For millennia, eroticism has been the subject of artistic and cultural representations with the aim not only of provoking sexual arousal, but often also of educating about sexuality. In fact, erotic art’s cardinal principle is to glorify bodies and sex in all their types and nuances, most often becoming the bearer of messages of inclusiveness and respect.
Throughout the world (and even in Italy) there are several sex museums that house a wide range of artworks, artifacts, and historical documents aimed at exploring the theme of eroticism across cultures and eras. Some are more generalist, while others are dedicated to a particular aspect of sexuality and the body. For example, there are some museums that aim to create culture around female anatomy and sexuality, while others are dedicated to LGBTQIA+ eroticism.
In this article we explore 10 of the world’s most interesting sex museums. Continue reading now.
Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas
The Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas is one of the largest and most comprehensive sex museums in the world. The museum offers an educational and interactive experience through exhibits on different cultures and their erotic expressions, as well as various nods to social and political issues related to eroticism.
The museum’s collection features many ancient pieces that show how sex was represented in the past. There is no shortage of topical exhibits such as the “Wall of Shame,” the wall on which all the sex scandals of political figures are chronicled.
Barcelona Erotic Museum
The “Museu de l’Eròtica” is a sex museum located in the heart of Barcelona and houses a collection of erotic artworks ranging from antiquity to the present day.
In this museum there is a space dedicated to “Homo Art” with originals and reproductions that provide historical and chronological continuity of homosexual art.
The museum also offers a wide range of events and activities, including erotic film screenings and temporary exhibitions.
Amsterdam Sex Museum – Venustempel (Temple of Venus)
A short walk from Amsterdam’s Dam Square, in the heart of the city’s famous red-light district, is the Sex Museum (Venustempel – Temple of Venus), one of the oldest and most famous sex museums in the world.
The museum is divided into several sections that explore the history of eroticism and human sexuality, including sexuality in antiquity, sex in the East, sexuality in the modern era, and pornography.
The Sex Museum also offers an interactive experience, with an area dedicated to erotic games, where visitors can try out some of the equipment and exhibits.
There are several temporary exhibitions that this Dutch sex museum organizes, including exhibitions on BDSM culture.
The Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) in Chicago.
Chicago’s LA&M is a museum dedicated to the leather subculture, a community of people who share a passion for leather clothing, fetish fashion and BDSM practice.
Founded in 1991 by LGBTQ+ activist and entrepreneur Chuck Renslow, this museum was created to preserve and document the history and culture of leather and the American queer community.
The Leather Sex Museum houses an extensive collection of documents, photographs, films and objects (such as leather clothing, jackets, pants, gloves, masks, boots and various accessories). There is clearly no shortage of objects related to BDSM practice such as whips, collars, and handcuffs.
One area of the museum houses a library and archive on texts related to the LGBTQ+ community.
Penis Museum in Iceland
The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, Iceland, is a museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, and display of more than 280 penises of various mammal species, including polar bears, whales, porpoises, reindeer, Arctic foxes, and even a human penis by an Icelandic named Pall Arason in 2011.
Founded in 1997 by an Icelandic teacher, who began collecting penises after receiving one as a joke during his school career, this museum has fostered the study of male intimate anatomy, while sparking much discussion about Icelandic culture and the ethics of collecting animal penises.
Vagina Museum in London
The Vagina Museum in London is located in Camden and is the world’s first museum dedicated to the anatomy, physiology, and culture of vaginas and vulvas.
The main goal of the museum is to promote knowledge and understanding of female sexuality, as well as to combat the stigma and taboos that often surround the word “vagina” itself, as well as its representation.
Inside the museum, visitors can find a variety of interactive exhibits, including anatomical exhibits, artwork and cultural, scientific, and cultural objects, as well as information on issues of sexual health, women’s rights, and the LGBTQ+ community.
Admission to the museum is free, but you can make a donation to support the various activities, events, lectures and workshops organized by the nonprofit association that founded the Vagina Museum.
Black House in Chiang Rai (Thailand)
The Black House (or Baan Dam in Thai), built in Chiang Rai, is not really a sex museum: however, you will see more penises and vaginas here than in the rest of your life!
It is a museum facility that houses an extensive collection of artwork by renowned local artist Thawan Duchanee, including vagina-shaped rooms, penis-shaped handles and wooden phalluses.
The museum consists of a complex of buildings in the traditional architectural style, but contrary to what the name might suggest (Black House), the structures are not painted black, but rather with various dark colors and shades of brown.Each of these buildings presents a different atmosphere, from the more eerie decorated with animal bones and skins to the more relaxing and exciting with soft lighting.
Sex Machine Museum in Prague
The Sex Machine Museum in Prague is a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys (sex toys), machines and tools for sexual pleasure.
On 3 floors and 600 square meters, visitors can admire the vast collection of items including vibrators, dildos, masturbators, as well as more unusual devices such as electric anti-masturbation devices and chastity belts.
There is also a movie theater inside the museum that shows erotic black-and-white films.
Admission to the museum is charged, but discounts are available for students and groups. It is certainly a tourist destination suitable for an adult audience and, above all, open to sexuality.
Corporea in Naples – interactive museum of the human body
Naples is home to “Corporea,” Europe’s first interactive museum dedicated to the themes of health, science, biomedical technologies and prevention. Inside there is also a section dedicated to sexuality and genital anatomy, which aims to illustrate to the public how the male and female reproductive system works, without neglecting references to education and affectivity.
Temporary exhibitions, interactive workshops and meetings with experts on sex-related topics are often organized by the Corporea Museum.
“Comics” in Turin – Manga and erotic comics
At the XXVII edition of Torino Comics (April 14-16, 2023 at Lingotto Fiere in Turin), the Red Zone, an area dedicated to erotic comics, information and awareness of sexuality issues, opens.
Two, in particular, are the exhibitions dedicated to comics: “The Masters of Italian Eros,” which collects 10 plates by some of the greatest Italian cartoonists; “The Masters of Japanese Eros,” where 10 plates by Japanese mangaka with an erotic theme are exhibited, Another exhibition present is “Sensuability,” which exhibits works dedicated to the common thread linking disability and sexuality, a theme that is developed through the languages of comics, cinema and painting.