Paris-Montmartre Museum of Erotic Art

Einar Moos

Find a day you're not thinking of sex and itching to have an orgasm. Sex and fertility are part of life. Often misunderstood, at times incontrolable, sex is the funnel of love. Since time immemorial sex inspired joyful artefacts illustrating pleasure and - arousal.

Witch

Erotic museum

Stepping out of the Pigalle metro station on boulevard de Clichy in the rain, I'm confronted with the sex strip atmosphere of every city in the world. It takes a while to recognize the real French, hiding inside empty cafés. The hustlers stop me, a hooker propose to me. I could be in Tokyo or Berlin.

The erotic museum is towards Place de Clichy, just before the Moulin Rouge. Opened in 1997 by Alain Plumy and Joseph Khalif in a narrow seven storied building, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year from around the world. Alain and Joseph installed their private collection of thirty years, as well as contemporary artists for temporary exhibits. It's like a home of erotic art and could soon become a shrine to sex, because the choice is meager.

Paris, the capital of Love, has no museum of love - although it has a museum of la vie romantique honoring George Sand and her entourage. In their byzantine ways the French rather keep erotic pleasures hidden behind curtains and shutters. On ne parle pas!

The rare exhibition at the erotic museum has prints and videos, photographs and african wood sculpture, Mochica pottery exploiting overtly and expertly sex 2000 years ago, Aztec pottery, Japanese ivory figurines, Attica vases with erotic iconography, erotic snuff bottles, Japanese sex education books for young couples called Pillow Books, Chinese sex manuals for young couples, Yoni sculptures from Nepal, Marcel Vertes lithographs made for the illustration of McOrlan's Jeux des Demijours(excellent book), chastity belts, photographs of luxury and popular brotherls when brotherls were legal, luxurious or popular, like One Two Two, on 122, rue de Provence in 1903, Wolinki's erotic cartoons, and most unusual, Julian Snelling's Anal Jewelery.

The light, tasteful display makes this a worthwhile visit to overcome one's apprehensions and learn something of sex, love and life.