About a month ago, I spent my Saturday afternoon in a museum. It is most certainly not like the Met fashion exhibits that I love to frequent like this one. It was at one of the more salacious museums in the city. Well, that would be the perception by the name of it, but you would actually be wrong. It was the Museum of Sex, and I wasn’t overwhelmed by kink as I thought I would or maybe it’s just the jaded New Yorker in me from seeing more vulgar things on the A train. But even if you are the biggest and most modest prude, here are five reasons why I think that you should visit the Museum of Sex:
- The wing dedicated to the exhibition sex in the animal kingdom titled, The Sex Lives of Animals is really informative. It is eye-opening how similar sex is for humans and animals. The courtship and practices are metaphorically the same. Men strut and prune before women, just like species of colorful birds or primates. Women show their willingness by giving off pheromones and examining their options (some better than others) just like the females of a species. Just imagine any co-ed gym and you’ve seen it a thousand times. Same-sex and polyamorous relationships exist in the animal world, just like it does for humans. I’m not into it for humans but it isn’t a big deal in the animal kingdom ( at least not for me).
- The staff at the museum are the most helpful I have ever encountered, they even have an information desk in the museum shop that is filled with sex toys, prophylactics, and reading materials. I guess this if you far too intimidated to go to a sex shop and buy there.
- In the section of the museum titled, Hardcore: A Century and A Half of Obscene Imagery, you’ll find out that pornography has a long history of film and literature, before the moving picture. Most of it is highly insulting due to the cultural and racial stereotypes and language.
- The ObjectXXX pulls from the Museum of Sex archives to show pieces, toys, and products used in different aspects of sex. From condom dispensers to bondage gear and vibrators. Did you know that vibrators used to be made by Hamilton Beach? You know the company that currently makes kitchen appliances with veering motors, makes sense if you think hard enough. Reduce, reuse, recycle was the thought behind that, maybe?
- The exhibition “Night Fever” featuring photographs by Bill Bernstein of the disco scene from 1977-1979. The exhibition is designed like a pop-up disco from the 70’s complete with a DJ booth and bar with drinks. It is really cool to read and see interviews and photos of how open everyone was about their sexuality and nudity. Definitely a different era, pre- HIV where being sexually open didn’t carry the same weight of consequences. It was the decade of Studio 54, Crisco Disco, Le Clique, and Xenon among others.
Here are some of the pictures I took, be forewarned that some contain some nudity and don’t faint on me. For people with virgin eyes look away from the pictures from the Night Fever exhibition.
The Museum of Sex is located at 233 Fifth Avenue on the corner of 27th street in Manhattan. The museum is definitely on the unique side and that makes it perfect for a city like New York. It traipses the line of naughty and informative in such a deliberate way that you don’t realize you are actually learning something. Now I know there aren’t many museums like this around the world but have been to a unique museum and then realized that you actually learned something afterward? Tell me all about it in the comments below, hopefully, you aren’t too sheepish after the cheeky subject matter.
Until our next rendezvous…