Valentine’s Day tribute: Sex museums around the world

sex museumsAh, Valentine’s Day. It’s a loaded holiday, one with high expectations. This year, though, I got into the spirit of things: I decided to rustle up a list of the world’s great sex museums. Even if you can’t pay a visit, their websites are informative and loaded with photos of exhibits. And best of all? You can indulge all by yourself, no relationship needed.

Erotic Heritage Museum, Las Vegas
The somewhat bizarre collaboration of a “Preacher and a Pornographer,” this pleasure palace houses over 17,000 square feet of artistically expressive erotica. Behold, ye Larry Flynt and “Ho-Down Mural” exhibitions.

Sex Machines Museum, Prague
Call me a perv, but how cool is this? A museum devoted entirely to the history and display of, to quote the website, “mechanical erotic appliances, the purpose of which is to bring pleasure and allow extraordinary and unusual positions during intercourse.” Okey dokey. There’s also a small theater for viewing old erotic cinema.

Museum of Sex, New York
It may not be the among the best-known of the city’s museums, but this monument to sex education, history, and cultural significance isn’t just for academics. It’s a good time, too. With rotating exhibits and virtual installations on everything from the “Sex Lives of Animals” and “Kink,” to a tribute to American pin-up photography, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to stop at the OralFix Aphrodisiac Cafe for an erotic elixir.

Sexmuseum Amsterdam
The Dutch are known for their rather laid-back attitude toward things the rest of the world tends to frown upon, which is one reason they’re so much fun. The famed “Venustempel” in Amsterdam is focused on “the theme of sensual love.” And hey–the four euro entry fee is a lot cheaper than the Red Light District.

Museu de l’erotica, Barcelona
Dedicated to the exploration of erotica in all its various forms: anthropological, archaeological, sociological, artistic, literary, and something called “plastic arts.” Hm. Located in Barcelona’s architecturally stunning La Rambla neighborhood.

[Photo credit: Flickr user SWANclothing]

sex museumsThe Icelandic Phallological Museum, Husavik (northern island)
This collection of over “two hundred and nine penises and penile parts” represents nearly all of the land and marine animals native to Iceland. Not as creepy as it sounds, the museum provides a base for modern research on the study of phallology. If that offends you, please consider the multi-billion-dollar male sexual enhancement/aid industry.
[Photo credit: Elín Eydís Friðriksdóttir]

World Erotic Art Museum, Miami
WEAM is home to the largest collection of erotic art in the United States, including sculpture and art objects. Rest assured it’s a lot more tasteful than what you’ll see parading on Ocean Drive.

Musee de l’Erotisme, Paris
Paris. Sex. Art. Need I say more?

China Sex Museum, Tongli
Located 50 miles outside of Shanghai in a former fishing village, this museum is dedicated to “over 9,000 years of Chinese sexual history,” with over 1,500 exhibits and artifacts. I am most definitely curious about the “Women and marriage” exhibit. Does it have a headache?

Condom Museum, Nonthaburi (approximately one hour from…hee…Bangkok)
The Ministry of Public Health opened this little museum, located in the Department of Medical Sciences building, in 2010. Its purpose is to develop awareness about HIV/AIDS and eliminate negative public perception about condom use (ironic, given that Thailand is the world’s largest producer of condoms).

If all that condomizing leaves you famished, perhaps you’d like to grab dinner at Cabbages & Condoms in Bangkok? Founder Mechai Viravaidya is a sexual awareness activist who has promoted condom use for the last 30 years. Partial proceeds go toward projects for the Population and Community Development Association (PDA). Watch Mechai give a restaurant tour and explain his mission in the below clip. Have a “safe” Valentine’s Day!


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Thailand’s new PC Air first airline in country to hire transsexual flight attendants

transsexual flight attendantsBeing the hostess with the mostess just got more competitive. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Thailand’s newest airline, PC Air, is raising the bar on airline personnel. It’s the first Thai airline to hire transsexual flight attendants, as part of a pioneering effort to redefine equal rights within the industry. PC Air is slated to debut in April, running charter flights across Asia. The airline has already hired six transsexual crew members, including Thanyarat ‘Film’ Jiraphatpakorn, winner of the Miss Tiffany Universe Transsexual beauty pageant in 2007. Over 100 transsexual people applied during the first round of hiring.

Thailand has one of the world’s largest transsexual, or “third sex” populations, and its surgeons have achieved a global reputation for providing relatively affordable, easily accessible sex change operations (which pertain to the transgender, not transsexual, population). PC Air doesn’t require sexual reassignment surgery; rather, applicants need to meet criteria that include language and customer service skills.

While many Thai transsexuals are involved in prostitution or more legitimate forms of entertainment, PC Air’s president, Peter Chan, wants to provide more opportunity for the trans community. “I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess…When it’s their dream job or the job they love, they can do it even better,” he says. “Our society has changed — it’s evolution. I’m a pioneer, and I’m sure there will be (other) organizations following my idea.”

Spain cracks down on hookers, requires vests for streetwalkers

It’s not the same as Amsterdam, and it’s much different from flipping through the Yellow Pages (do people still do that) here in New York for an attractive “escort service.” Spain does things differently, especially outside Els Alamus (in Catalonia). If you want to find some temporary companionship, look for the yellow fluorescent vests … at least, that’s what The Telegraph says.

The prostitutes have gotten a bit lazy about this, and the police are cracking down. A 2004 law requires that pedestrians on major highways wear “high visibility garments,” The Telegraph reports. That means all walkers – including street-walkers. The story continues:

A spokesman for the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra said: “In the past couple of months the prostitutes have been fined for two reasons: for not wearing the reflective jacket and for creating danger on the public highway.”

Some believe that the town of Els Alamus is anti-hooker, as the bright-vest enforcement wave comes on the heels of a measure to ban “offering sex for sale in public urban areas.” In Spain, prostitution isn’t illegal, but it is a distinctly entrepreneurial affair: one can’t profit from another person’s sex work (basically, you can’t pimp, but you can work for yourself).

So, what can the hookers do instead of hit the streets? How about get a room?

[photo by indi.ca via Flickr]

Get off a cruise and into custody: Passenger wrongly nailed as hooker

What do you do when your mom is arrested for prostitution? Well, you probably claim that she didn’t do it. After all, she’s your mom, and nobody admits to guilt on these things anyway. If you were Paola Londono’s kid, you’d actually be right to proclaim her innocence.

Thanks to a clerical error in the Osceola County Sheriff’s office, Londono, from Orlando, was arrested when she stepped off a cruise ship for allegedly making a living in the world’s oldest profession. She spent more than 36 hours in the Broward County pokey, because she had the same name as the actual suspect, who is seven years younger … five inches taller and 40 pounds lighter. The younger Londono is going to face charge of heroin possession and possession of drug paraphernalia – in addition to prostitution.

[photo by indi.ca via Flickr]

Philly no longer top spot for airline hotel hookers

It’s not often a worker at the airport makes you feel good … and it seems like the party’s over for the good people passing through the City of Brotherly Love.

The police ended the fun by arresting nine people this week. They’re being called a “prostitution ring,” but that just seems so negative. Rather, they appear to me to be dedicated to putting smiles on faces in airport hotels.

When’s the last time you smiled in an airport?

So, while we know it’s an airport hotel, we don’t know which one is hooker-heaven: the police are holding back the details. For frequent business travelers, however, this shouldn’t pose a big problem: just stay at a different one on each trip through. Eventually, you’ll find someone to help you turn that frown upside down!

Can you identify a prostitute? USA Today wants to know! Head over to the original story and let them know if you’re savvy enough to pick up the key signs.

[photo by Rodrigo Favera via Flickr]