Monday, August 25, 2008

Meeting Ms Sprinkle

This Sunday some old friends I had met in the Stanford psychology department in the '60s were checking out Asilomar conference center in Pacific Grove in preparation for a conference on "sexual ontogony" to be held May 2009 under the auspices of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Before returning to Seattle my friends Rae Larson and Ann Manly planned to stop in Boulder Creek for the afternoon, presumably to visit their old friend Nick. But no, their main purpose was to reconnect with Annie Sprinkle, ex-porn star, sex video producer, now erotic performance artist who has a house in Boulder Creek. "Come with us to Annie's," they pleaded.

Wonderful time. Annie and her partner Beth Stephens, chair of the Art department at UCSD were making plans for a participatory marriage celebration in Croatia, but invited us all to join their preplanning luncheon and gave us a tour of their quaint redwood enclave. In addition to the delicious food and extraordinary company, Annie gifted me with her legendary Amazing World of Orgasm DVD, which surely qualifies as potent ammo for anyone planning to wage serious tantric jihad.

After sharing a meal with this remarkable being, I proceeded to google her and discovered that she is the author of a most informative essay on the relationship between sex and psychedelics, published in the MAPS newsletter. An excerpt from Annie's article:

"When I was fourteen (a full three years before I was to lose my virginity), I had my first psychedelic drug experience. I went to high school in Panama City, Panama in the '60s. My father, and most of my friends' fathers, worked with the American Embassy. We were good responsible teenagers, so on the weekends our parents let us go up the coast to Panama's beautiful tropical beaches and stay overnight in beach huts. Those spectacular beaches became the laboratories for our innocent drug experiments. All kinds of inebriants were available; opium, speed, Panama Red Cannabis, mescaline, cocaine, magic mushrooms, LSD, etc. One evening a friend, also fourteen years old, offered me a hit of blotter acid, to "expand my mind." There were no instructions, no warnings, and no rituals. I tripped my brains out all night long. Totally unprepared for lysergic acid diethylamide, my teenage fears became magnified a thousandfold; the beach crawled with snakes, people morphed into previously unknown life forms, my heart beat out of its chest, my eyes bulged out of my head, I did not surrender, but endured, and could not wait until it was over.

Rough as the night was, the next day I was a wiser person. I had experienced alternate realities, new dimensions, other ways of seeing and feeling. I discovered that life was not necessarily as it appeared. I learned that I had the power to radically change my consciousness, and hence the world around me. This was excellent information to have on my way to becoming an adult--a sexual adult. During subsequent beach weekends I took more LSD trips, usually with a sense of dread and imagined peer pressure, mixed with curiosity."

Read more here. Thank you, Annie Sprinkle, for making this world more sane and delicious.

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