When I was in primary school we were taught how to use the dictionary. I remember one of the first words I looked up (once I had figured out the alphabet) was sex. This mysterious word that would occasionally slip from an adults mouth intrigued me. And now, with this dictionary, I had the power to find out what it meant.
Sex – noun – Sexual activity, including specifically sexual intercourse.
It’s 17 years later and I am standing in the gift shop of the New York Museum of Sex looking at what can only be described as a bike sex machine. The best part of this is not the fact that someone took the time to design and fabricate this machine. Rather that you are encouraged to try it out (the pedaling part not the penetration part!).
On the day I visited there were 4 exhibits being displayed Universe of Desire,Spotlight on the Permanent collection, The Sex Lives of Animals, and F8ck Art.
Exhibit One – Universe of Desire
This looked at how pornography has evolved due to the internet. Sort of like a modern day Kinsey study this exhibit gave a unique insight to what people search for on the internet. And we are doing a lot of searching for sex. Out of the 400 million searches made during the test period 55 million of them or around 13% were sex related. The hundred most common searches were displayed along one of the walls.
The searches ranged from the expected #2-Gay, #3-Milf to the downright bizarre such as #56-vomit or #86-Clown (which must make for terrifying viewing as clowns are pretty creepy).
They then explained why these were the top hundred searches, but to tell you why would spoil the exhibit. So dearest reader, we shall continue to exhibit two.
Exhibit Two – Spotlight on the Permanent collection.
The Museum of Sex’s permanent collection, is changed up every few months or so. On my visit there was a photo collection of people and their homemade sex machines (which is sort of like a sex toy on steroids), two Realdolls (that you could touch (gently!), vintage vibrators and a rather painful looking anti-masturbation device. Amongst other items.
When you are walking through this exhibit you are exposed to a small glimpse of the vast, vast scale of human sexuality. Case in point, the Torpedo Sex Suit.
Exhibit Three – The Sex Lives of Animals.
When we think of animals having sex we generally think of it as being solely for procreation. This exhibit smashes that concept and also tells us that fetishes/kink are not the sole domain of man. Animals are into some kinky stuff to say the least. Deer threesomes, Bi-Sexual Bonobos monkeys, and Pink Dolphin Blowhole sex (which is exactly what you are imagining and looks kind of painful although not being a dolphin I cannot comment).
Fourth Exhibit – F*ck Art
In this exhibit a group of prominent Graffiti artists were given a room and commissioned to draw/paint/build pieces that displayed sexuality. My favorite piece from that exhibit was by Mode 2 it’s a beautiful picture drawn on old flattened cardboard boxes. I liked it because it showed you could make something beautiful out of what would essentially be trashed.
After you have explored the museum there is a bar which is well worth checking out, they offer a selection of aphrodisiac cocktails and there is a very intimate feel to it.
I also found out that the the bar also plays host to sex workshops. Now I did not go to any of these while I was there due to a lack of time but judging from the museum itself I think that these workshops would be a lot of fun.
Getting down to It!
The Museum of Sex is obviously X-Rated so visitors must be over 18 years old to enter.
The hours are Sunday – Thursday 10:00 – 20:00 and Friday – Saturday 10:00 – 21:00
The address is 233 5th Ave @ 27th St.
The closest subway stop is 28th Street on the N or R lines.
For a museum coupon as well as the listing of the most current exhibitions, visit www.museumofsex.com.
To sum up the New York Museum of Sex is a lot of fun. It portrays sex as something that we all a part of and not something that should be hushed up and embarrassed about. I would also like to thank the Museums staff for being so accommodating and welcoming in giving me the chance to review it.