Ecosexual is the new sexual

Breathing is sex. Life is sex. Death is sex.

Photo: Julian Cash

Annie Spinkle is sex.

She’s been a NYC prostitute and a porn star for 20 years. She is a founder of the Post Porn Modernism and the rapidly growing global Ecosexology movement. She is also the first porn star to earn a Phd (BFA at School of Visual Arts in NYC). Today Annie Sprinkle is a widely renowned sex educator and lecturer whose work is studied in many colleges and universities across the globe. For the past 13 years she has been collaborating on art projects with her partner, an artist and UCSC professor, Elizabeth/ Beth Stephens. “How exciting to pollinate Bulgaria!”, was Annie’s reply to my interview request and so we began.

And let’s be clear – Annie and Beth are not lesbians! The are ecosexual!

Hello Annie! First of all, huge thank you for agreeing to this interview, I know you are very busy at the moment. How and where are you now?
I’m on the road doing a 4 state tour, in three weeks. Next, I’m going to the Kinsey Institute in Indiana to teach a couple of classes, and do some events. Then we go to New York City, and we will do an Ecosex Walking Tour of Central Park. Here’s our calendar.

Please tells us a little bit about what is it that you are currently doing?

Annie and Beth during performance.
Annie and Beth during performance. Photo: Bettine Frenzel

I have two books due. One is about the work I’ve been doing with my partner and collaborator, Elizabeth Stephens, called Here Come the Ecosexuals. It’s about our art projects exploring ecosexuality.

You are basically a founder of the “ecosex movement“. Can you tell us a little bit about that – what and why is it? 
Basically, we are changing the metaphor from earth as a mother to earth as a lover. We are calling attention to the eroticism and sensual pleasures in nature. In order to create a more mutual and sustainable relationship with the Earth, we collaborate with nature. We treat the Earth with kindness, respect and affection. We are madly, passionately, and fiercely in love, and we are grateful for this relationship each and every day. We are ecosexual. 

You are performing with your long-time partner – Beth Stephens. How did you two get together? Probably that was not as easy 13 years ago as it would be now.
It was totally easy to get together. Why would it be hard? Being queer in California is as normal as breathing! We met through doing an art exhibit together. She’s an artist and a professor. It’s been a fantastic 13 years. We don’t identify as “lesbians” but “ecosexuals.” Which is a more expanded kind of sexuality.

You’ve been in the porn industry since 1973. How has the porn culture changed over these years?
I was in mainstream porn for many years but then started making my own porn. I called it “post porn.” Over the decades, there is a lot more porn, it’s legal (it wasn’t when I got in). Being legal is a big change of course. It went from film to video, then to digital. It’s now being studied in academia.

Nowadays porn is everywhere and children are being exposed to sexual imagery from a very young age. What are the dangers of this exposure for their future adult sexual persona and how are they preventable?
I don’t have children and don’t know much about children. Porn is made for adults.

Do you agree with the statement that porn presents an unrealistic notion of sex, distorts people’s perception of their bodies and abilities, and embeds unrealistic expectations towards their partners?
Porn is fantasy material. It’s made to turn people on, either alone or with a partner. Porn is a kind of mirror, and people see different things in it. Just like with any kind of media. You could say that fashion magazines make women feel insecure. But really, best not to blame, but work on ourselves.

Photo: Julian Cash

You are a sex educator – what is it that people don’t know or forget about sex?
There is a lot to learn about sexuality. It really depends on the person and what their issues are. People are entire erotic universes unto themselves. Everyone is different.

You have your own unique brand of feminist sex films. What is a feminist sex film and why did you decide to go for that?
The kind of films I make are called Post Porn Modernism, or Post Porn for short. I’m a feminist and I also like alternatives to mainstream heteronormative porn. The term Post Porn refers to sexually explicit media that is more arty, conceptual, experimental, political, and/or humorous than mainstream porn imagery. It often has a critical sensibility and while it usually contains some hard-core sex, it is not focused on being “erotic.” I coined the term in 1988  when I needed a title for my first one-woman theatre piece. Since then many artists and academics have adopted the term, such as the Spanish queer theorist Beatriz Preciado, the artist/theorist Tim Stüttgen, as well as numerous American and European artists, performance groups, and some pornographers.

Are gender stereotypes blurring out these days and how is that affecting sex preference and expression?
Yes. Absolutely. In San Francisco where I live, men are women, women are men, and there are people who don’t fit into male or female. Or who are fluid. Everyone is different. Different people like different things.

Photo: Julian Cash

What is the Number 1 factor for a good intercourse?
Having a good bottle of lube and using it generously. Make everything super wet and slippery.

If you have to generalise based on your experience, what are the main causes for sexual dysfunctions?
Lack of sex education.

Is bigger better? (penis-wise)
For some people it is, but for most people it’s not.

Is bigger worse? (vagine-wise)
Same answer.

Is longer better? (time-wise)
Again same answer. Different people like different things. Different people are built differently. It depends what kind of sex you are having. When I made porn, I wasn’t that into anal sex, so I liked a small penis actor. But when I had vaginal intercourse, I really loved a big penis. But a man with a small penis is great too, especially if he is good with his hands, or tongue or fisting.

How often is normal?
That totally depends on the person. And what they want and need, and how often.

How would you define a good lover?
Again a good lover to one person is a bad one to another. It really depends on the person.

How would you define sex?
Almost everything is sex. Sex is everywhere. I have a very wide experience of sex. Getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist can be sexy. Seeing someone’s ass walking down the street, smelling a flower… Breathing is sex. Life is sex. Death is sex.

eveOn a more personal note:

How many people have you slept with?
About 3500.
Do you climax every time you have intercourse?
How many orgasm have you had at most during one intercourse?
In my film The Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop I had a whole lot of different kinds of orgasms over a five minute long period. We got it on film. You can watch it.
How do you control your orgasm?
I have explored orgasm quite a lot. I don’t control orgasm. But I am into energy orgasms. Which are orgasms that are not genital.
Do you watch porn for personal pleasure?
No. Rarely. I prefer to make it.
What is the difference for you between porn making, porn watching and having sex with your partner?
These days I’m most interested in the eroticism of nature. Porn is really a thing of my past. I do performance art in beds of dirt where Beth and I have sex in the bed of dirt in public performance space. Theatres, and the art weddings we do. So I still do a lot of weird sex experiments, some are with explicit sex.

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