Museum of Sex.

Sophia Trzcinski

I lost my Museum of Sex virginity, and not unlike one’s first time having sex, the expectation was more pleasing than the reality. I first heard about this museum from my boyfriend, when I walked in on him using a cum rag… to dry his hands. It was from the Museum of Sex—a black dish towel with “Cum Rag” embroidered on it in gold thread.

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The hunt for this towel was one of my main motivators for going to the museum, but all I found was a lesser version of it, designed with a comic-sans-esque font in only black or white embroidery. The rest of the gift shop, however, did not leave me with blue-balls the way the cum rag did.

The gift shop was complete with standard Museum of Sex memorabilia, genitalia candy, and LGBTQ+ pride apparel. On top of that, it was also a full-blown sex shop—there were even several sex educators standing by, patiently waiting to help both the committed sex-toy enthusiasts and curious first-timers alike.

After several impulsive purchases, I finally made it into the actual museum through a vaginal canal (read: dark hallway). As I ascended three dim flights of stairs, I was swept with a sensation reminiscent of entering a nightclub—I had the same nervous energy and the promise of sex on my mind.

The first exhibit spanks you with erect penises and hairy vulvas from the get-go (not that I’m complaining): projected on the opposite wall of the entrance foyer was a compilation video of silent hard-core pornos in black and white from between 1900 and 1930. I don’t want to kiss and tell too much, but I will say that this exhibit takes you through the early history of the pornographic film, both good and bad. It emphasizes just how much pornography aided in sexual liberation for marginalized groups and also how it perpetuated misogyny and heteronormativity in the realm of sexuality and sexual pleasure.

The portion of the museum that really got me wet (and if this exhibit was a stripper I would have tipped her well) was the Leonor Fini exhibit on the second floor. Fini’s art, created all throughout the 19th century, is very surrealist. She depicts erotic images of female bodies, androgynous bodies, and even animal bodies, all tangled together in some certain pieces, or, in others, sitting away from each other, looking pious with their hunched backs and eyes that watch you watch them. The exhibit included acrylic paintings, two films (a documentary and an art film based on her life), and even lithographs from a graphic novel she wrote about a woman joining a sadism and masochism sex group. From the documentary footage, it’s clear to me she had that Big Clit Energy.

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The Punk Lust exhibit—while a cool concept—made me feel more like I was walking into a Spirit Halloween store than a raunchy revamp of a 1980s punk record shop. A barrage of mismatched sounds came from all directions of the large room. Life-sized white mannequins outfitted in infamous torn-up punk garb watched over the exhibit floor, which was embellished with a barbed-wire pattern. To me, it seemed more like an exhibit on punk and its aesthetics, with sexual imagery from the era and the artists/bands scattered throughout, than a showcase of punk pornography. All of the punks were white or white-passing, and honestly, as much as the exhibit called to the thirteen-year-old punk girl still living inside of me, I found it  anticlimactic and not as progressive as I expected… not to mention that the bathrooms are also near this exhibit, and those are about as binary as they come.

The last section of the museum is what I affectionately refer to as the Big Titty Bounce-house, which is literally a bounce house with inflatable boobs all along the walls, floor, and ceiling. Here, for an additional $3.25, you can jump and bump against all shapes, sizes, and colors of breasts.

And... that’s it. The Museum of Sex is only three exhibits large, currently, as I believe they are unconstruction and usually have more exhibits open. Not counting the Big Titty Bounce-house, each of which only encompassed three rectangular rooms. I definitely recommend venturing into the shop portion of the museum (the street entrance lands you right in the gift shop) and checking out the Fini exhibit... but if it weren’t for the Fini room, I would say avoid the admissions fee, skip the museum exhibitions altogether, follow the instagrams (@museumofsex and @museumofsexnow) to find images to update your Spank Bank, and embroider your own “Cum Rag.”