It’s been a bit of a hedonistic weekend – a gluttonous picnic, gorging myself at the Vendys and a fair few beers last night – so this afternoon I decided to continue the theme with a trip to the Museum of Sex.
I had expected the museum, which is at Madison Square Park, to cover the history of hanky panky – from hieroglyphics and fertility statues to the karma sutra – with some scientific studies thrown in. Instead, the snug, two-floor museum showed a selection of perverse art and an exhibit about sex in the animal kingdom.
The latter was really interesting. Who knew that animals had threesomes, that homosexuality exists among all species, that some animals switch genders depending on social cues, that camels use sand to pleasure themselves, that there are documented cases of male ducks killing other male ducks and raping the corpses?
While this section of the museum was really thorough and full of interesting facts, I also left feeling a little nauseous. I mean, have you ever seen a duck’s peen? (Look away now if you never want to.)
Unfortunately, I wasn’t that taken by the rest of the exhibition. The first floor was filled with art pieces – including videos and word clouds – that looked at how the internet has changed our relationship with sex. While some of it was interesting – like a Facebook conversation between Anthony Weiner and one of his online mistresses – it was also repetitive. It was very graphic and sordid and, call me old fashioned, but none of the exhibit looked at what getting it on is about to so many people.
The museum missed out on so many opportunities. Where was the history? The psychology and research? The relationships? And the much nicer stuff?
I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I’ve done this year but the Museum of Sex was really disappointing. New York’s museums are of such a high caliber and this just didn’t match up. I think the idea has such potential, but instead it relies on its name to sell tickets. Which are definitely not worth $18 each.