- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

NEW YORK
Those who titter at the very mention of the Museum of Sex will learn that some, namely its straight-faced sponsors, see it as a critical addition to the city's mainstream history.
"We want to bring the best in current scholarship on sex and sexuality to a popular audience," said curator Grady T. Turner.
The museum, dubbed "MoSex," opened Saturday on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
The very notion of a sex museum suggests it is not for everyone and then there is the content. Visitors to the museum's opening exhibit, "NYC Sex: How New York City Transformed Sex in America," will learn New York's history takes many forms and makes many points, including:
Wonder Woman, the comic book warrior, is actually a manifestation of "Lesbian Pulp Fiction."
When the Nazis came to power, sadomasochism enthusiasts fled to New York, and by the late 1930s became host to "the nation's earliest known fetish and SM subculture."
A "Butch/Femme" section explains that "butches" wore men's clothes and "femmes" women's clothes. A postscript says cross-dressing was illegal in the 1920s and that "appearing Butch was a bold statement of sexual identity."
Absent from this first exhibit's lurid lineup is old-fashioned heterosexuality, but that will get more attention in future exhibits, said Mr. Turner, who has a wife and four children.
"This is really a reflection of what's been going on in colleges and universities across the country," he said of courses in feminism, and male homosexual and lesbian studies. "And so you get to the moment where heterosexuality is even called into question."
The museum opening has drawn the wrath of the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, which suggests it be called the Museum of Smut (MoSmut).
"If the museum's officials were honest, they would include a death chamber that acknowledges all the wretched diseases that promiscuity has caused," said league President William Donohue.
The idea was around for at least five years before the sex museum got off the ground with the help of private backers reportedly not from the adult entertainment industry whose identities remained a secret. Denied status as a cultural nonprofit organization by the state board of regents, the museum is out to make a profit.
For $17 a ticket, visitors can enter the world of documented sex encamped in three floors at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 27th Street. Museum press releases say part of the ticket proceeds will go to AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA), the Kinsey Institute and the Lesbian Herstory Archives.
Journalists assembled last week for the preview behaved with the sophistication expected on encounters with "diverse" and "alternative" lifestyles. But not everyone fell into step.
"From what I can see, it's totally gay-dominated," said Jay Shaw, an art collector at the press preview. "It should be called the museum of deviated sex."
Passing by the building on a balmy autumn day, a middle-aged couple in 1960s hippie attire stopped to inquire about the exhibit. Told it was light on heterosexual history, the husband was dismissive of MoSex as he departed: "We went to the one in Barcelona which was a real museum."

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