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Annie Sprinkle

differently.

Just as Camille says, women’s sexuality can be exploited by men, but it can also be exploited, and certainly repressed, by the so-called `feminist’ movement. But mostly my contacts have been with really sex-positive feminists. Obviously I’m a little bit on the radical, more outrageous side, and I’m sure that to many of them I’m an embarrassment. Just like if I march in the gay pride parade topless, most other people in the parade would probably disapprove.

I’m doing this Tantra Congress tonight with some of the greatest Tantric teachers in the world and I know that many of them really don’t like a lot of my work because there’s not the same aesthetic. Sex is a lot like painting. There are people who use pastel watercolors and people who paint big, black squares – everyone has their own style of sexual expression. Some are very sexually spiritual and then there are the sexual-traditionalists. There are styles that are quite ugly but are somehow beautiful in their ugliness. It’s like being in a museum. I can usually get a good sense of a person’s sexual style on first meeting them.

My style is experimental. I see myself as avant-garde. I’m the one trying to make a painting without a canvas, or going way off the canvas. (laughter) Just as with artists who paint, there’s not a lot of understanding about the radical sexual artists, especially by the traditionalists. At this Tantric Congress, for example, there are poeple who’ve been initiated into the Tantric lineage with dogma and specific exercises.

David: You’ve been talking about the way they look at you, but how does this traditionalism seem from your perspective? Too serious, too stoic or not loose enough?

Annie: No. I totally accept it and I think it’s really beautiful and necessary. I admire it, but I feel that they can be really judgmental and prejudice. But they don’t like my style – and that’s okay.

Rebecca: I found your live performance to be a very powerful experience. What kinds of responses have you gotten from your audience – positive or negative?

Annie: Mostly I’ve received positive responses because at the end of the performance that I’ve been doing for the past three years (which is called Post-Post-Porn-Modernist) is a ritual, and if people are uncomfortable they usually leave right away. So it’s the people who really like it come up at the end.

Once I did the ritual where I masturbate with the vibrator and there’s this one woman who yells out, “Stop that fake shit!” She was really angry. I was just going at it and I was having really good orgasms! (laughter) People sometimes expect to come to my show and be turned on and I’ve had people say, “well, I really enjoyed your show, but it wasn’t erotic.” And it’s not meant to be erotic.

David: What are you trying to get across in your shows?

Annie: What it looks like to not have any shame or guilt about your sexuality and your body. I’m trying to let people get to know a little bit about a sex-worker and maybe try to help them get over some prejudices about women who are promiscuous and women in the sex business.

In the first part of the show I’m trying to deconstruct, demystify sex. Take a look at it and show that it’s no big deal. And in the second half I try to make it sacred again.

David: You’re trying dissolve some of the superficial mystery so that you can get to a deeper level of mystery?

Annie: Yeah. Like when I show my cervix to the audience. What’s inside? It’s a big mystery. So let’s shine a flashlight on it and take a casual look. But you can never demystify a cervix, because it’s fathomless.

David: What in your opinion is the key to really good sex?

Annie: Learning about breathing is the key for one person and getting down on your hands and knees and worshipping at somebody’s feet can be a really great key for another person. For me, getting over any kind of guilt and shame is the primary thing, which I more or less did about ten years ago.

The next thing for me is time. Really good sex takes hours and hours. I can’t really go into that depth and intensity and adventure in altered states without time. I really love group energy. I don’t like casual orgies, but I like structured group-sex rituals very much. Good sex has to do with going beyond me, beyond my body, beyond my mind.

For really good sex I don’t have to be with someone who I have an erotic connection with because ultimately I feel I’m the source of my own sexual pleasure. But if I am with someone who really sparks my energy, my sexuality or my love or my cosmic consciousness that can be a powerful key. Also, I can’t have good sex unless I shave my legs.(laughter)

David: If you were to sum up the basic message of your life’s work, what would it be?

Annie: Let there be pleasure on earth and let it begin with me.

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