The Explicit Body: Feminist Performance as Sex Education

Tiina Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceedingpeer-review


In 1990 the performance artist, porn star, photographer and sex workers’ rights activist Annie Sprinkle presented her Post Post Porn Modernist: Still in Search of the Ultimate Sexual Experience. This show included the section “Public Cervix Announcement” (PCA) in which Sprinkle presented the audience with two large, oval shaped, colored drawings: one a cartoonish rendering of the female reproductive organs (cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries), the other a bubblegum pink drawing wit a dark, round cervix with a dark dot in the middle (the os). Sprinkle asked the asked to repeat the anatomical names in a sing-a-long-style. After the lecture Sprinkle invited her audience to take a closer look at her vagina and cervix on stage.
This paper discusses the feminist tradition of presenting explicit bodies on stage. Forty years of feminist explicit body performance, from its early manifestations in the late 1960s and 1970s until the day feminist artists and activists have provided theirs audiences with a sex education of their own. Using Sprinkle’s work as a point of departure this paper addresses some of the important sex educational and ideological issues reflected in feminist performance art in order to show how closely these are connected with feminist sexual politics and sex education in a broader sense.


Conference"Critical Feminist Dialogues on Sex Education, Violence and Sexology: Between Agency, Pleasure, Shame and Pain": a conference for GEXcel Themes 4&5 “Sexual Health, Embodiment and Empowerment: Bridging Epistemological Gaps”
CityLinköping University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gender Studies

Free keywords

  • performance
  • explicit body
  • Annie Sprinkle
  • feminism
  • sex education
  • sexuality


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