In mid-1980s New York, a resident in the apartment building of 90 Lexington Avenue knocked on the door of flat 11F and exclaimed “What are you doing in there? I know you’re having sex, but my god it sounds incredible! How do you do it?” Annie Sprinkle (sex positivity educator, porn star, sex worker, and above all prodigious sex artist) opened the door and told him about her apartment-cum-centre for sex activists, sex education, and filmmaking: the Sprinkle Salon, dubbed by the artist herself as the Andy Warhol Factory equivalent of sex art. “I was really into art and sexual politics”, explains Sprinkle, ”so the Sprinkle Salon was a reflection of my curiosity and creativity, just as the Factory was an extension of Warhol’s. There just weren’t other places at the time where you could go to learn about sex and be freely sexually expressive, so we started my space.”

From 1980-94, the Sprinkle Salon was a spiritual and physical extension of Sprinkle’s identity. Her radicalism was translated into fetish, tattoo, and body modification parties, while her pledge to sexual positivity emulated in female empowerment sex classes like Sluts and Goddesses (where she used sexual costuming as a tool for women to explore their inner slut and goddess), and her role as a leader in the sex industry was equally translated into sex worker rights groups like PONY (Prostitutes Of New York) and porn support groups like Club 90. Above all, the Sprinkle Salon was a central point for New York’s underground sexual rebellion and a place to push the revolution into the rights of fetishists, porn stars, and sex workers.

Below, Sprinkle takes us on a journey through the 14 year run of the Sprinkle Salon to give us life lessons on how to openly embrace and explore sex.

 

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Lessons from Annie Sprinkle the radical sex-positive educator of 1980s New York by Lexi Manatakis

Nov. 7th, 2018