One can’t help but feel a little disappointed upon learning that Mumbai’s Antarang Sex Museum, Berlin’s Beate Uhse Erotik Museum and Paris’ Musee de l’Erotisme have all been shuttered. Sex so rarely gets displayed in an educational, public light that those cities all seem a little darker as a result. Nevertheless, we’ve found 10 other cities with some of the best sex museums where you can still get intellectually (and erotically) stimulated, no matter where you find yourself.
Some of them also have LGBTQ exhibits for discerning queer travelers.
Check out 10 of the world’s best sex museums below.
1. Harry Mahoney’s Erotic Heritage Museum (Las Vegas)
Though reviews are mixed for this 24,000 square foot museum, it nevertheless includes a permanent LGBTIQ gallery, a display of Hitler’s mistress’ panties, a Wall of Shame featuring puritanical politicians who got embroiled in their own sex scandals and occasional nights for feminist pornography, the “leather and feathers” burlesque show and naked yoga classes. Last year, the museum also hosted a queer literotica competition with a $1,000 grand prize and a live “Puppetry of the Penis” show where you could see two hunky dudes stretch their weiners into shapes resembling cheeseburgers, wristwatches and even the Eiffel Tower—oooh la la!
2. Museum of Sex (New York City)
Also known as MoSex (though no one actually calls it that), this 5th Avenue Manhattan museum features a permanent exhibition showcasing 150 years worth of explicit sexual imagery and selected pleasure, chastity and BDSM devices throughout the ages. Its current exhibitions also include a look at the sex lives of animals (froggy style, anyone?) and a bouncy castle made of giant inflatable tits. Make sure to enjoy an aphrodisiac concoction at the Disco Lounge bar afterwards; its filled with black-and-white vintage photos.
Professional Catholic joykill William Donohue called MoSex a “museum of smut”, and he’s right, of course. But its extensive research library, video archive and artifact collection for sexual scholars at least makes it an educational museum of smut.
3. Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum (San Francisco)
Museum founder Joani Blank spent over 20 years collecting antique vibrators from flea markets and estate sales before people just started sending them to her. As a result, the museum features all manner of vibrators from late 19th century “medical massagers” designed to cure female hysteria to 1920’s era commercial vibrators sold to women as health aids. Sexologist Carol Queen gives occasional tours for curious museum-goers and the museum is also connected to an actual vibrator and sex shop, if you and your pals feel like curing some hysteria on your own afterwards.
4. Jeju Loveland (South Korea)
Located near the Jeju International Airport, Jeju Loveland isn’t so much a museum as an outdoor sculpture garden with over 140 erotic statues created by art school graduate students from Seoul’s Hongik University—some feature actual fucking whereas many just show genitals in various states of arousal. The garden (which is popular with honeymooners) also has an accompanying museum with rotating exhibits of different Korean artists, hands-on exhibits (like a masturbation bicycle) and a long mashup of sex ed films that will either excite you or totally kill your boner.
5. Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel (Amsterdam)
With rooms named after Oscar Wilde, Mata Hari, the Marquis de Sade and many other famous lovers, the Temple of Venus touts itself as the world’s oldest sex museum and has an extensive collection of erotic images, objects and recordings; they’re mostly paintings, books and sculptures though there’s a few chastity and sexual devices as well, all ranging from antiquity to the modern era.
6. El Museu de L’Erotica (Barcelona)
Barcelona is already a very sexual city — its nightlife has plenty of cruisey clubs and backrooms for you to get a first-hand sexual education. But its Erotic Museum definitely deserves a spot in our list of best sex museums as it adds an artsy academic flair to fucking with permanent exhibits on erotic art ranging from Ancient Greek art and Oriental prints to modern pinups and even the private collection of Spanish monarch King Alfonso XIII. There’s also exhibits on BDSM, a contemplative erotic garden and tours given by a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
7. Leather Archives Museum (Chicago)
Many a queer American scholar has spent time in this 10,000 square foot archive and museum dedicated to “the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of leather, kink, and fetish lifestyles”; in fact, we’ve even visited the museum ourselves. Its permanent collections include a dungeon and uniform rooms, an exhibit on feminist leather culture and a screening room with BDSM flicks on continuous rotation. You can also enjoy a drink at the in-house leather bar or peruse some of its online galleries.
8. MusEros (St. Petersburg)
You might not expect to find a sex museum in a country renowned for its retrogressive laws banning “gay propaganda”, but this compact collection holds nearly 3,000 square feet of permanent exhibits including a room of historic sex machines (including a pleasure chair allegedly used by Catherine the Great); a room of multicultural sexual practices (apparently Trobriand Islanders consider it sexy to nibble a partner’s eye lashes); and a 3D cinema with interactive sex sculptures and eye-popping pornographic films.
9. World Erotic Art Museum (Miami)
When you’re not busy enjoying Miami’s fine beaches and Art Deco architecture, drop in on this collection of 4,000 works of international art spread throughout 20 galleries “ranging from 300 BCE to the immediate present”. Though widely considered random in nature—it has everything from erotic art by Rembrandt, Picasso and Klimt to pornographic comic books and the sculptural murder weapon from Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange—the original collection was curated by Naomi Wilzig, the late curator of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, so you know it’s educational.
10. The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Reykjavik)
Rounding off our list of best sex museums is the IPM in Reykjavik. If you like dicks, you’ll love this museum full of phallic specimens from about 300 mammal species including 56 dongs belonging to 17 different kinds of whale (they’re kinda big, unsurprisingly), one polar bear dick, thirty-six cocks belonging to different kinds of seal and walrus and 115 wangs from 20 different different kinds of land mammals (including humans). There are also folklore specimens of penises used in cultural rituals and a phallocentric art gallery, in case the animal cocks get too real for you.
What did you think of our list of 10 best sex museums around the world? Which was your favorite? Did we miss it? Let us know.
This article was originally published on Feb. 6, 2017
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