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Learning Erotic Massage from Annie Sprinkle and Joseph Kramer

by Joseph Kramer

Annie Sprinkle was a porn goddess. I was a queer sex educator teaching erotic massage. In 1987, we met and fell in love. Our lovemaking included lots of erotic massage.

Annie had directed and starred in over a hundred adult films, so she encouraged me to put my erotic massage teaching on video. In a similar fashion, I encouraged her to teach erotic massage classes.

Between us, Annie and I offered over a hundred different classes teaching pleasurable ways to touch genitals. From our in-person classes, we chose the most powerful and effective strategies and strokes to share on video.

Fire on the Mountain (1992), which teaches 30 creative ways to touch penises, was my project. Fire in the Valley (1995), which offers step-by-step instructions for stimulating the erectile tissues of the vulva and vagina, was more Annie’s.

Over the last 25 years, our bestselling videos lit up the field of erotic massage. They were used by countless lovers, therapists, sex workers, neotantra practitioners, sacred intimates and sex educators.

I recently asked Annie, “What if massage was like multi-level marketing and we got a percentage of the pleasure from every Fire on the Mountain massage and Fire in the Valley massage given over the past 25 years?”

She said, “Maybe we are getting some of that residual pleasure.”

Annie and I have gotten a lot of emails and letters over the years from people sharing their experiences of learning from our videos. We are posting a few of these communications below, because they might be helpful to you as you explore erotic massage.

Taking Turns

“After eight years of being together, neither my husband nor I were feeling much pleasure in sex. Our couples’ counselor suggested we try “erotic massage lovemaking” – taking turns giving touch while the other simply receives. She recommended your delightful videos, but we both felt overwhelmed watching so many different ways to touch genitals.

My husband suggested that we each choose five strokes that we wanted to receive. This seemed completely doable. My suggestion was that we give each stroke for five full minutes. At first, we thought giving and receiving the same stroke over and over might feel boring, but in fact it was captivating.

We now often do five minutes of the same stroke for the sheer delight. Thank you for these amazing ways of lovemaking. Taking turns at giving and receiving erotic touch is a whole new way of having sex for us.”

This couple shares a very effective strategy for learning new erotic massage strokes. I have adopted their “five-minutes-of-practice-per-stroke” for use in every erotic massage class I have taught in the last ten years.

The learning can be even more pleasurable if the receiver guides the speed of the strokes they are receiving with their breath.

Care For Our Bodies

Massage helps my husband and I feel sexier and closer. However, we often felt aches and pains both during the massage and sometimes for a day afterwards. We both thought that enduring some awkwardness and body aches while giving each other touch on the bed was a small price to pay for the pleasurable result.

Since finding your videos online, the quality of the massages we give each other is much improved, for which we are grateful!

But the biggest change your videos inspired was us getting a massage table. Our sex life has way more pleasure and less pain. My husband stands and moves around the table as he massages me. Then we lower the adjustable legs, and I massage him as I sit comfortably in a chair next to the table.

Massage tables are the ideal wedding gift. (I recommend a 30 inch/76 cm wide table.)

When Annie and I schedule an erotic massage date, we always use a table. My body cannot endure giving her a session on a bed or the floor. I have probably given 5000 professional erotic massages. Maybe less than ten have not been on a massage table.

Title page from the film, stating “Fire in the Valley: Female Genital Massage”

Mothers and Daughters

“My Vermont women’s group recently spent a Saturday afternoon watching and discussing Fire in the Valley. The tenderness in your presentation of female sexuality moved us all.

We liked that the video taught strokes for both couples and individuals, and we appreciated the diversity of women — a lesbian couple, a black woman, a pregnant woman. Every woman present agreed that we wanted more touch like this in our relationships.

We also decided that in our next meeting, we would watch the video with our teenage daughters. This communal viewing of women’s sexual anatomy and arousal with our daughters was surprisingly intimate for both us and our daughters.”

I am in awe of the initiation these women offered their daughters.

Healing Touch

“My wife has never felt comfortable with her body, perhaps due to her conservative Catholic upbringing. Over a year ago, I began offering her massage, which was a big step for us. Sometimes, she even guides my hands with her own.

Communicating about what kind of touch she likes feels wonderfully intimate. As our appreciation for the power of touch grew, we found your Fire in the Valley video, which we both really enjoyed.

She was open to me adding two or three of the erotic strokes to our regular massages which now have become even more intimate. Thank you!”

“Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies.” I love this wisdom from Bessel van der Kolk. Massage can be a wonderful antidote to shame and sexual anxieties, especially when the receiver guides the experience.

In addition, I recommend to couples that they breathe together during portions of their massage. Distractions during sexual arousal can take us away from our partner.

Breathing consciously together helps partners communicate and stay present with each other. Slow breathing is more relaxing. Fast is more stimulating. Both ways of breathing are pleasurable and can help keep you present.

Title page from the film, stating “Fire on the Mountain: Male Genital Massage”

Soft Cock

“My 75-year-old husband doesn’t get very hard these days, but he loves the Fire on the Mountain strokes on his soft penis — especially Twist and Shout, Rainbow Rub, and Cock Cradling.”

I think more men would be interested in soft cock erotic massage if they knew it was possible to orgasm from such a massage. Be sure to check out my Soft Cock Erotic Massage video class teaching the skills of giving and receiving this neglected pleasure.

Jesse and his penis are massaged by both his female lover and his male best friend. The class includes a bonus video of more than twenty strokes to take your man into orgasmic bliss.

In soft cock erotic massage, maintaining your attention on the nerve endings of the penis is crucial for experiencing pleasure. If you get distracted, bring your attention back to the feeling of the hands massaging your soft cock.

Doubled My Income

“I have been doing sensual massage in London for about three years. I learned of your videos through the Sex Workers Education Network. It’s hard for me to believe, but I have doubled my income in the past year. Thank you. I now work on both men and women and most are repeat customers.”

Many erotic massage professionals throughout the world make use of Fire on the Mountain and Fire in the Valley. As it turns out, their erotic massage clients appreciate more than a happy ending.

One Stroke Erotic Massage

“My husband hates the effort involved in giving me a massage. I persuaded him to attend an OMing (Orgasmic Meditation) class by telling him, ‘You only have to touch my clitoris with the tip of one finger.’ He said he could manage that.

After several sessions of experiencing my orgasmic altered states, he wanted his turn. With some focused googling, I found that your Rainbow Rub stroke in Fire in the Mountain was like a male version of the clitoral Orgasmic Meditation.

The first time I practiced the stroke on my husband, he went into a bliss state. He said he was having an orgasm without cumming. We are both happy as clams at high tide, regularly exchanging our one-stroke erotic massages.”

As this couple found, these one-stroke erotic massages often activate prolonged orgasmic states rather than orgasms. Whereas orgasms are often short-lived, an orgasmic state can delight a body for quite a while.

Slow Hand, Easy Touch

The Pointer Sisters often helped set the mood for Annie and my erotic massage exchanges. “I want a man with a slow hand. I want a lover with an easy touch.” You can enjoy the sweet-sounding Slow Hand here.

The Afterglow

As I was writing this article, I asked Annie a couple of times if she wanted to include something here about erotic massage. She did. She suggested as you watch the videos, to notice how the three different women bask in the afterglow after receiving vulva massage and how the afterglow becomes a psychedelic experience for one man.

“Give yourself time to savor the afterglow’’ is one of Annie’s major teachings. She recommends at least 15 minutes of quiet feeling at the end of the massage.

“In the afterglow,” Annie tells us, “we can feel we are glowing with love, with satisfaction, with a lightness of being, with pleasure. Usually in the afterglow we can experience a heightened sense of peace, beauty, and connection — connection with our self, our body, our lover, and on a really good day, the whole universe! How does basking in your afterglow make you feel?”

Annie and I regret that our videos will not be available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime in the near future. You can watch and enjoy Fire on the Mountain here. You can watch and enjoy Fire in the Valley here. All of your lovemaking will benefit from an ongoing pleasurable touch practice.

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