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Sex museum

Parent categories: sex - museum

Related: erotic art - sex toys - secret museum

Definition

A sex museum is a museum that displays erotic art, historical sexual aids, and documents on the history of erotica. They were popular in Europe at the end of the 1960s and during the 1970s, the era of the sexual revolution.The Amsterdam red light district boasts a sex museum. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_museum [Sept 2005]

THE ERA OF SEX MUSEUMS

By Marianna Beck and Jack Hafferkamp

By its very nature, erotic art is subversive. Its function always has been to arouse, offend, even shock the viewer and the larger community. Itís not surprising then that museums, especially in the United States, traditionally have steered clear of exhibiting sexual artifacts as well as erotic art. The notion of an entire museum devoted to sex would no doubt strike terror in the hearts of most curators and trigger nightmare thoughts of being trapped forever in Cincinnati.

In Europe, however, where attitudes arenít quite so hysterical and sex is less culturally marginalized, museums devoted to sex and eroticism have mushroomed. From Barcelona to Copenhagen they have enshrined everything from ancient dildos and fertility icons to contemporary interactive sculpture and sex toys. And guess what, they are big hits.

In booming Berlin, for example, the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum attracts a quarter million visitors annually and is one of the top five visited museums in the city, according to Dr. Bernd Buhmann, head of the press and public relations department of Berlin Tourismus. One has only to imagine New York Cityís Mayor Rudy Giuliani beaming over the high tourism rates of a sex museum to savor the vast differences in attitude. Nonetheless, plans are indeed afoot for a New York erotic museum in Spring 2001.

We visited six erotic museums in four cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg and Paris. Each varied dramatically in presentation and content and ranged from a fun-house atmosphere (Amsterdam) to more dignified settings apropos of serious collections (Berlin, Hamburg and Paris). Some were attached to tacky sex toy shops, others to elegant bookstores. Yet all are worth visiting; the objects provide insight into the times and places they were created and appreciated, from Japanese wood block prints and Sumatran fertility figures to 18th-century French lithographs and 19th-century Viennese condoms, through 20th-century art, artiface and excess. --http://www.libidomag.com/datebook/sexmuseums.html [Sept 2004]

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