One fact of life: people from every corner of the globe at every time in history have been interested in sex. And kink certainly isn’t limited to the modern era. If you’re headed out on a tour de erotica, consider this your master list of the best erotic museums around the world. These museums feature sexy artifacts, art, oddities, and everything in between.
1. Museo Erótico, Barcelona
Barcelona’s Museo Erótico traces the history of sexuality, covering everything from sex in antiquity and 19th-century Europe, pin-up culture and the great masters of art. And this is the only museum on the list where you’ll find a display on the erotic works of Picasso, including two of the artist’s original etchings. There’s also a section of erotic short films commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in the 1920s. Temporary displays include sex machines and the future of sex dolls. With over 800 pieces of art and ephemera, it’s one of the best museums for an overview of sex (and art!) throughout history.
2. Antique Vibrator Museum, San Francisco
Did you know that one of the first vibrators was made in 1869 and was powered by steam? And that in the 1960s they were marketed as beauty products and home appliances since women’s sexuality was still so hush hush? San Francisco’s Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum takes a look at the evolution of sex toys through the ages. It certainly makes you appreciate how far we’ve come…no pun intended!
3. MusEros, Saint Petersburg
This Saint Petersburg museum’s claim to fame is the (alleged) 12-inch penis of Russian holy man and BFF of the tsars, Rasputin – on display in its girthy glory. But it isn’t the only draw of the collection. Visitors will find displays on the Kama Sutra and Ancient Roman brothels, plus art, sculptures, and more.
4. Venustempel Sexmuseum, Amsterdam
The world’s first and oldest sex museum is fittingly situated in the sexy city of Amsterdam. The name means “Temple of Venus.” and it opened in a 17th-century building steps from the main train station. The museum features erotic objects, paintings, and recordings and attracts half a million visitors per year. Turns out, the 1960s wasn’t the only age of free-love. Turn the clock back to Ancient Greece to explore their fast and loose relationship with sex. Other exhibits track the repercussions of Puritanism and the 20th century sexual revolution. After your visit, take a walk through Amsterdam’s Red Light District to see the current state of sex work.
5. Icelandic Phallological Museum, Reykjavik
Sex isn’t limited to our human species. This unique museum in Iceland is out to put a whole animal kingdom of male sex organs on display. You can rock out with the entire animal kingdom’s cocks out by touring the Phallological Museum’s collection. There are nearly 300 penises – mounted, embalmed, mummified, and more – from a total of 93 animal species of Icelandic animals. The organs represented include whales, polar bears, seals and, yes, humans. Keep in mind, it’s more scientific than sexy, but a fascinating experience nonetheless.
6. Museum of Sex, New York City
America’s most famous erotic museum sits on one of its most famous streets, Fifth Avenue in New York City. The goal of the Museum of Sex is to “preserve and present the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality.” Its collection encompasses all aspects of sex including science, history, culture and art. The museum’s advisory board consists of doctors, sex educators, and experts in the field. Exhibits focus on providing an holistic display of sexuality (as well as sharing all its fun and pleasurable parts). In addition to its permanent collection, there are special exhibitions. It currently features STAG: The Illicit Origins of Pornographic Film and Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985.
7. World Erotic Art Museum, Miami Beach
The World Erotic Art Museum is “devoted exclusively to fine erotic art.” And so, its 20 rooms are much more like pristine art galleries than a collection of curiosities. There are more than 4,000 pieces of art dating as far back as 300 BC. Many pieces come from the private collection of the museum’s founder, Naomi Wilzig The galleries are divided by themes and time periods, including Native American art, Lady Godiva, and folk art.
8. Sex Machines Museum, Prague
Can’t make it to San Francisco to see the steam-operated vibrator? Prague has one of its own displayed inside the Sex Machines Museum. There’s also a voyeuristic chamber pot from 19th-century France, a handle-operated vibrator and much, much more. The museum’s three floors house over 300 sex machines. It also has an erotic cinema playing films from the early 20th century.
9. Jeju Love Land, Jeju Island, South Korea
South Korea’s Jeju Island has a naughty outdoor sculpture park. It has large-scale works depicting various aspects of love, eroticism, and sexuality. They have 140 sculptures in various sexual states, from kissing to female figures in states of ecstacy and even stone labia. Students at the Hongik University in Seoul created the sculptures in the early 2000s. The island is reachable by ferry from several ports in South Korea. Travelers can make a lovely long weekend visiting the many nature parks and beaches.
10. Erotic Heritage Museum, Las Vegas
Billed as the world’s most provocative museum, the Erotic Heritage Museum runs the gamut of sexuality. The 24,000-square-foot space houses exhibits you won’t find elsewhere. Visit an immersive room dedicated to sex in space. See the world’s largest sex bicycle. Learn from an exploration of sex in the Third Reich. The museum promotes sexual pleasure as a normal human experience that should be available to everyone. They also host naked yoga on Thursday nights. They even have a live show titled The Puppetry of the Penis (the Australian art of genital origami).
11. Erotic Renaissance Wax Museum, Keszthely, Hungary
Ever wondered what all those figures at Madame Tussauds would look like without their clothes on? Here’s your chance. The Erotic Renaissance Wax Museum in Hungary displays historic in all sorts of pleasurable positions. The two dozen sculptures are actually made of silicon, not wax, which gives them (all of them) a lifelike feel. All of the figures were made by students at the local art university and are based on real-life models.
12. Secret Cabinet, National Archeological Museum, Naples, Italy
The National Archeological Museum in Naples isn’t overtly an erotic museum. But they do have one room, called the Secret Cabinet, fully dedicated to the sexual arts. During excavations of the Ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, archaeologists found a treasure trove of taboo items. You can admire frescoes from neighborhood brothels. Take a selfie with well-endowed figurines of Roman gods. Or gawk at other phalluses and fertility symbols. During the 19th century, this room was deemed to be too scandalous and was boarded up, inaccessible to the public. For a time, visitors could see the room for an extra fee, but for gentlemen only. The museum opened, closed, and opened the gallery again on and off throughout the 20th century. In the year 2000, it opened (hopefully for good) to men and women.
13. Erotic Art Museum, Hamburg, Germany
The Erotic Art Museum displays hundreds of artworks from modern and contemporary artists. The gallery doesn’t take itself too seriously. So feel free to laugh when something tickles your fancy. It’s located in the red light district of Hamburg. Visitors can pop by or call ahead for guided tours. Check their website for information on rotating exhibits.
14. Leather Archives and Museum, Chicago
It’s the only museum dedicated to BDSM, leather culture and other kinky topics. Chicago’s Leather Archives and Museum has an extensive collection of fetish equipment and sexual artifacts. It’s a bit more sterile than some of the erotic museums above (no bright red walls or erotic theaters). But the museum’s history of this particular subculture is both interesting and educational. Visitors can access the museum’s archives by appointment.
15. Tochka G Museum, Moscow
Meaning G-spot in English, Tochka G is an erotic museum in the extreme. There are over 3,000 pieces of art and artifacts. These include 19th-century Japanese paintings, French erotic comic books, Kama Sutra illustrations and many fetish-related paraphernalia. But the particular focus is on sexual history in Russia. Interactive exhibits include a seesaw with dildo handles, so hop right on.
Looking for other hot destinations and play places? See our 12 Sexy Events Worth Traveling For. And why not stay in one of 13 Sexy Theme Hotels In Places That Will Surprise You?