Let’s Talk About the Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex New York

“Type. Swipe. Search. Upload. Download. Post. Stream. These are the new verbs of desire. Our most intimate thoughts, fantasies, and urges are now transmitted via electronic devices to rapt audiences all over the world.”        — The Museum of Sex

Bribery has been my strategy for getting people to come to museums with me: candy for the PEZ Museum, beer for the Trash Museum, hot dogs for the hunger museum, and go karts for bad art.

So for a trip to New York’s Museum of Sex, it was only natural to offer a… well, I’ll let you use your imagination on that one.

One of the exhibits, “Universe of Desire,” was based on data that showed that 13 percent of 400 million Internet searches were for erotic content. Who knew the Internet was used for porn?

It was a fascinating and disturbing exhibit that shared the results of the data coupled with a lot of very private media that people had willingly made public on the Internet. One display had boxes built with keyholes and when I peeped in, I saw a regular couple getting busy. Another display had a series of old-fashioned phones. I picked one up and listened in on a man’s sexual diary. I put down the phone feeling vaguely guilty. The exhibit had made a voyeur out of me, as all of us are when we surf the web and see glimpses of all of our lives.

I am someone who gets amazed by the oversharing I see among my own friends on Facebook, so this was eye-opening for me.

Panda bear sculpture at Museum of Sex

Another exhibit was about the sex lives of animals. By giving many examples from the animal kingdom of same-sex pairings, non-reproductive sex, and non-monogamous “monogamous” pairings, the exhibit questioned what is “normal” when it comes to human sexuality.

I thought I would feel squeamish at the museum, but it was a museum with a serious atmosphere like any other. At one point, though, I found myself in an empty area with only one strange man, and I quickly moved on over to a busy area. I probably wouldn’t have been creeped out by a similar situation at the Smithsonian, but who knows? The guy seemed pretty creepy.

P.S. I visited the museum after taking my trapeze class. A thrilling day in Manhattan!

101 things button #67 (101 things in 1001 days): Go to at least five offbeat or small museums.

  1. Bling at the PEZ Factory
  2. Seagulls and the Temple of Trash
  3. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum
  4. Melancholy at the Museum of Bad Art
  5. Let’s Talk About the Museum of Sex

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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18 Responses to Let’s Talk About the Museum of Sex

  1. Abby says:

    The m.o.s. looks interesting, but could also be a creep magnet!

  2. zoe says:

    I guess I would be a little leery of the creep factor but as long as I had someone with me it would be okay. I did go to #4 on your list…MOBA…I read your blog entry and I agree…it wasn’t all that bad!

    • Marcy says:

      I think I was most surprised by the gift shop, which was viewable from the street. Lots of adult gifts in there!

  3. How fascinating! Our attitude towards sex as a society is so fascinating to me. The other day I read through a parenting discussion thread full of people who were pro-abstinence only sex ed. They used phrases like “beautiful physical expression of love” and “open myself to my husband like a flower.” It creeped me out. Sex museums and porn seem way more natural to me.

  4. littlebitsandpieces.com says:

    Oh, that must have been a very interesting field trip! I love the idea of going something like that and forcing myself out of my comfort zone. 🙂

  5. Jake says:

    I’ve been wanting to visit this museum for a long time but haven’t been able to convince any of my friends to go with me. I think I might just end up going by myself… but that might establish me as the creeper everyone was mentioning above haha.

    • Marcy says:

      I hope you find it interesting. I think it was the guy himself more than the fact that he was alone, so no worries 🙂

  6. I think I would have gone over and studied creepy guy as though he were an exhibit. That could have led to some interesting performance art…

  7. beverlydiehl says:

    Given the last post of mine you visited, you know I wouldn’t be too shy to visit the Museum of Sex! Must remember it for my next jaunt to New York.

    I read a book once on porn across the world and what surprised me is that the things people find erotic vary across cultures. I figured they would be all the same, but no. While American porn features women loudly enjoying sex, in the most popular Japanese porn women lie there quietly and expressionless.

    Which, speaking of expressions, those pandas… the male looks very intense, the female looks bored, like, “Can you hurry it up? Downton Abbey is about to come on.”

    • Marcy says:

      That’s so interesting about how it varies around the world. I never would have thought about that. You nailed it with the bored female panda. I would have a hard time focusing too if Downton Abbey was coming on.

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