This is a personal correspondence from Annie Sprinkle to the authors:
The Mineshaft was at the time the big daddy of the gay men’s sex clubs. It was a bar, with room for water sports, and caverns. It felt very underground.
I was there two or three times. Maybe four.
My friend, RAM, the man with the golden arm (he had a stump arm and was big into fisting, took me there once.
I had a bisexual lover, Michael Gomes also that I went with.
I was invited by the management to come to a couple of “benefit” nights. Where they were fund raisers.
There was some prejudice towards me. Some men didn’t want me there, and were rude and complaining.
But others really liked having a “token female.” I was into intense sex, with fisting (giving and receiving), and golden showers. BDSM, very raunchy. but it felt like a love fest. Not something evil or dangerous. It was just very tribal.
Very spiritual actually. We were in a state of bliss, of ecstasy, of love, and pure animal attraction. There was something very beautiful and profound.
I had met quite of few of the guys that frequented the mineshaft at my home base sex club Hell Fire Club (when it was mostly gay men, and tribal music.) After aids it turnend very hetero and very touristy and very dance club ish.
Cruising was a bit part of the experience. Checking people out. Enjoying the costumes. Very grungy costumes. There was a strict dress code as I’m sure you know.
I remember it as being very diverse; black, asian, latino… not all white. There were a lot of really good looking men there. Quite a few from Broadway shows. Show biz people. Actors. Models. Very alternative kinds of people; artists, graphic design people, etc. There were NO transvestities or transsexuals.
It was a lot about being BUTCH and tough. Very tom of finland.
I wore a lot of leather.
I made a magazine, The Kinky World of Annie Sprinkle, which has some photos of me on the piers. Mineshaft actually extended to “the trucks” and the “pier.” Lots of sex around there too. Which i enjoyed.
My friend Dennis Florio often wondered why gay men wanted to have sex with me. (I felt like a gay man sometimes—not looked like one, but liked the kind of sex they liked. They were my teachers.) Dennis talked about this with his therapist. (i had been dennis’s and many gay mens first female sex partner) He decided it was because I was compassionate, non judgmental, and as sexual as the gay men. So i was non threatening. But edgy too.
Politically, I wasn’t aware of any politics, other than the fundraisers. Cant remember what they were for.
This was all before AIDS.
Oh, I got amoebas when i went to mine shaft from analingus. Twice.
There were many STDS going around. Probably due to the cans of crisco everyone dipped their hands into.
Crisco was big.
Of course sex is very political. And having such abundant, anonymous, wild sex was political in itself.
IT was saying, we are who we are, and we love sex, and we’ll do what we want.
That was a powerful statement. To be so sexually free. Also gay sex was really coming out of the closet.
And gayness super powerful.
So mineshaft was definitely a place of sex positivity, personal acceptance, power, love, fun, community.
Then AIDS hit and so many died.
Including all the above friends/lovers i mentioned and more.
IT was the “great dying” and a huge wave of death.
We coped as well as we could.
So many young men died.
Miraculously i didn’t get HIV. Don’t know why. But after the test came out and I was negative, all the rest of my life was gravy. I thought for sure I’d have “gay cancer” too.
Maybe it was all the miso soup, maybe my jewish blood, maybe my hemorrhoids saved my life and i wasn’t that into anal sex which is more dangerous for transmission.
But I remember the days of the Mineshaft very fondly. In a word… HOT!!!!!!