A lap dance (or contact dance) is a type of erotic dance performance offered in some strip clubs in which the dancer typically has body contact with a seated patron. Lap dancing is different from table dancing, in which the dancer is close to a seated patron, but without body contact. With lap dancing, the dancer may be nude, topless or scantily dressed, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction and the club's policies. With full-contact lap dances, the stripper may engage in non-penetrative sexual contact with the patron, such as "grinding" or "twerking" his or her body against the patron. Variant terms include couch dance, which is a lap dance where the customer is seated on a couch. In some places, a "block session" of lap dances (usually a half an hour to an hour) can be booked in a "champagne room" or "VIP room", which is a private room usually located in the back of a club. In many clubs, the duration of a lap dance is measured by the length of the song being played by the club's DJ. Charges for lap dances vary significantly.
Depending on the local jurisdiction and community standards, lap dances can involve touching of the dancer by the patron, touching the patron by the dancer, neither, or both. In some clubs, any touching by the patron is forbidden. On the other hand, absent any oversight by the club, various levels of contact may be negotiable between the participants. Clubs vary widely with regard to whether they enforce their rules or turn a blind eye to any violations.
There is some debate as to whether lap dancing is entertainment or a type of sex work. Critics of lap dancing allege that some club owners, by installing dark private booths and charging dancers steep stage fees, are covertly condoning and encouraging the sale of sexual acts between customers and dancers. This can be a concern if, as for instance in the United Kingdom, the club has a public entertainment licence rather than a sex establishment licence, and in jurisdictions where brothels are illegal. According to the UK paper The Guardian, "Research shows that the majority of women become lap-dancers through poverty and lack of choice."