If you ever find yourself overwhelmed in New York City and can’t pick a place to visit, you should consider visiting the Museum of Sex. There, you’ll find that nothing is censored (so keep that in mind before visiting). Before visiting, I asked myself, “How can there be an entire museum dedicated to sex?” This is not your typical museum. Its content is historic, innovative and visual – very visual. It holds vulnerability that focuses on removing sexual desire biases by exposing sex differently. It isn’t just for reproducing. Some exhibits focus on animals and their sex lives, while others focus on human inventions to enhance sexual pleasure. If you decide to visit, remember to keep an open mind.
Here’s a list of things I found interesting at the Museum of Sex:
1. ObjectXXX: Selected Artifacts from the Museum of Sex Archive
This exhibit is dedicated to common objects that have been used to enhance sexual pleasure. Among these are the first lingerie barbie doll and the first latex vagina with urinary features. There’s a bicycle in the center of the room that was used as one of the first sex toys. The machine is open to the public to operate and demonstrate its function, but not to be used for the public’s personal enjoyment.
2. Jump for Joy!
Although there is a $3 fee to enter the “Bouncy Castle of Breasts,” it’s worth it. An employee compared bouncing for 2 to 3 minutes to being on a roller coaster.
She said, “If you count the minutes on a roller coaster, it might be even less than two minutes, but people have the time of their lives.” This statement is very true — you don’t have to bounce for long to have a good time, take a few photos and appreciate the different types of breasts!
Tip: If you go before noon, tickets are cheaper. If you bring a Student ID, you also get a discount. Be sure to check online for any additional discounts.
3. Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outside Art
This exhibit features artists with different opinions towards sexuality. The museum displays the inner-workings of unfamiliar artists, such as Aurie Ramirez, who was diagnosed with autism; Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, who took erotic photographs of his wife; and Miroslav Tichý, who was a recurring guest in mental institutions. These artists portray their sexual knowledge and desires through their art. Ramirez paints human figures without clothing performing sexual acts. Von Bruenchenhein was one of the first to photograph the naked female body for pleasure, while Tichý took photos of random women’s body parts without permission.
4. Hardcore: A Century & A Half of Obscene Imagery
Glory holes, brothel guides, sex pamphlets teaching girls how to perform sexual acts and photographs of old-school sexual objects are featured in this section. There are several aspects of explicit content throughout this exhibit. Pornographic videos of humans and cartoons play in black-and-white, while photos of women using household objects for pleasure hang on the walls. The museum also showcases the first male condom!
5. The Sexual Lives of Animals
In my opinion, this takes the reigns as the best part of the entire museum! Animals happen to have sex for pleasure too. They partake in threesomes and masturbate! It has been documented that baboons masturbate with leaves and fruits. Another fact: When a male mallard duck died fleeing another male, his competitor mounted him for 75 minutes. This marks the first recorded homosexual necrophilia in that species. Honoring his death, Dead Duck Day is celebrated on June 5. Another case of homosexuality is the banned children’s book, “And Tango Makes Three.” The book is based on a true story about two male penguins who raised a baby penguin, Tango, in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book was banned in 2005 due to the public’s worry that it might influence children’s sexualities.
Learning about the history of sex has the power of enriching both your knowledge and your pleasure. Yes, there are sex-ed classes in high school, and parents give you “the talk,” but the museum explores the wonders of sexuality with no judgement. Instead of looking at sex as something dirty and secretive, the museum promotes sex as recreation. This fresh perspective is both empowering and enlightening.