Annie sprinkles love across Carnegie Mellon

Credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Editor Credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Editor Credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Editor Credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Editor

“Smell her. Taste her. Sing to her. Kiss and lick her. Keep her clean. Please recycle.” These are suggestions from Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephen’s 25 Ways to Make Love to the Earth.

Annie Sprinkle visited Carnegie Mellon this past week and hosted many events, including a lecture and an ecosexual walking tour. Sprinkle is a former prostitute and pornographic actress and has now taken on the role of being an ecosexual advocate.

Her notion of ecosex and being an ecosexual is essentially a “love thy Earth” mantra with a provocative twist. As she says, “It is about switching the metaphor ‘Earth mother’ to ‘Earth lover.’” She has become a strong environmentalist, which serves as the impetus for her and her partner’s ecosexual movement. She is creating a lexicon for this movement, using words such as “vegesexual,” “compostgasm,” “ecoslut,” and “snowjob.”

Ecosexuality is a relatively new term Sprinkle advocates, and can be defined as seeking the sensual and sexual aspects of nature and connecting with them. Her unusual ideas lack evidence or reasoning, which has drawn in more people, but also allows for a rift to manifest between those who cannot so readily relate to her lofty notions. Her ideas of ecosexuality can range from masturbating alongside a flower you feel “a strong connection with” — an example she referenced that stemmed from an anecdote — to running your feet through the grass. Even “listening to the wind and the trees can be really sexual,” according to Sprinkle.

Sprinkle is a vibrant redhead who wore a loud, long pink dress with purple feathers in her hair, along with a generous amount of makeup to complete the outfit. Her presence in McConomy was intriguing and drew the viewer in so as to learn more about her interesting persona. Her lecture recounted her colorful 57-year lifespan thus far, and her 39 years of studying sex — she earned a Ph.D. from the Institute for Advanced Study on Human Sexuality, a non-nationally accredited institution. In her lecture, she travelled through the sex industries of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, giving the viewers a point of reference so that they could see how strides have been made in terms of feminism, sexual health, and acceptance of the sex industry.

The audience travelled through her life and was given an idea of the types of projects she has worked on, such as her show A Public Cervix Announcement, where she invited patrons to explore the region between her legs with a flashlight. She included pictures of her Extreme Kissing events where she and her partner participated in a manifestation of performance art by kissing in an art gallery for three hours without stopping. In a similar vein, they had one event where they were “extreme kissing” nude in public.

Needless to say, Sprinkle had remarkable stories and experiences to share that were entertaining and inspired many laughs, but she did lack one quality: authority. Yes, she is a seasoned veteran when it comes to sex and the entire industry, yet when she spoke she lacked a certain sense of conviction, especially when it came to ecosexuality. In her lecture and throughout much of her walking tour she asserted many ideas, but she seemed incapable of supporting those claims. For instance, as she led the walking tour to the garden next to Hunt Library, she proclaimed, “We are having sex with the Earth right now.” Many would disagree with this notion. She mentioned that “sex is all around us.... It is going on with the plants and animals.” It is unusual that what she classifies as sex, many others would classify merely as reproduction.

She raised ideas that were thought-provoking and unusual, but she was unable to provide reasoning that would have enabled an outsider to truly connect with her ideas. This begs the question: If she has no manner of supporting her assertions, then are they truly worth believing?

Sprinkle was well received by the student body, and students seemed to be open to hearing her story and listening to what she had to say. Marielle Saums, a junior global studies major with a minor in biology and art, said, “It [Sprinkle’s lecture] was wonderful, and the students seemed to have liked it because she is an unusual speaker.” The crowd erupted into loud applause when she announced that she would leave behind a few of her published materials, including both films and books, for Hunt Library.

Sprinkle opened students’ minds to topics that they may not have given much thought to before, such as the relationship between sex and ecology. “Annie is a really sweet lady with very different ideas,” reflected Shelby Cunningham, a sophomore psychology and biology major, after having been married to the Earth along with a small group of Carnegie Mellon students. Sprinkle’s ideas certainly acted as food for thought, but they left many students hungry for her to elaborate on her ideas. Just because someone is a self-professed authority in their field does not mean that others should follow said person without questioning them.