Is a Lap Dance at a Strip Club Adultery? Grounds for Divorce?

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

This question was asked in the comments of one of the posts and I thought it merited its own page. So I am copying the question and answer here:

Q: From a Christian and Biblical standpoint, do you think a lap dance at a strip club is adultery? Grounds for divorce?

A: You have a bigger issue inherent in the question than “A” lap dance.

A lap dance given to a married man by someone other than his wife is adultery by Biblical definition. If a married man lusts in his heart after a woman who is not his wife he’s committed adultery – that’s what it says in the Bible.

But it doesn’t say that is grounds for divorce. If that were the case, no marriage would ever last because it’s also basic male biology.

Grounds for divorce has to be persistent, unrepentant (not with words, with action) violation of the marriage covenant – adultery/idolatry. For the Scriptural principles here you have to read the whole of the Word (see the other things I have written and read the articles at divorcehope.com for more thorough information).

Back to your lap dance. No, “A” lap dance is not grounds for a divorce. But I would have to wonder and want answers to what issues in his character landed him in a strip club in the first place. That is a serious issue. There’s no acceptable answer to that question.

Here’s why. I would say that in most situations, if a wife found out about “A” lap dance, and her husband says it was just “A” lap dance, it is almost certain her husband is lying and there’s more to the entire issue. A man does not just launch into sexual sin with “A” lap dance. Men work up to strip clubs from pornography. They don’t just walk into a strip club without ever having any background of illicit sexual desire.

A habitual and unrepentant lifestyle of seeking sexual gratification outside of his own marriage – even if it doesn’t include actual consummation of the sex act, be it through pornography, x-rated videos, strip clubs, etc., or if that consummation is with his wife but the arousal is with “someone else” – could indeed constitute grounds for divorce. But a single incident for which he repents, is not. There is also a stated process for addressing a grievance against a brother, which includes a wayward spouse, in Matthew 18. So this article is not a get-out-of-marriage-free pass. Follow the process and do things right.

And if a wife is participating in this behavior of her husband, she probably needs some help understanding she is a) participating in sin, and b) being taken advantage of in his sin. It’s not acceptable behavior just because it’s not actually bringing “real” third/fourth parties into your bedroom. It’s still adultery because it’s very real in his head. And if it is also real in her head (which it very likely is, since it is virtually impossible not to be affected), she is also committing adultery, whether willingly or by being defrauded.

9 Responses

  1. What if the lap dance included touching? In this case, my husband was fondling her breasts during the lap dance.

    • The same is true. It is adultery (intention of the heart). But whether “a” lapdance is grounds for divorce is another question which requires much more analysis. Remember, as I said in the article – this “A” lapdance didn’t happen in isolation. What else has happened before this? What is the whole picture?

      At the very least, I would suggest you see a counselor. Marriage counseling is in order if your husband has any intention of staying in relationship with you because he has violated your marriage covenant. Divorce is still not on the table. There is a process that needs to happen – you’re quite a ways from that conversation still.

      But, yes, you have a serious issue here, and don’t let anyone tell you it is not serious.

      — Danni

  2. My best friend was faced with this about two years ago, and even her husband considered it to be adultery the moment it was discovered. This couple had already been in counseling for several years, and it was just another manifestation of their already ongoing problems. Their marriage still bears the after effects of these deep wounds. It so damaged my friend’s trust in her husband, someone who is also my friend. It breaks my heart.

    In fact, just last night, during a discussion about the problems of imprecatory prayer when it is directed at individuals, calling not for mercy but for cruel judgement, my friend asked me if she thought it was evil that she prayed that the business fall apart or that the place be destroyed (not the people employed there, BTW)!

    • This is one of the reasons I love that God put the book of Psalms in the Bible! David is so real and raw. If you look past the poetic language to what he is actually saying it gets pretty rough around the edges. And then he always brings it back around to truth and to what God wants.

      I love the Psalms. They show me that I, too, can be real, honest, and utterly vulnerable with God. I can scream, stomp, get mad and ugly. And bring my heart back to Him. I can say all that stuff — it’s in my heart and He knows it anyway! If I think I’m hiding it from Him the only one I’m fooling is myself! So being honest is truthful. And He understands my frame and remembers I’m just a weak human. And He loves me anyway – with no condemnation for it.

      I can lay it all out there, be honest, and then put it in His hands to deal with because He’s much better with all of it anyway. He has the big picture and, really, at the end of the day, I do want what He knows is best. But I’m sure glad He lets me vent!

      — Danni

  3. I had been married for alittle over a year when I found out that my husband was going to strip clubs and getting lap dances throughout our relationship (7 years) and marriage. I found out by finding a receipt and then checking bank statements. He was in denial and blamed me at first. He is seeking counseling and says he wants to change but I just don’t trust him. I am so hurt! I honestly do not know what to do. Can I ever trust him again? I’m thinking of divorce.

    • Your hurt is justified!

      However, I’d strongly recommend you don’t jump straight for divorce. God can do amazing things when given the chance.

      But you can’t do it on your own. You really need help because your marriage is badly wounded and you are wounded. You need to get some professional help and outside accountability that can hold his feet in the fire and help you with your pain.

      Hang in there!

      — Danni

  4. My issue is that my husband has been abusive in the past. He never hit me, but he has pushed me into the wall, over the bed, into the door. He has repeatedly yelled at me in front of friends and family. I was a social butterfly until all the problems started. We have been to counseling and we are currently in counseling. For the past month he has frequented strip clubs and participated in lap dances. He has been repentant but it is alarming that he has been to the clubs 3 times in the span of 3 weeks. Then he told me that he smokes when he is out there. He has left me alone at night. I called him 33 times one night and he never answered. He came home at 7 in the morning with the worst excuses. He was never a liar in the past, I know he has a problem with drinking now. The doctor said he is clinically depressed and he gets mad at me when I bring up separation, I feel helpless because I feel like I married a Christian man, but now I have a partier on my hands. We have been married almost 3 years and we have no children. It’s been crazy. I cannot bring children into this marriage in shambles. I want to leave.

  5. Candice

    I’m not a professional, but I’ve lived much of what you’ve discribed. In my case, it never got better just worse, and 3 children later we divorced. Now I’m tied to him by the children. He will never be out of my life.

    Drinking, smoking, going out all night and girly clubs are not good signs. Depressed or not he should still be held accountable for his actions. I’m not suggesting you rush out and file for divorce. A little distance may be in order however and if you need that time and space it doesn’t matter who gets mad.

    The bottom line is you shouldn’t stay in a marriage to make someone else happy. (hubby or doctor). Ask yourself the following questions.

    1. Am I safe emotionally, mentally and physically living in the same home with this man?
    2. is my marriage worth fighting for?
    3. Will he be put forth the effort to change his distructive behavior?

    In my opinion, if the answer is no to any of these questions then I would seriously consider taking action.

  6. good topic. thanks for sharing info

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