About Museum of Sex
Sensuality and prurience are probably not the first things that come to mind when you’re considering a midday jaunt to a museum, but an offbeat adventure with an educational twist might be just the thing to get your day going. Not your everyday cultural institution, the Museum of Sex – also known as MoSex – is the first museum in the United States to present an unhindered educative and sociopolitical exploration of sex to a mainstream audience.
Inspired by New York's sexual diversity and salacious history, and its hard-won sex and gender-related freedoms over centuries, the Museum of Sex dedicates itself to open and honest discourse through a straightforward historical and academic lens. So while you may find yourself entertained and titillated, you might also be surprised at just how much you’ll learn.
Nestled between the Flatiron District and Murray Hill, the Museum of Sex, which opened in 2002, features small-scale exhibits in two narrow galleries. With a total of three floors, it can take an hour and a half to two hours to tour the museum. Your visit actually starts in the first floor gift shop. The MoSex store has something for (almost) everyone, including a wide range of sex toys and paraphernalia, and books like Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, 1000 Pin Up Girls, The Kama Sutra, and a book of photographer Bert Stein’s images of Marilyn Monroe with text by Norman Mailer. Of course, there are also fun and kitschy novelty items like Adult Mad Libs, Penis Pasta and a Gay Wedding Cake Topper, plus a variety of condoms, T-shirts, artwork and bath and body products for men and women.
The first floor also features the museum’s rotating exhibitions, which are switched out every six months or so. Past exhibitions have included “Action: Sex and The Moving Image,” “Kink: Geography of the Erotic Imagination,” “Rubbers: The Life, History & Struggle of the Condom” and “Comics Stripped!” a humorous exploration of the raw imagination of comic artists beginning in the 1930s and up to the present day.
Artifacts and material from the permanent collection can be found in the second floor’s Spotlight Gallery. More than 15,000 pieces were procured for this collection, which includes sex toys from the turn of the 20th Century, prototype sex machines, prints by several artists including legendary New Yorker Keith Haring, clothing and costumes, and a detailed computer-rendered chronology of sex-related inventions throughout history. A fascinating and integral timeline that follows the evolution of sex education in America is also on permanent display.
In addition, the museum boasts not only a research library, but an extensive multimedia collection that includes carefully preserved historical and contemporary footage, along with commentary from scholars and historians, in an effort to examine the ways sex and erotic imagery have influenced not only film and television, but advertising and the Internet as well.
If you’re feeling inspired by what you've seen and read throughout the museum, take advantage of the upper level’s interactive computer station sponsored by the renowned Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, where you can (anonymously!) contribute your own stories, experiences, thoughts and comments.
Be sure to top off your visit by sauntering back downstairs, where you’ll find the lower level’s hidden jewel, the Oral Fix Bar. Indulge in snacks and beverages infused with time-honored aphrodisiacs, and then see where the rest of your day takes you.
The Museum of Sex is a great place to check out with a date, or with an adventurous group of friends.
Good for kids?
Visitors must be 18 or older so leave the younger ones at home for this one. Even though the Museum of Sex is educational, the exhibits can be explicit.
Museum of Sex Location Information:
233 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
N, R to 28th St. (Broadway); 6 to 28th St. (Park Ave.); 1 to 28th St. (Seventh Ave.)
Museum of Sex details
The Oral Fix Bar on the lower level explores the relationship between food and sex with satisfying snacks that include open-faced sandwiches, brownies, blondies and Limoncello Sex Bars, as well as an inventive solid chocolate bar in the shape of lips with pop rocks inside, courtesy of local chocolatier Sweet Bliss. The drink menu of aphrodisiacs offers specialty cocktails, house-made sodas and gourmet Jello shots.