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Annie Sprinkle

  • Birth Name: Ellen Steinberg
  • Aka:
  • Biography: Annie Sprinkle was born Ellen F. Steinberg on July 23, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a self-described "nice Jewish girl" whose parents were academics. She grew up in the greater Los Angeles area, and was a bashful girl well into her teens. Of her youth, Annie has said, "I was not a sexual child. I was very shy and inhibited. It wasn't until I lost my virginity at the age of 17 that I even became interested in sex." However, once she surrendered her maidenhead, sex became her lifelong concern, as for her, sex became a means of expression, then an art form, and then a venue for exploring spirituality, But first, it was a living. The 1960s and early '70s were times of rebellion, and rebel against her middle-class roots young Ellen did, becoming a prostitute. Her entr�e into adult entertainment came whilst employed as a cashier at a porn theater. Viewing the blue movie on the screen fueled her curiosity about what it must be like to be filmed while making love. Initially, she worked a variety of behind-the-camera jobs before making her debut as a hard-core actress in "Teenage Covergirl" (1973). While the re-christened Annie Sprinkle was never a superstar in adult entertainment, she enjoys the distinction of being one of the few actresses to be denounced by name from the floor of the U.S. Senate. Annie Sprinkle had used hard-core films as a springboard for a much richer, sex-positive career as an author, a lecturer/sex educator, and a performance artist. Ultimately, Sprinkle appeared in approximately 200 porn loops, shorts and feature films. Her niche was the fetish genre catering to paraphillias. In the early 1980s, Sprinkle -- a feminist -- began exerting more control over her projects in her evolution from porn performer into artist. Before setting out in the next phase of her creative life, Sprinkle wrote and directed her first hard-core feature, "Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle," which became the #2 top-grossing adult film of 1982. While the film was not much different from mainstream porn in terms of style, audiences responded to Sprinkle' s warm and playful persona. From a nice Jewish girl of her teens, she had evolved into the Jewish mother of porn. The openly bisexual Annie Sprinkle (she lives with her life-partner Elizabeth Stephens, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz) describes herself as a "Post-Porn Modernist" and promotes her own conception of a pansexual, spiritual female sexuality. The maturation of Dr. Sprinkle (she received a Ph.D. in human sexuality) as an artist and as a person led her to leave the porn industry to fulfill her artistic pursuits as a performance artist, filmmaker, and writer, creating art and cultural artifacts that promote healthy attitudes toward sexuality and women. Annie Sprinkle, the artist and sexual shaman, challenges the repressive trends that are omnipresent in American culture, which has brought her not only into conflict with the anti-sex, pro-censorship wing of the feminist movement )the likes of Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon) but, inevitably, the religious right. Jesse Helms, the famously reactionary senator who got his start delivering political commentary on a North Carolina TV station in the days of the Fariness in Broadcasting standard, denounced her live performance art piece in the Senate during the debate over the National Endowment for the Arts. Her performance piece, which had received federal funding, entails inviting audience members to view her cervix with a speculum and flashlight in order to "demystify the female body." Helms denounced her performance piece as pornography, which is besides the point. For Annie Sprinkle, non-misogynistic pornography can be a sex-positive vehicle for banning shame and ignorance while promoting pleasure and feminism. She remains committed to spreading the good news of her pro-sex message, as joyously as possible, that sex should be liberating, fun, free of shame and repression, and infused with creativity, love and spirituality.
    Annie Sprinkle was born Ellen F. Steinberg on July 23, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a self-described "nice Jewish girl" whose parents were academics. She grew up in the greater Los Angeles area, and was a bashful girl well into her teens. Of her youth, Annie has said, "I was not a sexual child. I was very shy and inhibited. It wasn't until I lost my virginity at the age of 17 that I even became interested in sex." However, once she surrendered her maidenhead, sex became her lifelong concern, as for her, sex became a means of expression, then an art form, and then a venue for exploring spirituality, But first, it was a living.

    The 1960s and early '70s were times of rebellion, and rebel against her middle-class roots young Ellen did, becoming a prostitute. Her entr�e into adult entertainment came whilst employed as a cashier at a porn theater. Viewing the blue movie on the screen fueled her curiosity about what it must be like to be filmed while making love. Initially, she worked a variety of behind-the-camera jobs before making her debut as a hard-core actress in "Teenage Covergirl" (1973). While the re-christened Annie Sprinkle was never a superstar in adult entertainment, she enjoys the distinction of being one of the few actresses to be denounced by name from the floor of the U.S. Senate. Annie Sprinkle had used hard-core films as a springboard for a much richer, sex-positive career as an author, a lecturer/sex educator, and a performance artist.

    Ultimately, Sprinkle appeared in approximately 200 porn loops, shorts and feature films. Her niche was the fetish genre catering to paraphillias. In the early 1980s, Sprinkle -- a feminist -- began exerting more control over her projects in her evolution from porn performer into artist. Before setting out in the next phase of her creative life, Sprinkle wrote and directed her first hard-core feature, "Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle," which became the #2 top-grossing adult film of 1982. While the film was not much different from mainstream porn in terms of style, audiences responded to Sprinkle' s warm and playful persona. From a nice Jewish girl of her teens, she had evolved into the Jewish mother of porn.

    The openly bisexual Annie Sprinkle (she lives with her life-partner Elizabeth Stephens, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz) describes herself as a "Post-Porn Modernist" and promotes her own conception of a pansexual, spiritual female sexuality. The maturation of Dr. Sprinkle (she received a Ph.D. in human sexuality) as an artist and as a person led her to leave the porn industry to fulfill her artistic pursuits as a performance artist, filmmaker, and writer, creating art and cultural artifacts that promote healthy attitudes toward sexuality and women.

    Annie Sprinkle, the artist and sexual shaman, challenges the repressive trends that are omnipresent in American culture, which has brought her not only into conflict with the anti-sex, pro-censorship wing of the feminist movement )the likes of Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon) but, inevitably, the religious right. Jesse Helms, the famously reactionary senator who got his start delivering political commentary on a North Carolina TV station in the days of the Fariness in Broadcasting standard, denounced her live performance art piece in the Senate during the debate over the National Endowment for the Arts. Her performance piece, which had received federal funding, entails inviting audience members to view her cervix with a speculum and flashlight in order to "demystify the female body." Helms denounced her performance piece as pornography, which is besides the point.

    For Annie Sprinkle, non-misogynistic pornography can be a sex-positive vehicle for banning shame and ignorance while promoting pleasure and feminism. She remains committed to spreading the good news of her pro-sex message, as joyously as possible, that sex should be liberating, fun, free of shame and repression, and infused with creativity, love and spirituality.

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