One of the more risque additions to New York City culture is the museumofsex, an entire museum dedicated to the thrills, censorship, and history of sexuality. This is an impressive experiment in human sexuality, one that isn't perfect but is quite intriguing. The museum has three exhibitions running at a time (discussed below), along with a gift shop that has items you will most definitely not find in any other museum.

The first exhibition there is "Kink: Geography of the Erotic Imagination." This gives an overview of the more, well, kinky elements of sexuality. These include not only "popular" activities like s&m, group sex, and (as featured on the show C.S.I.) furries and infantalism, but more unusual activities: macrophiles (gigantic women), sploshing (thrills from tossing around food -- gotta love the sign "I am pisexual"), and being turned on by inflating balloons. In addition to the descriptions and visual aids, this exhibition includes several tactile props, allowing visitors to feel and try out some of the accessories for the kinks.

Next is "Action: Sex and the Moving Image." Here the museum examines the role of sexuality in cinema. While there are adult-only movies here -- from the early stag films to current porn -- the role of sexuality in mainstream movies is also looked at. You can see how sexuality is treated in "acceptable" and "unacceptable" ways, how it ruled "sexploitation" films, and how it surfaces in serious films like 9 1/2 Weeks and The Brown Bunny. And as you might expect, there are numerous video clips playing to illustrate each area being covered.

Finally the museumofsex has its continuing "Spotlight on the Permanent Collection." This is a hodgepodge of various sexual items always present at the museumofsex . You'll see some of the 19th-century anatomy books that provided the only information available at the time on human sexuality; you'll see sex toys that are technologically advanced; you'll see movie clips and kinky fashions. There's no theme to this exhibit, but it's always fun to see again!

My biggest complaint with the museumofsex is brevity. Each segment of each exhibition is summarized in a few paragraphs on the wall, there are a couple of items illustrating that, and that's it. At times this feels like an introduction rather than an exploration of the area of sexuality it's covering; and while you could spend weeks at many NYC museums and still barely scratch the surface of their contents, you can breeze through the entire museumofsex in an hour or two. Perhaps if the museum moves to a bigger space this problem will be solved.

So if you're looking for a fun, mature way to spend an hour or two in NYC, I recommend the museumofsex . (Before going, though, visit their website for a $5 coupon on the entrance fee.) As long as you're not easily shocked or offended, you'll have a blast! And you never know what fun stuff you'll find in the gift shop...

Reviewed by James Lynch

233 5th AveNew York, NY 10016
(212) 689-6337

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