I have always been a very physical and sexual person. This was heightened by my early physical isolation. In the early 70's when I was not yet out of my sexual isolation, I observed as an interested outsider that free sex (confused with free love) was not working. It wasn't making my hippie friends happy. This observation was against my philosophy of freedom. But I could not deny the facts. I started looking for new ways of relating and of touching. I was looking for a new free love. My performances, both public events and the private non-films, were my research, my experiments.
I experimented in using the excited, aroused, pleasurable energy in the context of art, of playing, relationship-building -- not in the context of sex.
This research reached a climax in my Berkeley workshop during the years of the Outrageous Beauty Revue.
It was fairly clear to thirty of us that there was a difference between playing and sex. We saw it had something to do with sex and "marriage" (the word "marriage" is another word that has negative connotations hidden within it). So we decided to commit ourselves to have sex only with those to whom we were married. But we erotically played (for lack of a better term for it) with all of the people in the group.
The erotic play became more intense, more playful. We as people got wackier, more physical. It gave us a greater freedom not only within our group, but in society in general as well. By erotic playing intensely but playfully, it released a certain creativity which we used in many ways. Successful businesses were established. We did several public performances, and a wealth of wacky private performances. All of these had the vital energy of eroplay, of unlimited possibility. We were kids playing together even though we were adults. Even though the erotic play could become very intimate, physical, soft and sexy, there was no jealousy or possessiveness because it was clear that sex would not be involved. This went on for three years.
But at a certain point, we started questioning the concept of marriage -- what was the difference between what we thirty had together and being married? We did not see any difference. Not seeing any difference between marriage and what we had as a group, the next logical question was, "Why not have sex?" So we started to have sex outside marriage within the group. (We were using the misleading word, "marriage". When you throw out the word marriage, sex belongs in a bonded, mated relationship which as a group we were not, although there were mated relationships within the group.) Once we started having sex almost immediately changes appeared in the group. Jealousy and possessiveness appeared. The playful creativeness which came from erotic playing dried up. Playing and the physical freedom between the people quickly ceased to be. The spark of the Outrageous Beauty Revue and our other pieces was not there anymore. The group as a group quickly began to fall apart.
Photos (from top to bottom): Linda Mac, Alexi Malenky