Annie Sprinkle: Post Porn Modernist
I have long admired Annie Sprinkle, the ex porn
star who now calls herself a "pleasure activist." Annie
has worked so hard to put forward a pro-sex viewpoint, and is always
giving the world far more than she takes from it.
Annie's personal journey has been monumental, and she has experienced
so much in her lifetime - prostitution, film stardom, grief, many
lovers, and an awakening of her lesbian sexuality. Through it all
she has kept an incredible sense of humour, a love of humanity,
and an ability to forgive that is astonishing.
In 1997 I went to see Annie Sprinkle's show Post
Porn Modernist in Sydney.
The show was surrounded by controversy when it first opened, as
several police had attended the first performance to identify if
it complied with Australian censorship laws. There was speculation
the government would try to shut it down. I'm so glad that intelligence
won through on that occasion.
I was 24 at the time, and the show was certainly an eye-opener.
It was shocking, and absolutely thrilling.
Annie's show took us on a roller coaster ride of emotions, from
fascination, to horror, to laughter. She told us how she first came
to work in porn, and how much fun she'd had doing it. She talked
of servicing her various clients, including a dwarf, a man with
burns, and a guy who paid her to dominate him while he lay under
his own bed for hours. I still remember the story of a man who enjoyed
a spot of anal fisting; how she'd go in up to her elbow and tickle
his heart. It's kind of hard to forget those things.
Annie story also contained heartbreak. The loss of lovers to AIDS,
and the stress of always being at someone's sexual service.
We saw a different version of Annie's Public Cervix Announcement.
Annie no longer inserted a speculum to show the audience her inner
bits. She said it was causing too many infections. Rather, we saw
photos. That was entertaining enough. And during the interval, she
invited audience members to have their photo taken with her boobs
on their head. Great fun.
The show's journey continued on into a spiritual awakening. We saw
new lesbian relationships. And then she masturbated for us. The
audience shook little rattles made of plastic cups and rice, while
Annie meditated and breathed herself into a state of ecstasy.
It was undeniably a weird thing to watch. Amazing, fascinating,
and kind of scary, it's hard to truly describe it. The orgasm was
real, spiritual, and heartfelt. Nothing at all like watching a porn
movie, that's for sure. I left afterwards, when she had withdrawn
into a closed meditation, because I felt I was intruding in her
afterglow. But I have never forgotten it.
Annie has created other shows since then, but hasn't returned to
Australia so I haven't had the chance to see any of her other work.
Hopefully she'll come back soon.
Some of Annie's Films (links go to Gamelink Adult
Inside Annie Sprinkle (also on DVD)
Sprinkle's Herstory of Porn
Sprinkle: Queen of Kink (video on demand)
Royalle's Rites of Passion (Annie has her own section on this
film for women)