Sex Magick Remains Popular Practice for Adult Entertainers
A few years back, MysteriousUniverse.org argued that the extreme way in which most of society classifies porn is relatively on par with the views bestowed upon Aleister Crowley regarding his approach to Sex Magick—that is, the rituals using sex and sexuality to achieve a predetermined goal. Though it’s viewed by practicing Thelemites and Occultists to be some of the most pleasurable magick one can do, it was considered nothing more than hedonistic babble by the majority of society in the early 1900s. Crowley’s esoteric theories challenged the repressive Christian social mores of the time and are still viewed as doing such today. They have generated the same disdain for their vulgarity from today’s culture that the porn industry continues to face.
It’s not surprising that those involved in the adult industry gravitate towards a religion founded by the practicing occultist. Crowley’s views offer them solidarity and comfort knowing that his sexual theories and practices were as frowned upon as their own. There’s also a sense of hope gained from knowing there are others practicing a religion that allows and even encourages members to overcome the sex-negative programming that’s been ingrained in us from an early age. In fact, some within the adult industry have found Thelema, Occultism or similar esoteric practices so positive and fulfilling that they’re taking after Crowley, becoming as outspoken about their beliefs in his philosophies as he was.
Conner Habib is one star that’s coming out of the shadows, no longer hiding his religion, beliefs, or his profession. In an article from Motherboard titled “Sex, the Occult, and the Witches Who do Porn,” he told author Jason Louv that he and fellow porn actors got into the occult because they “choose desire where desire is forbidden.”
“We do this thing that we’re told not to do,” Habib said. “We’ve already gone against what seems to be a law. So why not break other rules? Why not defy right down to the laws of physics?”
Louv stated that with Habib’s following in both the gay porn world and with the alt-spirituality and psychedelics crowd, he’s helping to lead the revolt against traditional religion and sexual morality. “Habib portrays himself as a rebel against reality, embodying an almost Luciferian drive to break through the walls of repression, a self-appointed spokesman for the fusion of sex and radical spirituality.”
Habib continues to preach about the importance of a sex-positive view and the benefits of his occult beliefs when giving interviews or speeches. In December he posted a video of himself to his Twitter account doing just that while on the talk show Talk Gnosis.
The male stars aren’t the only ones attracted to the Occult teachings. One woman in particular who’s continued to make strides in combining the adult industry with Crowley’s theories of sex magick and Thelema is Ellen F. Steinberg, or as she’s more commonly known, Annie Sprinkle. Sprinkle has deep roots in the sex industry. She worked as prostitute in the 1960s and 1970s, then later as a porn star, creating over 200 pornographic films while active. In 1992, she earned a doctorate in human sexuality from the the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and from there jumped into her current career as a sex-positive author, educator, and performance artist.
According to PublicEye.org, some of her performances parody everything from masturbation to a gynecological exam, but other shows go beyond humor. For example, in her live performance titled The Legend of the Ancient Sacred Prostitute she demonstrates a sex magick masturbation ritual. In another, titled Public Cervix Announcement, Sprinkle showed the audience her cervix using a speculum and flashlight as a way to celebrate the form of the female human body. Unfortunately, such salacious performances were deemed obscene by right-wing patriarch Jesse Helms, who condemned her sex magick performance piece Post-Porn Modernist while on the floor of the Senate.
Sprinkle has even advocated for sex-positive adult films that represented her beliefs, specifically those from like-minded colleague and film director Petra Joy. Her endorsement of Joy’s Female Fantasies on AdamEve.com stated, “Petra Joy lives up to her name, creating joyous, uninhibited erotica for women…and men!”
There are several other adult stars who are well-known for taking part in magick practices, some even going as far as using them throughout their films. Ada Mae Johnson, better known as her former stage name Violet Blue, is noted from MadeMan.com as being initiated into the Thelemic religious organization Ordo Templi Orientis in the late 1990s. Then in 2010, adult star Monica Mayhem explained her involvement in Wicca and occultist practices in her autobiography, Absolute Mayhem: Secret Confessions of a Porn Star.
Mayhem in particular didn’t just incorporate her beliefs into roles, she helped create an entire adult movie around them. In 2003, she achieved her first writing credit for the Jim Holliday-directed Witch Coven College. Designed to be a comedy, the movie lovingly pokes fun at some Wiccan and Occult beliefs, with fictionalized spells and “magic dust” that makes people have sex automatically. In her book, Mayhem says of the film, “It was basically a spoof about witches teaching college girls a few tricks, although it was pure fantasy and nothing truly of a Wiccan nature.”
It’s inspiring to see that she’s able to find a unique way to spread the message of a sex-positive attitude to the audience available to her. For those who don’t appreciate her gently poking fun at her own religion, however, rest assured that she takes magick seriously. She admitted in her book to being hesitant about engaging in sex magick because she’s fearful of its power. Still, she expressed just how thankful she is to have found a religion that’s so welcoming to her lifestyle and reflective of her beliefs.
“That’s the great thing about Wicca,” she said. “It tells us there’s nothing wrong with being who you are and that no one is judging you. How this applies to me is that if I can make a living using my body for other people’s pleasure, then there’s nothing wrong with that in the eyes of Wiccans. As long as I’m not hurting anyone, I may do as I will. That’s the crux of our creed.”
The energy transference that occurs during sex is probably one of the most powerful forms possible. It’s not surprising that someone who engages in sexual acts for a living could benefit from learning how to utilize sex magick in an opportunist way, but it’s encouraging to see that many are choosing to use the connection for good.
Author of this post, Tara Notley is a writer and photographer from Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. For the last three years she’s enjoyed exploring different cultural studies including sex, religion, and spirituality.