Written by Will Dawes
My first sojourn to the Museum of Sex was on a drunken whim with my brother. It took all of five minutes at the History Of Condoms retrospective to note that as far as sibling excursions go, this was a bad idea. So we bolted.
The second visit was at an event hosted by my buddy’s then-girlfriend (who starred in a Cinemax After Dark program titled The Girl’s Guide To Depravity). Neither the series nor the relationship lasted much longer than the party.
The third time I had sex in an exhibit.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Museum of Sex in NYC
MoSex’s latest interactive eye-catcher titled Splendor in the Grass “translates the campground setting into a surreal adult playground where the complexities of human sexuality are at play in multiple physical, visual and olfactory…” Bottom line? The moment I read the press release, I figured somebody should actually spend the night in this faux forest. And then some.
When you were a kid, did you ever read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? It’s a delightful novel about a brother and sister who run away from home and secretly move into The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. Well, this would be like that. Except with fucking. (And not with a brother or sister. Can’t emphasize that enough, Mrs. Frankweiler.)
Getting the museum’s brass to let me spend a night in a tent was relatively easy. Getting a willing partner? Less easy. I broached the idea to a platonic but always fun friend of mine who, for the purposes of this piece, will go by “Hailun Strauss”.
“Hailun” immediately said… “hell no." But H-Strau’s gal pal, who I’m eternally indebted to, convinced her that she’d never do anything this weird again and all of a sudden I had my “photographer." So just like that: Wonderfully, inexplicably, nervously and what-the-fuckly, my partner-in-sex-crime and me were both scheduled to put the “ass” in Splendor In The Grass.
My backpack attack was as follows: A pocket knife, (hello? I’m camping, people); some cheap vino (bottles not boxes—I’m a gentleman, for chrissakes); two sleeping bags (not that there’d be much “sleeping” going on, am I right guys?! Guys…? *sigh*); one pith helmet (because…of course); several prophylactics of the ribbed-for-her-pleasure variety (because she’s worth it); and most importantly? Cialis. (What? Oh, like you’re NOT a middle aged alcoholic with performance anxiety issues, Judgey McHypocrite.)
“Just confirming for this evening. Hope all goes well, enjoy your slumber party!!! Zelle the attendant will be here at 9:30.” emailed a MoSex staffer on the day of the deed.
This presented an unforeseen, pre-hump hurdle. Until then, I assumed the institute was operating under their own little “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But as Zelle, resplendent in a kitschy campground employee uniform, walked us past carnal-looking constellations, pro-masturbation signs and a kinkily kinetic mound of grass that’s shaped like a woman and moans when you touch it, I realized: only Zelle could prevent our forest fire.
“Unfortunately, the bouncy house is under repair. A visitor's high heels popped the thing,” reported our overnight attendant/chaperone after my photographer asked about the museum’s famed bit of boob ballooned fun.
At this point, the booby-baby-bouncy-whatever wasn’t the only thing getting deflated. “Okay, I think were just gonna take a few more shots up here, if you want to hangout downstairs, Zelle," I said. "I don’t want you to feel like you have to babysit me all night.”
Even though I’d never make it as an actor, much less a competent salesman, our night watchwoman did acquiesce to the tune of at least moving down to the main floor directly below the exhibit. And then my bicycle-built-for-ew hit yet another big roadblock, this one from the photographer herself: “I don’t think I can do this.”
Desperate I pulled out the sexiest line/whine I could think of: “Can we at least just check out this tent, pleaaase?”
My co-conspirator agreed and we entered “Wetten Your Appetite,” which as the museum described “a cloud chamber of scent and steam”. The slippery, stroke-inducing confines projected weird red lasers onto the walls, while a humidifier type machine (which was supposedly releasing pleasantly scented pheromones) made the rubbery floor (and here’s a word we all love) moist.
Upon surveying this supposedly sexy scenario, I immediately figured my best laid plans on getting laid were up in machine smoke. But the Gods of exhibit exhibitionism started smiling upon me, because Hailun Strauss all of a sudden went from 0 to 60 faster than you can say “Zelle could already be on her way back.”
What happened next was a literal blur (again---the tent was very cloudy). My “photographer” threw me down on the floor, and her loose fitting top got a little looser. The preemptive strike pill I’d ingested hours earlier immediately began working as advertised and all of a sudden we were in business.
The Pull Out
I quickly pulled out of my R-rated rave and landed right back into reality: me laying down bare ass on a slightly stickier, rubber cave. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” swooned my clearly-impressed photographer.
I suppose this means my museum mission was accomplished? (Oh, and apologies to the extremely accommodating Zelle, who gave us a super suspicious look as we scurried past the Exit.)