After many failed attempts to convince my friend Kate not to move out of New York City, I most recently tried once more, perhaps somewhat misguidedly, at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. Filled with obscene and sometimes disturbing images and exhibits, it’s a place a 17 year-old boy would probably love and a grown woman would have many mixed feelings about, but mainly upset. If I’ve learned anything from my previous missions with Kate, it’s that the potential for things to go wrong and to push her further away is high. How could a museum where one of the main exhibits focused on an artist many have called a “perverted monster” possibly send my feminist friend to another state?
The last and only other time I had been to the Museum of Sex was roughly 11 years ago. At the time it seemed somewhat rebellious to be surrounded by old timey sex machines and graphic mangas with girls covered in ejaculate. I was legally an adult then, mentally still a child. But with time comes maturity. Maybe. When I got to the Museum of Sex this time around, I waited for Kate and our friend in the gift shop where I found emoji vibrators. “Aww, these are cute,” I thought, and took a picture. Is this what being a mature woman in her 30’s looks like? Looking at the other clientele in the gift shop, it was about what you’d expect; some NYU students who probably thought it would be “a real gas” (that’s how the youth speak) to go to a museum all about fucking, some couples who were probably trying to spice things up, a few tourists with huge cameras strapped around their necks, and after Kate and our friend Casey arrived, there was also us. Where we fit into this group is hard to say. I guess you could classify us under “group of friends who are 33% sure they’re moving to another city.”
Our first glimpse of the actual museum was the exhibit “The Incomplete Araki,” which took us on an uncensored tour of the works of the aforementioned “perverted monster,” Nobuyoshi Araki. A floor plus filled with images of women naked, bound and gagged, hanging upside from ceilings with ropes cutting into parts of their bodies definitely seems has a place in the age of the #MeToo movement. But it’s the wrong place. You walk into the room and they pose the question “Is he a genius or demented?” and I’m landing on demented. The descriptions of him repeatedly coming close to or actually crossing the line with the subjects of his photographs only further confirmed that this guy was gross. We spent the bulk of our time in this exhibit making disgusted faces, looking for pictures of cats (because for some reason those were also sprinkled in there), and trying to find the exit. This was not going to make Kate stay. It may make her leave the country. We had to move on to another exhibit if we wanted to salvage the evening.
Where the Araki exhibit was on one side of the #MeToo spectrum, the next exhibit, “NSFW: The Female Gaze,” was on the complete other end. It’s as if the museum itself grew a conscience and knew it had to atone for its sins of putting cute cat pictures in close proximity to pictures of women being subjected to torture for the benefit of a man’s “art.” NSFW was pictures of sexuality from the female-identifying perspective, which meant one of the porns was about a woman masturbating to a fantasy about a guy she sat next to at a bus stop. Ya know, real mature lady stuff. At least I think it is because as I mentioned, the juries still out on whether or not I’m a mature lady. I thought that perhaps this exhibit would tip the scales back in my favor of persuading Kate to stay, especially since it was so femme-focused, but the last exhibit had left us all feeling a little bit drained. One of the major draws of the museum was getting to jump in the room full of inflatable boobies, so I figured it might be time to high tail it over there. Maybe if I could get Kate bouncing around soon she might come around, but it was on our way to locate the titty jumping palace that we were distracted by two words: “Animal Sex”
What would you do? Truthfully, faced with the choice between models of fake animals fornicating or bouncing around a room of fake breasts, which would you choose? A real Sophie’s Choice. There’s a model of a dolphin with their dolphin dick in another dolphin’s blow hole, the dolphin’s take on a blow job! Some animals having three ways! An article on the wall titled “Homosexual Necrophilia in the Mallard Duck!” I KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO AND IT’S CHECK OUT ANIMAL SEX. Walking around the room, trying to guess if the measurements given for each animal in the exhibit was its height or its genitalia length, realizing that it was definitely 100% their height, and then watching a video of a turtle having sex with a staircase, we knew we made the right choice. “I saved the trip!” I thought, as we watched the turtle almost come to climax. Then a second part of the turtle’s penis in the video appeared and it’s vague reminiscence to an alien made us all a little queasy. Time to jump in boobs, that’ll settle the stomach.
We got to the boob room, possibly among the last bouncers of the day. It cost an extra few dollars, but it was worth it to try to turn this day around and prove once and for all that New York was worth staying in. After securing all our valuables and loose change, meaning leaving everything aside from the clothes on our backs with a man we just met outside, we entered the bouncy booby zone. The music immediately switched to heavy metal and I could feel rage coursing through my veins. “This is for the woman who had a rope so tightly tied around her body for some Araki’s shitty photography, she probably couldn’t pee properly for a month!” I thought, throwing myself at a breast mounted on the wall. “This is for objectifying women for centuries making an exhibit about female bodies and sexuality from a female perspective seem like a new and revolutionary idea!” I screamed internally as I dropped all my weight onto a half inflated boob. “This is for the cats who are too close to the torture and for the turtle penis that was too close to the staircase!” and I bounced back and forth between too tata’s like a ping pong ball being hit back and forth on a table. After releasing our rage, we all tried unsuccessfully to shoot each other off the floor boobs. This all makes perfect sense to me, although it might not to you. Here’s a video for clarity.
We overstayed our welcome amongst the walls of inflatable breasts, but we needed to, and only some of us got the squirts afterward. Poring over the books of giant penises in the gift shop, Kate and I both looked at each other in horror. I don’t think that I had convinced her to stay with this visit, but I think we both learned a thing or two about ourselves. And that is that we ARE mature women and we’re not 17 year-old boys. And then we got tacos.
Until next time,
I Love You, New York? Do you love me?