What I learned at the Sex Museum: Everything has been done. And photographed.
***WARNING – ADULT CONTENT AHEAD!!! *** IF YOU ARE EASILY DISTRESSED YOU MIGHT WANT TO GIVE IT A MISS ***
From the official sea-green Vespa parked outside to the cheery chocolate penis candles, the Amsterdam Sex Museum is well worth 3 Euros.
The museum has a wealth of visual displays and every surface is plastered with something embarrassing to look at.
I have divided the items in the museum into three categories:
1. Ancient sculptures and artifacts.
2. Professional and private photographs.
The photographs are organized in chronological order and what I learned is that everything under the sun has been done, possibly by your grandma. The invention of the camera wasn’t the beginning of pornography but it certainly helped it take off. And it’s not all innocent 1950s pin-up girls – the walls of the museum are filled with men and women doing dirty dirty things to themselves and others. The only photos I found shocking, the pictures that caused me to wince and say “Agh!” were the 1960s photos of women displaying major bush. I’m talking scary hairy alien caterpillar creatures that could swallow a bottle of Nair and laugh. I am thankful third wave feminism embraces economic equality, Title Nine AND scissors.
The most crowded place in the museum was a hot, dimly lit back room featuring BDSM and unusual sex acts. There was a sign on the entrance door warning people to not complain about being offended. The most hilarious thing was the note informing visitors that anal sex was invented by Americans in the 1970s. I’m guessing that’s a mis-translation and it was supposed to refer to anal sex porn movies. I was bothered that although most off the displays showed both men and women, gay and straight, doing all sorts of interesting things to their bodies, only women were pictured having sex with animals. It’s not like I was waving the pro-bestiality flag prior to this; I never spent any time thinking about it because I had never actually seen any. In this context it became quite obvious that it makes me very uncomfortable and not in a good way. I just can’t wrap my head around any woman getting any kind of pleasure out of dog sex. And I don’t want to hear that she was well compensated – a woman who needs money badly enough to suck donkey penis is not a person in a good bargaining position. I did get a kick out of one memorable photo of a 50s-era blonde woman smiling and looking fondly at the giant horse cock hanging by her head.
3. Unusual modern art pieces and displays.
This Marilyn Monroe display is unusual because she is clothed. There’s a fan that periodically blows her skirt up but I didn’t feel like standing around to get the picture when there were so many naked things to see.
Many of the displays were of life-sized modern and ye olden days people performing sex acts on one another. The most notable was a creepy red-faced man who winks at passersby, then slides forward and opens his trench coat. Classy. I should note that the displays in the museum were mostly Eurocentric, but it’s not the Tokyo Sex Museum or the World Sex Museum, it’s the Amsterdam Sex Museum.
I would have appreciated a bit more educational information – more dated title plaques for instance or information about the history of sex. Yeah, I say that now but in fact I hardly read anything. The Husband commented on several funny things he had read and I was like, “Oh. I guess I missed that.” Apparently I was too busy staring at the pre-photography-age illustration of the woman operating a dildo machine with changeable “heads” that thrust into her in doggy-style and had a bonus feature of a little white-gloved hand that tickled her between the shoulder blades. Scratching her itch, ha ha. Porn used to be so much more clever.
Don’t worry – I didn’t forget the chastity belts. Everybody loves those. So far I’ve had 771 1,496 hits (17% 25% of my traffic) just for one hastily written post (Layover in Amsterdam) featuring two pictures of one creepy spiky chastity belt from the lobby of the Sex Museum. I am proud to say my pictures now come up 13th and 17th for the Google Images search “chastity belt.” So, I made a point of looking for photo ops – which wasn’t easy! These two belts were in a display case halfway down a flight of stairs. I had to stand in the corner and wait out a man who stood there FOREVER staring and staring and staring. I learned that chastity belts were recommended by doctors into the late 1800s because of concerns women were masturbating too much. By “too much” I’m guessing they meant “ever.”
In case you want to crap in fun Play-Doh shapes.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the museum was how somber everyone behaved. No one appeared to be having fun. It was like being in a tomb or perhaps a memorial service for the fading cock of the Cerne Abbas Giant. I definitely wished I had my peeps with me. If only Skoopy and Bubbles had been along to liven things up. I was tempted to tap one man on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me – you do realize you are using your Very Serious Face to stare at a statue of Bacchus having sex with a goat while tickling her chin? Just checking.”
On the way out I was very glad to pass a group of young British women who had just entered the museum and were laughing loudly and snapping pictures of the bakery display.
Really, I just don’t understand how anyone can be serious while sitting next to this.