Don't have a date for Valentine's Day weekend? Not to worry.
"When the Earth is your lover, you always have a lover," says eco-sexual educator Annie Sprinkle. This Saturday, along with Beth Stephens, her partner of 13 years, she'll be showing audiences at the Walker Art Center 25 different ways to make love with the Earth.
Self-identified as "pollen-amorous," Sprinkle and Stephens have been at the forefront of eco-sexuality, a movement in which people pledge, as stated in the manifesto the two have penned, to love, honor, and cherish the Earth "until death brings us closer together forever."
"We encourage people to desire and take pleasure from the Earth," says Sprinkle. "If people really imagine the Earth as their lover, and recognize how much sexual pleasure they get with the Earth, then they'll take better care of it."
For example, some people masturbate with water, in the shower or against a hot-tub jet, and they aren't giving back to the water. "They are just unconsciously getting off," Sprinkle says. She believes we should think of the water as our lover, regarding its needs as well as our own.
For their eco-sexual wedding project, Stephens and Sprinkle have married the sky, the sea, and other natural energies.
"Each time we marry a new nature entity, we grow more in love with it," says Sprinkle.
They've also married over 1,000 people to the Earth at these interactive performances, which have taken place across nine different countries.
It's been a long, unique journey for Sprinkle, who got into prostitution and pornography after losing her virginity at 17. She eventually fell for Gerard Damiano, the director of Deep Throat, and went on to star in such films as Teenage Deviate and Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle.
Sprinkle met Stephens in New York City in 1991. "The scene was exciting," she recollects. "All kinds of work about sexuality and identity politics, as well as activism, were happening." This was in the wake of the culture wars, a time when Congress was cracking down on the National Endowment for the Arts. Sprinkle herself had been called "a sewer of depravity" by Sen. Jesse Helms.
After a career spanning decades, the 61-year-old Sprinkle still believes that she's found her calling in sex and sex education, though things have changed since the early '70s.
"In my mind I'm still doing work about sex," she says. "I'm having sex with nature all the time, including when I'm having sex with Beth. Human beings are mostly made of water, after all."
This Saturday, Sprinkle and Stephens will give a presentation, titled "Eco-Sexual Revolution," in the Walker Cinema at 7 p.m., followed by walking tours. The event is free, and is part of Winter of Love, a museum-wide party featuring cocktails, meditation, rare (and trippy) films, and light shows.
IF YOU GO:
Eco-sexuality at Winter of Love
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
7 p.m. talk, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. tours Saturday, February 13