Chocolate, torture, communism: Prague has a glut of commercial museums aimed at cashing in on the tourist trade. Are any of them actually worth the entrance fee? As part of a new series, Expats.cz investigates, beginning with sex…
Sex Machines Museum
Melantrichova 18, 110 00 Prague 1
I’ve been struck down by an earworm.
“Get on the scene!” squeals James Brown somewhere in my brain while strutting around in impossibly tight leather pants before reaching his classic climax: “like a sex machine!”
I’m not sure a trip to a museum is exactly what he had in mind when belting out his big hit. Still, here I find myself on a Monday afternoon with that tune stuck in my head as I eye up glass dildos, spiky gimp masks, and a giant love seat rescued from a fin-de-siècle Parisian brothel enabling multiple copulation.
In case you’re in danger of missing the point, the walls are painted a migraine-inducing bordello red.
Welcome to Prague’s Sex Machines Museum.
Admission is for over eighteens only and will set you back a somewhat steep 250 CZK. No-one comes here expecting high art but just how trashy are the contents? Is there much in the way of cheap thrills inside or is this yet another disappointing tourist trap?
The answer depends on your own idea of what constitutes a good time. The exhibits span 450 square metres spread over three floors, so there’s certainly a lot to see. One comic highlight is a giant erotic appliance used in a German women’s prison to assuage the “fervent feelings” of the prisoners, operated with pedals like one of those failed flying machines. Other contraptions which raised a chuckle included a manual metal vibrator resembling a hand whisk, a wooden see-saw which appears almost identical to the kids playground version – until you notice the strategically placed wooden phalluses and a bright purple copulation machine capable of delivering up to seven hundred strokes a minute.
Even the Godfather of soul couldn’t have put in such a performance.
There’s sexual paraphernalia of all kinds here though not just love machines. Expect to be confronted by a mind-boggling variety of genital piercings (thankfully displayed on wax models rather than actual humans), novelty condoms, chastity belts, strap-ons, clitoral clips, and conical metal bras – apparently predating Madonna. The glass cabinet that made me guffaw the most was crammed with massive rubber members whose “various shapes and sizes allow for the gradual and extreme widening of the anal orifice.”
At least one of the erotic appliances on display was designed to turn you off rather than on. The electric anti-masturbation device tried to stop teenage boys self-pleasuring: a bell goes off in your parents’ bedroom should you succumb to temptation.
As if all this weren’t stimulating enough, the museum houses its own cinema showing two Spanish porn flicks circa 1925. The piano soundtrack replacing the usual exaggerated moans will spare your blushes, but don’t be fooled: these skin flicks are anything but tame. In the tradition of the genre, the scant plots – wayward girl seduced by wanton priest or doctor getting it on with two willing patients while his wife listens at the door – are a mere excuse for explicit content. Don’t expect much in the way of titillation though: the droopy boobs, love handles and bored expressions make the movies more comical than erotic.
It’s unlikely you’ll be exposed to anything in the Sex Machines Museum that you couldn’t find through a quick Google search or a browse around a branch of Erotic City. If it’s real flesh you’re after, it’s a trip to Darling Cabaret that you need – but if that’s what floats your boat, you no doubt knew that already. Still, if your sightseeing plans are rained off and you need to find an alternative way to entertain visitors, there are worse ways of whiling away a couple of hours in the Old Town.
If nothing else, a trip to the Sex Machines Museum will give you cause to marvel at the boundless nature of human ingenuity.