Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York's Most Provocative Museum by Sarah Forbes

Sarah Forbes was in graduate school when she stumbled upon a museum dedicated to . . . sex. The anthropology student hesitated when her boyfriend suggested she apply for a job, but apply she did, and it wasn’t long before a part-time position at New York’s MUSEUM OF SEX lead to a gig as the museum's curator. That was over twelve years ago. Now Sarah—a married mother of two—proudly sports her title as Curator of Sex.

In SEX IN THE MUSEUM, Sarah invites readers to travel from suburban garages where men and women build sex machines, to factories that make sex toys, to labyrinthine archives of erotica collectors. Escorting us in to the hidden world of sex, illuminating the never-talked-about communities and eccentricities of our sexual subcultures, and telling her own personal story of a decade at The Museum of Sex, Sarah asks readers to grapple with the same questions she did: when it comes to sex, what is good, bad, deviant, normal? Do such terms even apply? If everyone has sexual secrets, is it possible to really know another person and be known by them? And importantly, in our hyper-sexualized world, is it still possible to fall in love?

This was a fascinating and enlightening memoir. Well written and highly informative even if you think you know all there is to know I guarantee you will be surprised by at least a few of the facts found in these pages. I grew up in an age where talk shows were more than just celebrity gossip and  tests for paternity, so I was probably 16 the first time I saw a chubby man waddle onto a tv stage to proclaim he was leaving his wife because he found a woman willing to change his diapers and breast feed him. I suppose I am saying that to make it clear that I have not led a sheltered life and I am quite aware that for any repulsive thing you can think of somewhere there is a person who is as turned on by it as you are disgusted by it. Yet I had never heard these rumors about Cleopatra, nor did I know there were animals that participate in necrophilia. I've learned a multitude  of new words such as sploshing and merkin and am now aware of which creature has a penis on it's head!
Aside from the informative and entertaining aspects of the history of sex the author also shares with us a bit of her own life, which was quite interesting as well. Although this is not usually the type of book I reach for I must say it was quite well done. 5 of 5 stars from me.

I received an advance copy for review

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