by James Crotty - Michael Lane
August 15, 1995
POST PORN MODERNIST
Hamptons, Long Island,
he last time we saw Annie, she was performing Herstory of Porn at
Highways in Santa Monica, during which she relived her journey through
the porn industry. Before that it was at the kitchen while performing the
legendary Post-Porn Modernist where she peed and masturbated on
stage and invited audience members to view her cervix through a
speculum. It was in 1993 the legendary porn star turned performance
artist closed up her cervix (at least to the public), packed up and moved
lock, stock, and dildo out of the city first to the Hamptons and then to a
houseboat in Sausalito. Following a tragic fire in which she lost everything,
including her beloved cat, she's been spotted as far north as Seattle and
as far west as Hawaii.
"I'm finished," she says of her cervix-showing days. "I've shown my cervix
to enough people. I'll never show my cervix anymore. You missed it."
She's changed in other ways, too: she doesn't use sex toys as much
anymore (she's still got them and is even designing her own dildo, she just
doesn't use them); she's gone au naturale (which isn't to say she's into
nature, although she's that too, but that she has grown her pubic hair; "I
just wondered how I look naturally"). The new Annie Sprinkle is "more
spiritual", "more private, more serious, more quiet, more monogamous,
more lesbian, more political. I'm into exercise. Healthier maybe. I eat better"
(she's on the Jenny Craig diet).
Not that she's given up sex or orgasms. She had one for us, albeit a
somewhat earthier orgasm than we had expected. It was a tantric
energy orgasm, performed picnic style on a blanket on the lawn. "I've had
better," she said, upon finishing. "I've had worse."
Annie Sprinkle: I look back on some of those rituals and I'm like
embarrassed and humiliated and I must have looked so stupid. And I
knew--I mean, there were a lot of times where I didn't know what the
hell I was doing and why I was doing it, but I was just like kept being
drawn to do this thing that I had kind of made up, and it just felt like
something important that I had to do. Now I kind of guide women's
sexuality, sex magic rituals, and because of the ritual I did on stage for
several years, I've learned how to incorporate whatever comes up into a
kind of sexual structure. Because there were times where I didn't feel like
doing it, there were times where I was really exhausted, and there were
times where I didn't really want to do it, I didn't have the energy. But all
kinds of things would happen. I would always have to do it because it
was my job--you know, I was booked to do this show. So I always, I had
to do this ritual. And I had this structure, and I would do it, and within that
just amazing things would happen. It was like creating like this little circle
in which to experiment with life.
Jim Monk: Do you still do the Post-Porn Modernist?
Annie Sprinkle: No.
Jim Monk: You don't do that anymore.
Annie Sprinkle: No, I don't. I haven't done that performance in a few
Jim Monk: By the end of its run, what did it--what was it about? Did it still
have the public cervix announcement and all that?
Annie Sprinkle: It had evolved. Yeah, it still had the public cervix
announcement, but I grew and matured and, you know, I was just going
so much more towards women, and a lot of that show is about my
experience with men. So that was a big change. Because when I started
doing that performance I was pretty much heterosexual. and when I
ended doing that performance I was a staunch lesbian. Now, I have a
much different focus and different interests and things have changed.
And, so, things I liked years ago now I couldn't stand now.
Jim Monk: For example?
Annie Sprinkle: Blow jobs.
Jim Monk: Is that just because you prefer women?
Annie Sprinkle: No, I'm kidding. No, let's say, whipping. No, let's say,
humiliating someone. Humiliating someone. You know, I used to like be a
professional dominatrix, and a guy would come and pay me, and I'd say,
"Kiss my feet," you know, "you asshole," and slap his face and call him a
piece of shit, and of course, I would get turned on, he would get turned
on, and this was all like, "Isn't this fun, aren't we learning, aren't we healing
ourselves here," you know. Well, so I did all this kinky stuff and I always
said, "Yes, it's a very healing thing." And in a way, maybe it--either it
worked, it's like, oh, yeah, okay, it's worked and I don't need it anymore, or
maybe I made a mistake. This is what I'm questioning. Maybe that isn't
such a healing thing, and maybe that's perpetuating deep neuroses of
being in a society that's sex negative and sexually abusive and, you know,
patriarchal--all those things. So a lot of our sexuality is perpetuating a lot
of neuroses, and it's just socially acceptable.
You know, I used to do all these things, you know, that I thought were
really intimate. I thought I was really being intimate because I was, you
know, piercing someone or because I was licking their anus, you know.
That's all very nice and wonderful or whatever, but that's not really as
deep and intimate as, sometimes, as a real--as eye-gazing, for example.
Jim Monk: You also talked to me recently about--that one of the other
views that you've had change is your view of, you know, monogamy in
relationships. Can you explain a little bit? I mean, you've had definitely
different views on monogamy in the past and--
Annie Sprinkle: Yeah, I've never personally been against monogamy. I just
didn't quite understand why--what it was so good for, you know.
Because I, as a person who was researching and exploring sex in a very
intense way, it was really important to be with hundreds of different
kinds of people and like learn. And I had to be with lots of people, but I
think while--as Andrew Raymer, a friend of mine, says, "Monogamy is
really a doorway into intimacy."
Michael Monk: You said earlier today you've come into a very serious
time, that you feel much more serious about life. Can you tell me what's
Annie Sprinkle: You know, for a long time I was very, I think, naive. I was
the fool child of the cards you picked. I was, you know, very into playing. I
didn't want to know about the problems of the world, and I just wanted
to have fun and have a good time, and I did. I had a lot of fun. And then,
at a certain point, it's like I woke up and I realized--this world can be a
very dangerous place, and there are some very serious matters that we
need to work on. There are some things that are really upsetting to me
going on in the world, and I just can't ignore them anymore.
Michael Monk: Earlier today you said that we all carry wounds, and I
wondered what your wounds are.
Annie Sprinkle: There were all the--you know, as a prostitute, all
the--you know, there were good days, and there were bad days. It took
me quite a while to get the nasty, painful sexual experiences out of my
system. The people that were too rough and the people who were
clumsy or the people who wanted to rip you off or the people that didn't
respect you. It took me a long time to get that out of my system, and I
did, for the most part.
Michael Monk: What is your advice to someone who feels deeply
abused? How would you suggest that they move on with their life?
Annie Sprinkle: Performance art is a great one. Definitely therapy. But
you know, some people--I've met people who've done therapy for twenty
years about being a sexually abused child and then come to one
workshop, one erotic-massage, pussy-massage workshop and heal some
kind of rape or abuse like that. [It] can happen much quicker because
you go into the spot where the abuse occurred, so it's not this heady
thing. You're actually in the pussy, with the hand, and you're touching that
spot that was abused.
Jim Monk: How are you bringing politics into what you do? I mean, how
are you going about trying to change those situations--for example, how
women are treated? Are you being very political in a way now in what
Annie Sprinkle: I feel like the erotic massage rituals are [a] very political
act because they're so empowering of women, and personally, I think my
politics has to do with teaching women about their sexuality and helping
and creating environments where women have space to heal their
sexuality and to use the power of their sexuality to heal themselves, to
grow, to become more enlightened, all those things. So it's more like the
personal is political. It's like creating environments and spaces where
women can really--like training soldiers, so to speak, and training the
troops, you know, helping to train the troops and creating like boot
camps for these women--warriors, you know, that are strong and
glowing and full of energy and--a sexually satisfied woman is a happy
woman. That's political.
Jim Monk: If you were to like list a pantheon or museum, not museum, but
a list of your greatest lovers--I want to know your like three greatest
lovers. And I want to know--just start with that question.
Annie Sprinkle: Jim Crotty. I was just going to say, Jim Crotty's up there.
Michael Lane. I feel like, you know, we're all lovers. Everybody's, you
know, in a way, in a sexual dance with each other, you know. That's why
I--the word "masturbation," I just don't get it, because I never feel alone.
Jim Monk: Just examples of people you've learned a lot from, where you
really gained something very special from.
Annie Sprinkle: Well, one would be Dieter Jarzombek, the Sufi master in
Germany. When he did the Sufi dance, I experienced the biggest heart
orgasm in my life. My heart opened up. And I don't know how he did it or
what he did. It was just like the most beautiful--now, we never had sex
sex, you know, but to me it was, you know, it was a making-love type
thing. I mean, there were thirty people in the room, and he did a Sufi
dance while we all sat in a circle. And he spun in this big white dress, and
something where he opened his heart. It's kind of like the fire breath
orgasm kind of--a technique, but it's heart centered. Like the fire breath
orgasm is a more sex chakra. This was heart chakra and it was like,
Jim Monk: Have you done, do you think, everything that can be done
practically in terms of fetishes or whatever, in the realm of sexual
experience? Like in the Hellfire days, did you practically do anything that
could be done?
Annie Sprinkle: Well, I think I participated in a lot of things. I never was
able to be an incredible masochist and really surrender to pain.... I know
I've done some things that at the time seemed perfectly fine and
wholesome and great. Like, you know, my lover Les, he used to like [it]
when I punched him in the stomach and stuff. And I'm looking back and
I'm thinking, that's what he wanted, that's what he liked, that's what
turned him on. And I'm thinking back, now wait a minute, this is someone I
really loved and cared about. Just because he was an abused child and
his father and mother used to beat on him doesn't mean that I should,
you know, give him what he wants. Because it's not really what he really,
really, really wants. What he really wants is what we all really want, is
really to be loved. And I thought to give him what he wanted was to love
him. And I was wrong. To love him would be, say, to really try to show
him a new way.
Jim Monk: So your new criteria would be if there's not love, it's not okay.
Annie Sprinkle: Well, I always--everything I did was with love, but I don't
think I looked deep enough into what, or thought seriously enough about
what I was doing.