Cotton Candy Not Included

06.28.14

A Bouncy House of Boobs, A Quest for the G-Spot, and More Erotic Fun at the Carnival of Sex

An exhibit at the Museum of Sex takes a hands-on approach to everybody’s favorite pastime, with visitors bouncing in a house of breasts, racing phalluses, and climbing “Grope Mountain.”

Even in today’s age when sexuality is often thrust into our faces (think the antics of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, talking about sex can be awkward for many, especially in public, crowded spaces. But the Museum of Sex in New York City has no qualms with letting all aspects of the pleasurable deed be seen, read, and even touched.

Its most recent exhibition, FUNLAND: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground, turns part of the institution’s second floor gallery space into a retro-style carnival complete with all the typical amusement park attractions—from a tunnel of love to a derby racing game—all with a sexy twist.

“The idea is that the ‘art’ is the patron interacting with [the exhibit], which is much different than some of the more formal art settings that you find in other areas of the museum,” Mark Snyder, MoSEX’s director of exhibitions tells The Daily Beast. “We try to look at sex from a multitude of angles and this is just one of those angles.”

Created in collaboration with London based conceptual artists Bompas & Parr, visitors enter the dimly lit, rose-colored exhibition through the “Tunnel of Love,” a disorienting hall of mirrors that leads participants on a quest for the elusive “G-spot.” Even the unluckiest of explorers is guaranteed to find the often-fabled pleasure point, which squeals in orgasm the closer you get. After the dizzying climactic journey, visitors can’t avoid jumping for joy —literally—in the exhibition’s waiting bounce house.

Entering through the inflatable structure’s orifice, guests shed their inhibitions, and bounce around in “Jump for Joy’s” castle of breasts while a soundtrack of custom Carney beats, composed by Dom James, blasts overhead. Soon, loss of breath, burning muscles, and a feeling of exciting fatigue overcome the body in an interactive experience that parallels the physical act of sex. As this is just the start of the exhibition, keeping up stamina is a must.

Moving on to the “Foreplay Derby,” visitors compete in a race of golden phalluses, controlling their galloping members by rolling balls into a hole, to the proverbial finish line in a classic horserace game. Next comes “Grope Mountain,” which mixes up the traditional indoor rock-climbing wall by replacing the grips with casted appendages.

“It’s hard to maintain distance once you’ve bounced in the castle of breast.”

After working up a sweat, the “Erotic Pleasure Palace” offers a moment of relaxation. Using material from the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield, the exhibit gives visitors a deeper understanding of how sexual and cultural identities have intertwined with the carnival experience through historical footage of fairground eroticism.

“In its pre-industrial days, the fairground was viewed as a venue for the pursuit of pleasure—a carnival in which all aspects of society could mingle and participate in a multitude of vices and experiences,” the exhibition’s wall text reads. “It became a space where unacceptable behavior was accepted against the norms of society, as the format of the carnival allowed visitors to be familiar and free with each other.” Sexuality was just one of those behaviors.

“It’s hard to maintain distance once you’ve bounced in the castle of breast,” Snyder says. “Even the more reticent visitors seem really exhilarated and really happy once they’ve been through. They are definitely changed from the moment they walk in the door until they walk to the next exhibition.”

Even among strangers, a comfortable tone is established after experiencing FUNLAND, allowing the rest of the museum’s traditional exhibitions to be enjoyed without shyness. While they may not be quite as interactive as the carnival, the other special exhibits are just as titillating to the mind, if not the senses, offering something stimulating for everyone.

For lovers of the animal kingdom, Sex Lives of Animals gives an in-depth look into the vastly complex sexual behaviors of primates, amphibians, fowls, and reptiles. As it turns out, these species enjoy a full range of stimulating practices, from foreplay and oral sex to every kind of penetrative intercourse imaginable (threesomes and group sex included). The exhibition explores the various positions, preferences, and gender-transforming awesomeness that exist in heterosexual, homosexual, and even bisexual organisms.

Male bonobos, or pygmy chimpanzees, have been documented soliciting sex by offering sugar cane, while their female counterparts often partake in a little genital-to-genital stimulation (referred to as “GG rubbing”) as a method of bonding. On a darker note, mallards, it turns out, are the deviants of the animal kingdom. Known for their tactics of “rape flight,” one rogue bird was documented taking things a little too far, engaging in homosexual necrophilia.

Getting back to more relatable topics, pop culture is explored through The Eve of Porn: Linda Lovelace. Lovelace became a household name after the release of the 1972 porn flick, Deep Throat, for her ability to do, well, just that. The film was a monumental success in the pornographic industry, with celebrities from Jackie O to Jack Nicholson publicly attending screenings.

The exhibition unravels the tumultuous life that plagued Lovelace after her celebrity status and her rapid fall from an idealized beauty. the exhibition debuts never before exhibited photographs and memorabilia while screening clips from various moments in Lovelace’s career, including the infamous Deep Throat.

After making it through the fun, titillating adventure of the Museum of Sex, a drink at the museum’s restaurant and lounge, Play is well deserved—and much needed. While sipping your way through custom cocktails and sharing thoughts with fellow patrons, you realize that, even if just for a few hours, the Museum of Sex has the ability to turn even the most prude person into a chatterbox.

FUNLAND: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground is on display at the Museum of Sex, 233 5th Ave, in New York City until Spring 2015.