It’s hard to market museums as sexy. Educational? Check. Romantic? Sure. They make great date spots. But nobody’s lining up outside the Louvre with their significant other to get in the mood. There are select museums that do fit the description, however, showcasing adult-themed art and artifacts that are as steamy as they are informative. From erotic antiques to vintage pornography, here’s what’s on offer at the 11 best sex museums in the world.
1. Museum of Sex — New York City, New York, US
Museum standards are high in New York City. Holding its own against the likes of the MoMA and Met, the Museum of Sex, or MoSex, was a pioneer in its field when it opened in 2002 and remains one of the best tributes to human sexuality in the museum world. There are over 15,000 objects in the permanent collection spanning various mediums, including painting, sculpture, film, photography, and fashion. Exhibits at the Museum of Sex vary, covering topics from pornography to the sex lives of animals, though they tend to focus on sexuality in the modern era.
Where: 233 Fifth Avenue (@ 27th Street), New York, NY 10016, US
2. The Penis Museum — Reykjavík, Iceland
Scientific might be a better descriptor for the Icelandic Phallological Museum (also known as the Penis Museum) than sexy, but with over 200 phallic specimens from Iceland’s mammalian populations on display, we couldn’t leave it off the list. That’s right: You can actually compare and contrast the penile parts of 16 different whale species, a polar bear, and even a human here. In addition, you’ll find folkloric and foreign artifacts, as well as around 350 artworks and related items.
Where: Kalkofnsvegur 2 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
3. Vagina Museum — London, England
London’s Vagina Museum, opened in November 2019, desexualizes vaginas in favor of educating visitors about vaginal health and anatomy, working toward overcoming the stigmas surrounding vaginas, and serving as a safe, feminist space for all women, however they identify. And we think that’s pretty sexy too. See exhibits like “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them” or attend events like Cliterature, the museum’s book club, and Bajina Bingo.
Where: 17/18 Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AH, UK
4. World Erotic Art Museum — Miami Beach, Florida, US
If it’s erotic works by world-famous artists like Picasso and Klimt you’re after, pack your bags for Miami Beach. Beyond fine art, the World Erotic Art Museum (Also known as the Erotic Museum of Miami) also showcases collections ranging from Gay Art to Humor to Indigenous Art of the Americas, as well as works from India, elsewhere in Asia, and parts of Africa. Exhibitions at this sex museum are thoughtful and thought-provoking, tackling subjects ranging from the Kinsey Institute to the history of erotic art in “From Pompeii to Pin-Up.”
Where: 1205 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139, US
5. Love Museum — Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s Love Museum organizes its content into six galleries: Fun and Sexy, Femme Fatale, Dream House, Sex Life, Erotic Garden, and Korean Erotic Painting. The collection spans centuries, from Joseon dynasty erotica to contemporary 3D paintings. Encouraging openness around the themes of love and sex, this is the rare museum where guests are encouraged to interact and pose with installations, whether you want a photo with a cutout of Lady Godiva astride a horse or a super-sized sculpture of male genitalia.
Where: 20 Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
6. Sex Machines Museum — Prague, Czech Republic
The phrase “sex machine” loses some of its luster when referring to actual machinery, but this three-floor sex museum housing 350 items and installations might just make you blush. At the Sex machine Museum, you’ll see sex toys, accessories, and erotic art from around the world and throughout the ages. You can even catch a screening of an early 1900s adult film in the vintage-style Old Erotic Cinema. Note: Visitors must be 18 and over with valid ID.
Where: Melantrichova 476/18, 110 00 Staré Město, Czech Republic
7. Erotic Heritage Museum — Las Vegas, Nevada, US
Formally known as the Harry Mohney Erotic Museum after the pornographer who co-founded it with Reverend Ted McIlvena, the Erotic Heritage Museum celebrates sexuality as an expression of humanity. Exhibits spotlight various artists of the month and explore topics like the evolution of human sexuality, sex in space, and sexuality under the Third Reich. Events at the Erotic Heritage Museum tend to skew more light-hearted, such as the past Puppetry of the Penis and The Art of Naked Yoga.
Where: 3275 South Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89109, US
8. Sexmuseum Venustempel — Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam has not one but three sex museums: the Erotic Museum, Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution, and Sexmuseum Venustempel. If you only have time for one, it has to be Venustempel, which claims to be the oldest sex museum in the world. A statue of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and sex, greets guests at the door, beyond which they’ll see everything from vintage sex toys to Victorian photography and hear audio recordings by famous figures.
Where: Damrak 18, 1012 LG Amsterdam, Netherlands
9. The Secret Room at the National Archaeological Museum — Naples, Italy
Unknown to some, the National Archaeological Museum of Naples stores a collection of ancient erotica from Pompeii and Herculaneum that women were at one time forbidden to see. It’s known as “il gabinetto segreto”, or “the secret room,” and showcases explicit frescoes, naughty inscriptions, x-rated mosaics, and more. Though open to the public, the collection is displayed separately.
Where: Piazza Museo, 19, 80135 Napoli, Italy
10. Erotic Museum — Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona’s Erotic Museum sits smack in the middle of La Rambla, the city’s main pedestrian boulevard, opposite La Boqueria, its most famous market. Inside, there are over 800 erotic artifacts on display, spanning from the Upper Paleolithic era to today. Learn more about kama sutra, see Picasso’s sordid work, or peek into the world of fetishism. Temporary exhibits add to the range of themes explored, contributing everything from sex-cessories to phallic artifacts.
Where: La Rambla, 96 bis, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
11.The Underpinnings Museum
If the word “sexy” makes you think lingerie, not whale genitalia, you might appreciate the Underpinnings Museum. Hosted entirely online, the museum is dedicated to the history of women’s intimates, featuring a collection of vintage corsets, slips, bras, girdles, stockings, robes, and more. Some come from big-name designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier. Exhibitions dig deeper than the garments themselves, delving into subjects like the modern corset and bra technology.