Bright Lights Film Journal

Sex Kitchens All Over Town: An Interview with Annie Sprinkle

“In the future, everybody will be so sexually satisfied, there’ll be an end to violence, rape and war. We will establish contact with extra-terrestrials and they will be very sexy.” – Annie Sprinkle

Annie, is all sex good sex?

(laughs) The thing about sex is, it’s enormous, it’s so humongous, it’s not simple. And the answer with sex is always: it depends. But in terms of performance and media and art, I think any exploration of sex that way is intrinsically a good thing.

Some people blame the ills of the culture on the repression of sex. If people were really having sex and enjoying each other, we’d all be happier.

If people were more orgasmic, and knew how to build more sexual intensity and more energy. A lot of people have sex, but it doesn’t really mean much. They’re not utilizing their full potential.

How have you stayed so sex-positive in our sex-negative culture?

Well, from personal experience. My times of being erotic, sensual, sexual, and loving with a lover are the most blissful, beautiful, spiritual, healing moments I experience in my life. Plus when I got into prostitution, it wasn’t at all like it was in the movies. Prostitutes either get murdered violently or they get saved by a multimillionaire. You don’t see the happy hooker, the empowered woman doing great work.

Can you say something about your show, “The Night of the Sacred Prostitute?”

There’s a benefit for COYOTE the first night. That should be a pretty exciting event, because I’m going to do some different things, and lots of fabulous prostitutes will be there. Instead of this ritual I do at the end of my shows by myself, I’m going to use seven women – other “sacred prostitutes.” It’s the story of my own personal sexual evolution. Thursday night is women only and men dressed as women, which is probably energetically going to be the best show. By the way, people are invited to bring their cameras.

When you were first involved in the sex industry, did you ever think you’d break out into performance art and reach a wider audience?

I always knew I’d be some kind of artist. I thought I’d be an art teacher. In fact, I am an art teacher. When I went into porn, I thought, oh I’ll never be an art teacher. But I’m hired now as an artist because I went into porn. But I don’t make regular porn anymore. I make post-porn, post-porn modernism, and it’s all safe sex. And it’s all women. I’m making a documentary about orgasm.

Is your family as supportive as ever of your efforts?

Oh yeah. They realize it’s not a passing phase – 21 years. It’s not even a hobby anymore – a lifelong passion.

What do you mean by “sacred slutism”?

The secret of sacred slutism (laughs) is being consciously aware of our slutty side, our animal side, nurturing that side of us, the wildwoman, the inner whore in all of us.

The “inner whore” includes men and women, I assume?

Do you have any words for gay people who are going through a lot of shit these days, contending with right-wing assaults in addition to sex plagues?

Everyone has a different response, a different thing that they can do. Just keep it up, keep it up, keep it up! Be strong. Anger is a healthy thing for some people, and others need to be more compassionate.

Who are you associating with these days professionally? Any current influences?

My main guru is Linda Montano, who’s a performance artist. She’s been my teacher for seven years. But my two greatest influences right now are my two girlfriends. One is named Vision Dancer, from Mill Valley. She is very tantric, and very much a healer. She does erotic massage, and we teach together, and she’s very wonderful. On the East coast, I have my girlfriend Mary Dorman, who is a lawyer. She was the lawyer for the NEA Four, and she’s an amazon, a fighter, very much the lesbian feminist amazon. She’s great! Very inspiring. And I’m learning more about love and intimacy. I’ve been sexual with the two of them for eight months, and I plan to continue in that vein. I like being, at the moment, much more exclusive. Although that’s just physically sexual; I think you can be sexual moment to moment day by day with anyone and anything, and certainly in my performances I very much have a sexual experience with the audience.

You’ve gotten some criticism from the right wing. How do you respond?

I think they’re just really afraid, they’re scared, and they don’t understand a lot of things about their own sexuality and about other people’s sexuality. I felt rather compassionate toward them. As hard as I try, I don’t hate them.

In San Francisco, they’ve been talking more about the legalization of prostitution.

It’s absolutely ridiculous that prostitution is illegal. Not everyone’s cut out for it, it takes a special person to be a sex worker. You need a special skill and talent for it. There’s so many different kinds of prostitution. I’m interested in the new prostitution – for example, prostitutes for lesbians, or the kind of work I’m doing, which is really more for women. And the kind of new porn the On Our Backs women are making. There’s a lot of new stuff happening. The image of the sacred prostitute is coming back very strong.

Is that tied in with the New Age movement – goddess worship, etc.?

Yes, but that’s all very ancient. Among sex workers, they’re reinventing their own forms of prostitution, and a lot of it is created by lesbians.

What would be your ideal kind of society that we would live in? Do you see an ideal, or is it all just process?

Let me quote from a book I wrote:

I have a vision for the future where all the necessary sex education will be available for everyone; there will be no more need for abortion, no more sexually transmitted diseases. No one will ever go hungry for sex because there will be sex kitchens all over town serving sex instead of soup. Sex is a powerful healing tool which will be used regularly in hospitals and psychiatric clinics. We will learn how to use orgasm to prevent and cure disease as some of the ancient tantrics and Taoists did. Sex workers will be highly respected for the important work they do and desire will be decriminalized. Betty Dodson will be able to realize her dream of having orgasms across America on TV. She’ll raise enough money to end world hunger. Fetish lingerie and sex toys will be freely distributed to all people. People will be able to make love without touching if they choose. Men will be able to have multiple orgasms without ejaculating so they can maintain erections for as long as they want. Women will ejaculate. It will be possible to make love anywhere in public and not be impolite to watch. No one will care what gender people have sex with. In the future, everybody will be so sexually satisfied, there’ll be an end to violence, rape and war. We will establish contact with extra-terrestrials and they will be very sexy.