On the list of events in New York that weekend, I saw that the Museum of Sex, which I had been wanting to visit since I moved to New York, was open later on Fridays. I guess I've always been fascinated with the way humans interact with each other, so why not explore another, often-taboo facet of it?
The museum is actually the nation's first museum dedicated to the "preservation and presentation of Human Sexuality," which includes its history, evolution and cultural impact. Opened in 2002, it aims to provide an open, uncensored discourse on sexuality and works with academic researchers at the top of their fields. Learn more about the museum here.
I suggested a trip to AS, and she approved. We would meet at MoSex, as it's known, on Friday night.
As I walked toward the museum, I saw a giant, bright red sign reading 'FUNLAND' floating above it. I did not know what to expect, but I presumed we would laugh a lot. Entering the museum through the minimalist black-and-white gift shop, the first thing I saw were embroidered hand towels with the words 'cum rag' written on them, each towel wrapped in a sweet little gold ribbon. A sense of humor and attention to detail? What more could one ask for in a museum? Especially when engaging with a topic that can often be provoking, opening with a laugh seems like a good way to get everyone acquainted.
Inside, I found AS perusing a modern Kama Sutra book. "Oh hello!" she said, adjusting her glasses. "I was just catching up on my reading."
We paid for our tickets (a 20% discount on RetailMeNot, by the way!), and began perusing the museum's three floors.
There was an interesting exhibition dedicated to Linda Lovelace and the premiere '70s "porn chic" film Deep Throat, featuring photographs of Lovelace by famed photographer Milton H. Greene, an original movie poster, the original film reel and canister, and of course a clip from the film of the titular act. We found ourselves simply uttering a bemused "wow," while watching and continued perusing the other artifacts.
'FUNLAND' was next, and it did not disappoint. After winding our way through a hall of mirrors to find the G-spot (which was actually at the end of the hall in the form of a giant sculpture), we were greeted by a museum attendant in front of a carnival game entitled 'Foreplay Derby.' "How are each of you with a set of balls?" he asked, cheekily nonchalant. The game was a reinvention of Skee-Ball, where a sunk ball in each hole would move an erect penis across a playing board, just like the childhood games of yore that may have featured a water gun and a horse. We both lost to the attendant, happily, amidst many a pun about balls.
But the best part was the bounce house made of boobs. Yes, boobs, of all colors and sizes, on the walls and on the floors of this bounce house. I really couldn't remember the last time I was in one of them, let alone how much I laughed in one like we did. We flung ourselves against the biggest ones in laughter-induced reverie, climbing and pouncing and taking pictures of this utterly ridiculous boob extravaganza.
|AS frolics amongst the boobs|
Their permanent exhibitions were also quite interesting, which included The Sex Lives of Animals (did you know a duck's penis can be anywhere from 13- to 16-inches long, and that there are more than two genders across a variety of species?) and various artworks from throughout history depicting sex, including works by Keith Haring and Pablo Picasso.
Throughout the museum we noticed several people were on dates, interspersed with the occasional foreign tourist. "What a way to get to know someone," AS quipped, and rightfully so. They held their coats in their hands and stared at the exhibits uncomfortably, rarely making eye contact with each other. It's a brave thing to do, I think, with someone you've just met or are just getting to know. You can learn a lot about someone by the way they interact with the exhibitions! As a fabulous friend-duo, we found it to be fun--we laughed, we made ridiculous comments, we learned, and we had a marvelous evening, and even took pictures in their photobooth to commemorate the vist.
In fact, if you follow it with Mexican food and margaritas at the kitschy and delicious but inexpensive Hotel Tortuga (246 E. 14th Street) and head over to dessert cafe Just Sweet for hot bubble tea and chocolate fondue (83 Third Avenue), it might just be the perfect night (providing your date is willing to laugh and learn along with you at MoSex), for friends or otherwise! But you can't take either of us, because we've already been.