One of my goals in 2015 was to visit 12 museums, and to share details about those visits with you. Museums are great places to hide, to socialize, to think, to listen to audiobooks or music and to wander. They are also places to collect inspiration, to ponder, to absorb, to grow and to learn. Hopefully one of my visits will inspire one of yours.
MUSEUM VISIT 6/12: THE MUSEUM OF SEX
DATE OF VISIT: 1 MAY 2015
This museum was awesome. I bounced in a full-size bouncehouse made of boobs, went rock climbing on a wall where all the rocks were made of genitalia, learned about the sexual habits of all kinds of animals, and saw the original film reel for Deep Throat (and learned about its cultural significance, and major impact on the film industry).
This museum is really fantastic. Whether you are someone that can't even say the word 'sex' out loud or you are someone that...can?....this museum is well-done and accessible to anyone no matter your level of comfort with the subject matter.
I left the museum feeling really balanced, so to speak. I had explored the subject of 'sex' in a variety of ways: physically (This post is getting hard to write. Everything looks like innuendo. But I climbed a rock wall, went through a life-size mirror maze to find a clitoris and jumped in a boob bounce house.), scientifically (bed bug reproduction and Amazon river dolphin blowhole sex, I'm looking at you), culturally (Linda Lovelace and Deep Throat), artistically (dress made of condoms), and personally. The museum sets you up to think about your own relationship to sex, your ideas about it, how you were raised with (or without) the subject being a topic of discussion and what you think about it now. When I was standing in line at the bouncehouse made of boobs (I went by myself to this museum, by the way) I remember standing there thinking....I've never seen a bouncehouse in a museum. I've never seen a bounce house made of BOOBS. Are those nipples? Of all shapes and sizes?....yes, yes they are. Wait, this is sex-related? It was really fun that as an adult I found myself in line to go jump in a bouncehouse made of boobs. Anyway, the museum is great about disarming your hoity-toityness about sex (if you have any of that).
THREE THINGS THAT REALLY STRUCK ME:
1. Coffee and Wine When you're done touring the museum, you end up on the first floor where a coffee and wine bar is located. It's a great nook, and also a great place to have a meeting. "Meet me at the coffee bar in the Museum of Sex." There are plenty of tables, seating and menu options. I am going back here next time I'm in NYC to work and catch up on email. It's also a great way to 'finish' your museum tour....with food and caffeine. No smoking inside though. :)
2. The Balance of Subject Matter Angles I didn't know what to expect at this museum. I guess I thought maybe it would be super in-your-face about sex, and then I wondered if it would be super extreme in the other direction and very scientific. This museum had an incredible balance to the angles with which it explored the topic of sex. During my visit, I enjoyed viewing a variety of art which explored sexuality, got some physical exercise (rock climbing wall, life size maze, bouncehouse), absorbed some scientific information about animal sexuality and reproduction, and learned more about the sexual culture of the United States in the 1970s. I learned a lot. And, if I had been uncomfortable with one of the approaches to sex in the museum, I would have had a ton of other options to explore. I think this was really well done. A+ MoSex, A+.
3. Visitors. I noticed that I was paying attention to the museum visitors by the end of my visit. I believe there was a bachelorette party, a couple on what seemed to be a very awkward first date (the gentleman gave his lady friend a lift onto a penis mounted to the rock climbing wall, she was very concerned with her skirt, which was barely covering her rear, as she climbed the wall of genitalia), an older couple talking about what they remembered when Deep Throat came out, and quite a few business-type men and women just there taking it all in. It's diverse, and you'll fit right in if you ever decide to go.
1. Check out the website (link below).
2. The gift shop is a great spot to find sex-related books, toys (yep, that kind), and related items. I was really interested in the design of the gift shop with its lighting, textures and sound. If you are an interiors person, you would probably appreciate it. You enter the museum through the gift shop. The museum is upstairs.
3. Exhibits change regularly. Always a sign of a healthy, active museum!
The Museum of Sex
Address: 233 5th Ave. New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 689-6337