Museum of Erotica
Photos from my trip to the Kingdom of Denmark in 2001.
I spotted this establishment in one of the Copenhagen tourist brochures and was intrigued. Scandinavian countries have a reputation for being sexually liberal and progressive so this seemed a good opportunity to get some more information.
We climbed red carpeted stairs and joined the group of fellow enquiring minds buying tickets and checking in wet coats and umbrellas. The first rooms contained examples of oriental art - statues and paintings - watercolours and extracts from the Kama Sutra. Nothing titillating here - everything was quite informative and well presented actually. Several rooms contained dioramas portraying the social contexts of changing sexual mores.
There were descriptions and photographs of women who worked in Copenhagen's red light districts along with quite plausible descriptions of their living and working conditions.
The least impressive room to me was that devoted to Hollywood. What has Hollywood done for human sexual life except perpetutate stereotypes? There were small displays covering dozens of (mostly 1950' s and 60's) stars and starlets with some details of their peccadilos. Ah well, the room was full of visitors enjoying looking at the pictures - and then there was Marilyn's dress - one of them - so the curators probably know a thing or two!
This diorama depicted a sex worker undergoing a medical examination and displaying the external effects of syphilis.
There was one room plastered with warning signs - WARNING - BIZARRE SEX! - ENTER AT OWN RISK - or words to that effect. It contained the usual things you'd find on the shelves of an adult bookshop. Nothing shocking there - perhaps I'm just widely read!
I was however impressed to see images from Magnus Hirchfeld's Institute of Sexology. Magnus virtually invented the serious study of human sexuality and his institute was eventually destroyed by the Nazis prior to 1939.
In summary the Museum of Erotica was both less trivial and more interesting than I had expected. It did manage to ignore or omit Denmark's leadership in recognising gay rights. But I guess the "Museum" is after all a private enterprise set up to trap tourists (like me) so a scholarly approach to the subject is a bit much to expect I guess. It was an interesting place to spend a few hours on a wet Copenhagen day.
Here are a couple of links: