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Annie Sprinkle

 (laughter)

Rebecca: You haven’t been affected by the fundamentalist backlash?

Annie: There is this backlash, but for example, because of Jesse Helms, there’s more sexually explicit art being made than ever. Look at Madonna. She wouldn’t have made that book unless there was this backlash happening. Backlash makes things interesting – I’m all for it.

David: What are some of the positive aspects of the phenomena of AIDS; you’ve talked about more people being openly gay, what are some other things?

Annie: You get free condoms. (laughter) I think there are a lot more family values. I think there is more love and caring and intimacy. People are expanding their concept of what sex is and that’s really my job now. I think this is crucial to get through this AIDS crisis and still enjoy our sexuality.

Rebecca: What other aspects of sexual awareness do you teach?

Annie: Mostly I teach that sex is more about energy – getting over guilt and shame and learning to focus more on energy and intimacy rather than on body parts. Then, how to keep that energy moving without getting frustrated.

Rebecca: You’ve said that just thinking about sex can strengthen your immune system. Have you had experience of this yourself?

Annie: Oh, totally. I’m completely into using sex as a healing tool. In scientific tests it was proven that just thinking about sex creates disease-fighting neuro-peptides.

Rebecca: How do you experience the healing powers of sex? There’s a great story in the Research interview about how you saved someone’s life who was having an asthma attack by giving him a blow-job.

Annie: It was something I knew about subconsciously, from the very beginning. Certainly in my early days of prostitution I know I was healing people in a big way. I use it in all kinds of ways. For example, when I had gum surgery a couple of years ago, the pain killers weren’t working and my gums were throbbing. I felt like shit and I looked like shit; sex was the last thing I cared about in the world. And I had this transsexual lover who would go down under the sheets and give me clitoral orgasms and it would totally help. It would take the pain away and make me smile. It worked better than any pain killers.

David: Right after an orgasm the production of endorphins are increased in the body – it’s like a heroin rush.

Annie: I was in Tijuanna teaching a workshop. This woman came to me who had a pounding headache, she had a horrible migraine. I got the vibrator and I sat her in a room. She put the vibrator on her clit and relaxed and breathed the sexual energy up to her head. She had this orgasm and let it shoot out the top of her head and it cleared the headache out. So this woman came to take a workshop on sex and she learned how to cure her migraine! I gave her the vibrator as a present. (laughter)

Rebecca: Do you think this is the same kind of healing that occurs with practices such as T’ai Chi and Xi Gung?

Annie: Yeah, but it has to be conscious. People are totally unconscious about sex.

David: Well, most people are unconscious about everything. (laughter)

Annie: It’s like drawing a picture. Anyone can draw a picture, but you can get trained and skilled and know that if you draw this way, the picture will appear like this.

Rebecca: Do you discriminate between Chi, Kundalini, Prana – or do you regard them as simply aspects of sexual energy?

Annie: Well, I like using all the different names. (laughter) I think there are subtle differences, but I’m not too sure about how to define them. The Taoists would have orgasms in their womb or their heart. Wherever they needed healing they could actually have an orgasm there. When I had that five minute orgasm, it was six months of therapy right there.

So now I’m really interested in this subject and I’m always aware of it. It’s a total attitude adjustment. I was in New York for one day and I was really frazzled. I had this really beautiful lover but I was really tired and not in the mood. We ended up having sex anyway, and after getting through ten minutes of feeling tired and icky, I was healed. That’sreal healing, but sex has such a bad rap, people can’t believe it.

David: What are your feelings and thoughts about why there’s such a connection between sex and death, in music and art?

Annie: I think it has to do with surrendering and letting go – losing control. I think of death in a positive way, because to me death is almost like another sexual thrill. I’m actually looking forward to it. Another part of it is because sex is about the body and death is about the body, it’s not something you can control. We’re supposed to be sophisticated, intellectual, in control people, and sex is about losing control, it’s about surrender, it’s about dying in a way so….I’m all for it. (laughter)

Rebecca: You were a self professed `sacred prostitute’ for twenty-one years. Many people would have a problem digesting those two words used together. How did you see your profession differing from the usual prostitute stereotype?

Annie: I think in some ways all prostitutes are sacred, but for me, being a sacred prostitute meant that I was aware of the healing aspects of sex. I had a lot of respect for myself, my work and my clients. I felt I was a teacher and a mother and a lover and a healer.

Rebecca: We’re you initially naive about these possibilities?

Annie: Sure. But from the very beginning I knew about it. The term `sacred prostitute’ is now being incorporated into the world of prostitution in a big way which is wonderful. The new generation of prostitutes is using this idea and really taking the ball and going with it. We’re starting to see these really beautiful, sacred spaces being created by prostitutes doing healing sex work.

David: That was one of the original orientations of prostitution in the Far East. The sacred art of erotic pleasure.

Annie: Right. Well one thing I can see clearly is that not everyone can be a prostitute. You do need a special talent. There is a certain quality of female sexuality. I’m separating out from crack-addicted prostitutes who aren’t interested in sex.

Rebecca: Do you find you’re meeting women who got into prostitution because of sexual guilt or just for the money or whatever and were hating it, who are getting inspired by your message and turning it into something positive.

Annie: Well, after they meet me, a lot of women who were thinking about getting involved in the sex business end up getting into it. And they feel really good about it. I’m all for someone getting out of it if they don’t like it. So you do need this special talent, to open up this private part to the public. This takes a certain amount of generosity and love and trust.

David: Wouldn’t it also take a certain amount of dissociation and detachment?

Annie: That’s the way most people look at it. But I’m saying that it’s not that way at all. Sometimes, out of desperation for money, it can be different.

Rebecca: Many would be cynical upon a hearing a prostitute saying, “I love what I do,” and think, “there’s no way, she must be covering something up.”

Annie: It’s definitely a hell of a hard, fucking job. You need enormous amounts of patience, enormous amounts of compassion. You have to put up with a lot of shit. It’s like being in a war – you’re in a war zone. You’re in a society which is misogynistic and full of sexual guilt, and you take that shit on. You have to be really strong, and if you’re not – yes, you are miserable. It can get to you. I compare it a lot to being a nurse. You see a lot of sad, horrible things. You deal with people who have no respect for you and who are treating you like shit.

For me, about one in four was pretty lousy, one in a hundred sucked and maybe five in a thousand were a nightmare. But hundreds were wonderful, mutually beneficial experiences. I really liked the immediate intimacy; I liked the sex. Even the lousy sex I liked a lot – it was intriguing to me. I was lucky, I don’t claim that all prostitutes are like me at all. Most of them absolutely hate it, and I think that they love that they hate it. I think everyone creates what they want in some way.

David: What’s the relationship that you see between spirituality and sexuality and how would you describe your spiritual belief system?

Annie: When my lover got AIDS we started exploring the spiritual side of sex. We started doing meditation, affirmations, hands on healing – all of these tools we started incorporating into our sexuality. Basically, when I’m in a state of sexual ecstasy I feel the most spiritual, I feel the most oneness, I feel the most high, I feel the most in touch with who I

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