Educational, informative and eye-opening, sex museums offer the general public an opportunity to examine erotic art, sexual aids and ancient porn from some unusual times and places.
Though sex museums are declining from their heyday, there are still plenty of great locations to enjoy some titivation.
From Amsterdam to Japan, the USA to Barcelona, we take a look at some of the best sex museums in the world including an entire museum in Iceland dedicated to the penis.
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Erotic Heritage Museum
3275 Sammy Davis Jr Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Opened by Harry Mahoney, founder of the US strip club chain, Déjà vu, the Erotic Heritage Museum (EHM) is a 24,000 sq ft space containing a vast collection of erotic memorabilia, art and artifacts. The collection is diverse and covers both contemporary pieces as well as historical items. The museum is recognized as an important educational facility as well as being a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can experience immersive exhibits such as the ‘Sex in Space’ display as well as view erotic photographs, sketches and paintings. There are plenty of sculptures, historic artifacts and sex aids as well as a modern homage to the Nevada brothel, The Chicken Ranch.
The EHM is also home to the popular show, ‘Puppetry of the Penis’ and regularly holds meet and greets, readings and symposiums. Opened in 2008, the Erotic Heritage Museum also has a large (and very popular) souvenir shop in the lobby.
The museum is open daily from 11.00am until 10.00pm (closing at 7.00pm, Monday to Wednesday). Admission is charged at $30 (locals and members receive a 50% reduction).
Temple of Venus, Sex Museum
Damrak 18, 1012 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands
One of the world’s first modern sex museums, the Temple of Venus opened its doors in 1985 and is one of Amsterdam’s most popular visitor attractions. Attracting around 675,000 people each year, the Venustempel displays a huge collection of artifacts, prints and media across two adjoining historic houses in Amsterdam. The owners originally opened up their small personal collection to tourists not knowing whether there would be a market for their pieces. They needn’t have worried as visitors were eager to get a glimpse of the erotica and to learn more about the way sex has been depicted, portrayed and documented through the ages.
The museum houses a wide range of artifacts from classical antiquity to modern day with some particularly rare examples of our cultural and carnal history. From the Roman stone phallus to medieval chastity belts, Chinese instructional books and erotic toilet seats, the Temple of Venus has an exciting and eclectic collection.
The Temple of Venus sex museum is open daily from 9.30am to 11.30pm and costs €4 for entry.
The Museum of Sex, New York
233 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Opened in 2002, the New York Museum of Sex offers a very different experience to the Dutch Sex Museum. Hosting a large collection of artifacts, the collection varies as exhibits are put together to display a wider cultural commentary on the nature of sex, eroticism and sexuality. The museum’s trust hopes to educate as well as inform and have tried to avoid simply creating a collection of oddities. Appealing to a more scholarly crowd, past exhibitions include ‘The Sex Lives of Animals’, ‘My Life Ruined by Sex: The Works of William Kent’ and ‘Obscene Diary: The Secret Archive of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Pornographer’.
The collection comprises over 20,000 pieces including ephemera, art, costumes and a range of multimedia.
The New York Museum of Sex is open as follows:
- Monday to Thursday: 10.00am to 9.00pm
- Friday and Saturday: 10.00am to 11.00pm
- Sunday: 11.00am to 9.00pm
Admission is $17.50 before 1pm during the week and $20.50 at all other times.
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 54, 1012 DP Amsterdam, Netherlands
There aren’t that many cities that can lay claim to two sex museums and, of course, Amsterdam is one of them. The Erotic Museum is part of the Janot Entertainment Group which runs the world-famous Banana Bar and Casa Rosso. Founded in the 1980s, the museum comprises a varied collection of art, media and unusual objects. One floor is entirely dedicated to sadomasochism.
There are some interesting souvenirs that you can pick up in the gift shop as well as erotic art to take home.
The museum is open daily from 11.00am and closes at 1.00am (2.00am on Fridays and Saturdays). Admission is charged at €7.
Sex Machines Museum
Melantrichova 476/18, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Dedicated entirely to mechanical and electrical devices used for sex, the Sex Machines Museum in Prague is the only one of its kind in the world. Containing over 200 machines, the museum was opened in 2002 and covers an area of 600 sq. m over three floors.
The museum’s collection is extensive and covers modern machines as well as antique devices including anti-masturbation equipment. There is also an erotic cinema on site showing vintage pornographic films.
The museum is open daily from 10.00am to 11.00pm with admission for over 18s only being charged at CZK 250 (approximately €9.50).
Erotic Museum of Barcelona
La Rambla, 96 bis, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
The Erotic Museum of Barcelona was opened in 1997 and is one of the city’s more popular tourist attractions. Housing around 800 pieces, the collection spans the globe covering the ancient Japanese art, the Kama Sutra and Spanish pornographic cinema. The latter includes film taken from the private collection of King Alfonso XIII.
The Erotic Museum’s permanent collection includes art, sexual records and curiosities as well as examples of fetishism, pin up culture, Picasso and ancient phallic tradition. The erotic garden is an interesting addition to the collection and features phallic plants as well as some interesting garden ornaments. You’ll never look at a cactus in the same way again…
The museum is open daily from 10.00am to 12.00am with admission being charged at €9.
World Erotic Art Museum
1205 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Founded in 2005, the WEAM is dedicated to collecting erotic fine art and has over 4000 exhibits. Ranging from 300 BC right up to modern day, the collection includes erotic etchings by Rembrandt, sculpture by Botero and works by Picasso. The breadth of the pieces is considered by many to be one of the best collections of its kind in the world and the museum is a popular academic attraction as well as tourist hot spot.
Put together by the Museum’s Director, Naomi Wilzig, the diverse collection covers an area of 12,000 sq. ft. and includes a diverse range of contemporary pieces as some rare one-off artifacts.
The museum is open as follows:
- Monday to Thursday: 11.00am to 10.00pm
- Friday to Sunday: 11.00am to 12.00am
Admission is €15.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum
Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
Though not strictly speaking a sex museum, this curious and singular museum in Reykjavik is dedicated to the humble penis. Founder and historian Sigurður Hjartarson was given a bull’s penis in 1974 and a lifelong fascination began. Starting his collection with whale penises, Hjartarson now has a penile specimen of every single mammal native to Iceland, including the homo sapiens. Yes, the museum has an actual human penis, donated by an Icelander. With 282 examples of the penis from 93 species of animal plus a further 350 curios relating to the theme, this unique collection is open to visitors of all ages but children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
The museum is open daily from 10.00am to 6.00pm with admission being charges at 1500 ISK (approximately €12.50).
Leather Archives and Museum
6418 N Greenview Ave, Chicago, IL 60626, USA
Dedicated to displaying a collection of leather, fetish, BDSM and kinky props and costume, the LAM in Chicago was opened in 1991.
Housing a range of pieces across the site, including a dungeon room, the museum has examples of Leather Bars, body play and the personal papers of some major figures in the fetish and BDSM lifestyle scene.
An auditorium regularly screens film footage as well as hosting workshops, special exhibitions and performances. The L&M regularly displays the work of guest artists and is acknowledged as the only such museum in the world, preserving a niche world of sex to educate, inform and entertain.
The museum is open as follows:
- Monday to Wednesday: Closed
- Thursday and Friday: 11.00am to 7.00pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 11.00am to 5.00pm
Admission is charged at $10.
New Arbat Ave, 15, Moskva, Russia, 119002
Opened in 2011, G Spot is Russia’s first sex museum and is home to a collection of more than 3000 exhibits. Known as Tochka G, the works range from contemporary art to antique artifacts and include representations of sex and genitalia from across the world. Some pieces of note include the Kama Sutra chess set, a leather armchair with an inset and rideable dildo and BDSM furniture.
The museum has a few interactive displays including a giant rodeo penis as well as a large range of sex toys in the souvenir shop.
The museum is open daily from midday to midnight. Admission costs 500 RUB (approximately €7.50).
2894-72 1100(Cheonbaek)-ro, Yeon-dong, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
Opened in 2004, this outdoor sculpture park contains over 140 pieces depicting humans in a wide range of sexual positions. The main theme of the park is sex but there is a strong educational factor running here too. All of the pieces are contemporary and were originally created by graduates from the Hongik University. Featured pieces contain include a large labia, interactive ‘masturbation cycle’ artwork and moving sculptures.
A ‘place where the imagination can run wild’, Jeju Loveland also has regular exhibitions by local artists.
The museum is open daily from 9.00am to midnight.
8-15 Wadahama Minami-cho, Atami 413-0023, Japan
Once an extremely popular site around Japan, sex museums are on the decline. Private collections that are open to the public, these museums are known as Hihokan (or Hidden House of Treasures) and there are still a few worth seeing. The Atami Hihokan features several great exhibits including the whale penis, the hot spring Geisha and the tandem sex bike.
The museum is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm every day with admittance being 1700 YEN (roughly $15).
Featured image via Museum of Sex, NYC.