Sex ed museums: The cultural trip you need to try at least once

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Che Lovelace

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We live in a progressive time but sex is still a taboo topic, especially in a conservative country like the Philippines. The lack of sex ed has not only made people ignorant of how contraceptives work and other health-related matters, it also creates the notion that sex is a shameful topic.

Today, there are still people who are uncomfortable with talking about sex and would even find phallic imagery funny. The reality is these topics are natural and necessary, which is why some countries have museums dedicated to this topic; others use such symbols to represent a portion of their culture.

If you’re traveling and planning on visiting any sex-related tourist spots, remember they aren’t mere phallic novelties and are meant to educate people. Yes, a lot of them are “NSFW” (not safe for work), but let’s keep an open mind, shall we?

Vagina Museum (London, UK)

Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, the first vagina museum will open in Camden Market, London this November. According to “Evening Standard,” the first exhibition will be titled, “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them.” (Living for that name!) Aside from regular exhibits, the museum will also hold workshops and film screenings which aim to remove the stigma around discussions on the vagina and vulva, and also topics tackling consent, body image, and sexuality.

Venustempel Sex Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

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Sex Museum

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This is a pretty straightforward museum filled with phallic displays, life-sized figurines performing sexual acts, and old photographs of prostitutes throughout various eras. Travel website Things to Do in Amsterdam noted, “While it may seem to be just a museum full of sex and nudity, the collection strives to create a noteworthy sense of understanding and acceptance toward all forms of [sensuality] and self-love.”

Museum of Sexual Cultures of the World (Kharkiv, Ukraine)

If you’ve ever wondered how different sex is in different countries, you can check out this museum in Ukraine. According to Atlas Obscura, it has rooms dedicated to the diverse sexual cultures of countries like Japan, Greece, India, and many others. It also holds seminars for married couples, as well as educational lectures for teenagers where they learn about human anatomy, sexual behavior, and topics on contraception and STDs.

Museum of Sex (New York City, USA)

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Also known as “MoSex,” the exhibits focus on several sexual preferences and subcultures, from images of same-sex relationships to the history of BDSM. Mole Empire called it “one of the most controversial museums in history” because of its explicit imagery, but the exhibits are purely educational. Only visitors aged 18 and above will be allowed inside.

Kanayama Jinja Shrine (Japan)

This temple is well-known for its phallic symbols and souvenirs, and the “penis-venerating” festival called the Shinto Kanamara Matsuri (The Festival of the Steel Phallus). But don’t let the phalluses make you laugh because the festival and the shrine are meant to offer “divine protection and blessings for fertility and sexual health, good marital relations and business prosperity.”


Photo courtesy of Museum of Sex’ Instagram account

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