Friday, December 30, 2016

Museum of Sex, New York City

The Museum of Sex is just a few blocks from our hotel. We woke late to a rainy stormy day in New York City. The original plan to go uptown to the Neue Gallery to see more Klimt was shelved.  The Museum of Sex was on the list and only a few blocks away.
The first exhibit was a collection of photographs from the famous discotheques of the 60’s.  They were tame by today’s standards, some risqué clothing, some titillating poses.  The room itself was set up like a darkly lit disco with the mirror ball created rotating lights.  How important they were when I was growing up. The essential ambience of disco.  Some history on the wall said discos began in Paris in the 50’s but by the 60s’ in America were gender fluid places with glitzy and glamourous fashion that heralded unisex.
In the early 60’s homosexuality was still illegal. The kissing of women and women, men and men in public was taboo.  The Stonewall riots with men in pink beating the men in blue only took place in 1969.  A whole range of marginalized people were ‘legalized’ alongside the civil rights movement.
Even clothing is uniform. Men’s clothing remains ‘militarized’ with pants de rigor in the west while women ironically as second class citizens can dress whatever  because they are irrelevant or does this "freedom"  reflect the true matriarchal nature of our overtly patriarchal society. Who knows?   Freedom and dress in the era of the slut walk and men dressing like gay prisoners with low hanging pants often reflects people not even knowing what ‘symbols’ are in the increasingly ignorant society.
I enjoy museums like I do history books and anthropology. But yes, I enjoy Dr. Carl Jung and Robert Graves and the whole world of symbols and signs.  Today it’s dumbed down to ‘marketing’ and ‘subliminal’ but sex is so much apart of that expression. Yet our courts only talk in ‘oral tradition’ and resist the introduction of cameras which might show the judges leering.  Meanwhile in sports we have ‘replays’ but not where the wink of a juror might call a mistrial that  might otherwise imprison a boy or girl for years.
Society is silliest at the sexual level and when we can laugh in bed we can perhaps find the irony in life.  But we are a serious lot and seriousness is a cover up so often for ignorance, judgement and incompetence.  We call the dead ‘stiffs”.
A libertarian focus is on the separation of public place of trade and commerce and travel from the private place of home and community. An old lawyer explained to me that when Pierre Trudeau said that state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation he was really saying that the courts did. Democracy died and the legal theocracy rose.
It always seemed that with one freedom came another loss.  The destruction of family was coupled with the freedom of the marginalized.  The latter was welcome while the former was unsavoury.  It was like omnibus bills where the legislation would bring in a peace clause coupled with a war clause.  Openly people appeared to be getting one thing while privately another was being given as well.
Displays about sexuality in Victorian times were interesting, early photography, the history of prostitution.  The collection of sex objects ranging back to the 18th century and into the present times.  All manner of mastabatory and anti mastabatory objects.  Potions and condoms.  The whole of sexual history suggestive and overt.  It was revealing yet tasteful.  I can see someone complaining about the slippery slope but the fact remains the  state and church have been far too prominent in the most private of lives.
I loved seeing Hugh Heffners ‘smoking jacket’ on display.  Andy Warhol would have loved it.  Like the clothing of Elvis that’s displayed in another museum.
Seeing the posters about ‘deep throat’ and remembering the sensation the idea of ‘oral sex’ had back then was striking. Animals of course pleasure each other as have humans, with touch and tongue and penetration.  Yet the state needed babies for war and the church supported the war efforts of the nations.  Nothing but baby making sex was proper for the war economies.
And sex should not be pleasurable and liking sex made a woman a whore and a man a pervert.
These perversities still exist today.  The museum didn’t address them as such. There wasn’t the political angle which is mine but just seeing the ‘illicit’ on display in a museum brought the taboos and the dishonesty to mind.
Today ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘false accusations’ are little different  than they were in slightly different packaging a hundred years past.
I’ve studied sexuality as part of my work and seen all manner of ‘deviation’ yet know my society and my work to be smugly narrow and pretentious. There’s a ‘modern’ sense of superiority that perpetuates all manner of ‘prudishness’, the most ignorant and bullying imposing their will  in fascist goose-stepping judgment of all others but never the deviance of their own bedrooms where the lies proliferate.  Everyone forgets when they point fingers three are pointing back.
I liked the exhibit. I liked the humour in the shops that sold all manner of stuff and caused me to remark to Laura that it reminded me a bit of Trev Deely. There a ‘museum of motorcycles’ is attached to the store that sells motorcycle. All the museums we’ve attended have had shops which we’ve enjoyed as part of the whole experience. Here the shop was the largest of all.
I bought a pair of ‘Wanker’ socks and got Laura a pair of “Boobie’ socks partly because we both lamented as we were dressing that we were out of socks and had to wash some. They will come in handy but I expect some summer day in shorts I’ll wear them out for a lark because they challenge conventionality.
I remember an escort telling me ‘if the church women had sex with their husbands we’d all be out of work’.   Then in my work I learned that sexual abuse and incest were not so rare as we would like to say. While the police are powerfully supported and the whole ‘industry’ of ‘displeasure’ is financed the alternative, the ‘healing’ and the ‘recovery’ focus is not.
30 years later I am still saying that if a man breaks his legs and cannot walk it’s not sufficient to set the leg but he must walk again if we are to consider him healed. Yet so many of my patients remain after a rape or incest or sexual abuse and thousands of hours of treatment  and thousands of dollars of money not back to fully enjoying sex but rather limping celebrating their wounded status and pointing fingers at the perpetrators who are usually as damaged or ignorant as them. No one holds the ‘counsellors’ accountable for not ‘restoring’ function.  Instead the ‘sexual act’ is demonized rather than the ‘violence’. It’s the same as demonizing ‘guns’ rather than demonizing criminals.
There’s this societal insanity and jaded I can only believe it exists to give the pervert criminal state functions control and dominance rather than helping the injured and weak.  I am taught to always look for ‘secondary gain’ and ‘follow the money’.  When a woman said ‘all men are rapists’ I knew immediately that she was selling a book and hustling herself.
None of this was in the Museum of Sex . If anything it was humorous and informative and historical.  There wasn’t much ‘angle’ but more ‘representation’.  That which was taboo was portrayed.  Light was shone in the dark without judgement.
Of course there are those who would argue against opening ‘pandora’s box’ but I remember the Little Sister fight against censorship and the arguments of one set of privileged adults against any other adults being able to see what they wanted to see and make sure others didn’t see.  Who would censor the censors?
Of course the ‘children’ are always brought forward. How can we protect the children from ‘playboy magazines’? I remember the first nudity on tv and the amazingly long time before a penis was shown in America all the while French tv had what most would call ‘erotica’ outlawing violence to the extreme all the while special effects crews in America were getting rich off of grizzly displays of violence.
The “L Word” is shamed while the perverse voyeurism of Criminal Minds is acceptable.
I enjoyed the Museum of Sex.  It was fun but it left me deeply saddened by the perversity of society and the abuse of power in the state and the backwardness of our society so barbaric socially while capable of sending spaceships to Mars.
Oh well.  Thank you New York for another “experience’.
I found myself discoursing or pontificating to Laura about ‘free will and determinism’ or ‘free will and fate” or ‘free will and ‘luck’ and how those who believe in ‘free will’ have to address issues like ‘genetics’ and ‘social dominance’ and how everyone wants ‘praise but not blame’ yet if you accept determinism or ‘luck’ you can’t have ‘praise’.  It’s not by your work you ‘succeed’ if it’s not by your ‘work’ you fail.
Today it’s simply bizarre with everyone wanting to blame everyone else and no one wanting to accept responsibility. It begins at the school and results in moral and ethical chaos and collapse of society.
The fact is I may not be accountable for my disease but I am accountable for my dealing with it.  Hence the whole discussion around HIV.  The men who got it through blood products still had to wear condoms after like the HIV needle users but the courts wouldn’t back us in the area of public health and denied their errors which caused thousands to unnecessarily become infected.  Sins of omission mostly made by courts and beaurocracy probably account for as much death as sins of commission.
I guess the whole area of sexuality and disease and public health have been an issue for me and now so much so as I work in methadone clinics and also work with ‘sexual addiction’ .  I confess I have little difficulty in this field among the other clinicians but run into difficulty when i meet ‘legislators’ and ‘police’ personnel who come to the subject so commonly, in my experience, with so much prejudice and inexperience.  But because they have power they don’t have to do the research and study that we do. Our work is persuasive.  Yet I confess knowing wonderful judges and appreciating that when the persuasive doesn’t work it’s great to have the club to back it up.  Like my patient recently who wanted to kill pets.  He had all manner of weird sexual and addictive issues going on but someone had to stop him killing pets and it ultimately fell to the courts who took an unnecessarily long time because they were so far removed by their privilege from the world of reality most others dwell in.
I recently talked to a person who had never met a homosexual and was aghast at their belief in their ‘knowledge’ and their profound ‘prejudices’. I can appreciate the value of isolation and believe in walled communities but I don’t think outsiders should be dictating to those on the inside.
Multiculturalism often masquerades as liberal and open when as often as not we are being forced to step back in time to a world we in my culture have left behind by hundreds of years of education and experience.  I can’t respect wife beating and never have and I don’t respect husband beating either but I’m being asked right now to respect a ‘culture’ that celebrates the beating of women by my Prime Minister who ironically calls himself a feminist.
This is insane. Yet that’s the kind of thinking a ‘museum of sex’ challenges.  Sex is religiously and politically taboo all over the world yet the leaderships of the same countries that propagate these restrictions at threat of imprisonment or fine are themselves no pillars of moral rectitude.
Naturally in the best of all possible worlds you marry a woman who has not been a victim of incest and has not had abortions and she is sexually alive and active and adventurous and you have children and live a happy hearty sexual life for 60 years.  The man is understanding, loving and caring and a good husband, father and lover.  The couple have no financial cares and they both are raised in the same village and culture and church and live happily ever after.  Indeed there are people who are like this.  Judith Wallenstein studied 50 year married couples and two thirds had had sexually fulfilling lives and marriages.
We joke about the ‘snowflakes’ of today who have got a ribbon for ‘participation’ but there is an issue of ‘diversity’ and while we accept one shoe does not fit all in clothing we are loathe to consider alternatives as anything but inferior or wrong when they may not be anything but different. However that doesn’t mean that we as a society accept public pedophilia but to have a reasonable discussion of what are the public and private lines we must be open to discuss this.  The more restriction a society places on a couples sexuality the more regressive that society is. It’s quite terrifying that Africa is so repressive in this way but has so much disease.
Increasingly perversity is being defended as ‘culture’ and yet is it.  Kultura was an Austrian word referring to the highest values of a society.  Is gang rape a good thing?  Monkeys may think so but is it where we want to go as a culture.  Because Darwin said something was okay does it mean it is.  Yet when do we become so twisted as to say only a missionary position is acceptable.  And as my mother would ask when was a single woman going to a man’s hotel room in the middle of the night ‘not consent’. She was embarrassed by the old perverted male judges wholly ignorant of women in her time who had this twisted chivalry that was dominated by the sexual provocativeness of a woman. “if she was unattractive the judge wouldn’t be so lenient.’  Of course tribunals have been used about sexual matters in other situations and clearly male and female judges working together would be an advance over the present abysmal state of affairs given the wide range of abuses either side of the equation.
Without sexual deviance the whole industry of Hollywood gossip magazines would die. OMG!

Oh well, it certainly was  a provocative experience.  Museum of Sex, New York City.
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