"Most western sex is necrophilia; one dead body having sex with another dead body" - Joseph Kramer.
When I read this quote today, I was in absolute agreement with it. No brainer. Sex is dead. Long live intimacy!
Many years ago now, I came across a book by a female performance artist and former sex worker Annie Sprinkle. At the time, I'd never heard of Annie nor come across her work, but this book, entitled "Annie Sprinkle's Post Porn Modernist" changed my life. Annie spoke to me about her sexual evolution in ways that were heartfelt, humorous and sometimes heart-breaking too, but then such is life. Her vivid descriptions of her up-bringing, adolescence and her journey (or perhaps deep dive) into the explorations of what it is to be a liberated sexual being were so incredibly inspiring. Annie seemed to have banished shame! This intrigued me.
I have been fortunate enough to meet Annie, and at this meeting I was rapidly introduced to the magic that is Ms Sprinkle as a room full of people were taken into energy orgasm streaming right next door to a room of policemen and women, policy makers and officials deep into bone dry conversations of the cerebral type. The orgasmic noises filtering through the thin walls with increasing volume were just so delicious, and I can tell you now I sincerely wished I'd attended 'the other' break out session at that conference!
From this meeting, this conference, a litter of ideas were birthed, giving rise to the Sex Work Re-Assessed Conference here in the UK in 1998. This joint project led by myself and two colleagues from The University of East London (Dr's Wendy Rickards and Merl Storr), came about after that trip to Los Angeles, where seeing so many create and change so much by giving a massive platform to that which is often unsaid was utterly inspiring. Perhaps in those days, funding was internationally more available, people were talking more about this stuff and there was a real buzz around sexuality, not a 'dry' buzz but more of a wet slippery one! Sex workers were speaking loud and proud and this is what they were saying…
But what is sex? what is sexual expression? Who gets to decide, and who gets to legislate? Personally speaking I don't ever want to witness a repeat of 'Operation Spanner' where in December of 1990, 16 gay men were given custodial sentences for consenting BDSM activity. Key word there = CONSENTING! So, the issue with sexuality for me lies in the distortions around it, and the value judgments which are seemingly inextricably tied to it. A bondage of a different kind!
For me, it doesn't really matter what you do in bed, it's more about how you do it. As Joseph Kramer so succinctly puts it above, many of us are dead or dying from the waist down when it comes to the fine and exquisite art of truly 'love' making. Neither the hearts and flowers Mills and Boon kind, nor the opposite kind of the style you may find in a fetish club, for both can be equally besieged with a lack of true connection to the self and the other in my view. No, Joseph has nailed it (no pun intended!).
For me, the three keys are breath, communication and presence. Being brave enough to really speak about what turns you on and off, where your energy is flowing and stuck, and truly making the first forays into stopping with the acting and starting to become the key player in your own pleasure maps. Following a path of Red Tantra has led me into the body in ways I could never have previously imagined. Without having to use fantasy as a tool to get off, one becomes able to use presence as the greatest erotic aphrodisiac on the market, and the good news is that it's free! All of the add-ons can be fine of course, but even then, if we default to major fantasy without fully remaining present to who is in front of us, what we are sharing and how we share it, then it's game over. If you're lucky you get a great O-gasm, if not, a somewhat deflated feeling that you've sold yourself short somehow.
But what if you don't sell yourself short? What if you don't make love as one 'dead' body to another? Then, does it matter if you are paid for it or not? If you're tied up or not? If it's a one off or an ongoing thing? No! The whole point is, that you are truly alive and inhabiting your body, your sexual self and your personal erotic map in absolute and utter presence, and that my dears, is where the nectar truly lies. In integrity.
So let's hear it for all of the Sexual Pioneers, healers and adventurers out there making this world sexier one way or another. I for one am grateful for each and every one of them.
Shakti Tantra, Sarah Rose Bright, Joseph Kramer, Barbara Carrellas, Annie Sprinkle, Betty Dodson et al. Thank you for being there sexing up the planet!