sat sideways in his lap, admired and caressed my smooth leg while lifting it up in the air. I lowered my leg and nuzzled his neck, then slid to the floor onto my knees. While circling my hips I slowly stripped out of my chemise.

I gazed into his eyes, it felt so intense and intimate, the dial had been turned from ten to one hundred. I liked it, but it was scary too. I felt so vulnerable. I understood why Sheila Kelley, founder of S Factor, only danced for her husband a few times a year.

Without a pole or a wall to retreat to I wasn’t sure what to do, especially to two songs. After a bit more dancing, I crawled into his lap and kissed him, signaling the end of the dance and the “don’t touch” rule, before the music ended.

Later, when I asked him what his favorite part was he said, “I don’t know, everything, you rolling around on the floor.”

The following Friday, the San Francisco studio held an open house, which Sheila Kelley attended, where men were invited into the space to view instructor demos. Brian came with me and experienced the same high I had after my first demo. He was also wowed by Ana’s kick-ass strength when she did a “jack knife” (aka shoulder mount) pole trick. She did this trick by pressing her trapezius muscle against the pole, gripping it above her head, flipping her body up and over so her feet gripped the pole above her head.

First thing Sunday morning (after coffee), we finally installed the pole I’d received for Christmas in the living room. It took us less than an hour.


“Ooh La La:  Dancing for Brian” is excerpted from How Pole Dancing Changed My Life by Lisa Faulkner.

Lisa Faulkner (also known as the Pole Dancing Professor) is a public health expert who mentors women to quiet their busy minds and increase presence through dance, play, sensuality and nature connection. In How Pole Dancing Changed My Life Lisa discovers treasures buried in her hips when she takes up pole dancing to unleash her “erotic creature.” The pole terrifies her at first, for months she reminds herself, “it’s not about the pole; it’s not about the pole.” Eventually, she befriends it, finds her fire and the fun and transforms in unimagined ways. For more sexy inspiration go here: