I visited the Museum of Sex in NYC on August 7 when one of my out-of-state friends came to visit. We did a whole bunch of other stuff, like visit The Strand and the Toys 'R Us in Times Square and it was super fun.
But as time has passed since my visit, I've been sitting here and I keep going back to thoughts about the museum.
I finally pin-pointed why I kept thinking about it.
The Museum of Sex isn't about sex, which is probably what made the visit so damn great. While the gift shop was all fun and good and sexy, the museum itself was exactly what it markets itself as: a museum that catalogs history, evolution and cultural significance of sexuality.
And it wasn't what it was about so much as how it handled itself. Planet Fitness could learn a few things about a judgement-free zone from this place. Gay, straight, transgender, asexual, prudish, kinkish - everything was represented in a way that allowed discussion, not hate.
Maybe it's because it's a museum.
But it got me thinking about the YA community and how we handle topics like sex. I've talked about slut-shaming and there have been a few posts on sexual orientation (or lack thereof) floating around the blogosphere. But for the most part, it's something that's heavily avoided talking about in both the blogosphere and stories itself.
For the stories, it's because sex and sexuality in stories is a hard selling point. People claim LBGT stories don't sell as well or that there's a smaller market. People can claim asexual stories won't sell because the audience 'needs' romance. (Asexual doesn't mean aromantic, but hey, ignorance is ignorance.) Bloggers don't talk about sex because... it's taboo? Because they don't want people to... I don't know.
Like it or not, it's a topic that isn't discussed in the YA community often, partly because it IS so taboo in the YA community.
And that leads to a question: why?
It's the question that the Museum of Sex leads to in every exhibit. Why is sex, in our culture, the way it is? Why do proclamations of Heterosexual White Men from A Hundred Years Ago still affect how we think today? Why does internet culture hide behind anonymous searches to fulfill kinks? Why do people refuse to acknowledge sex and yet have it on a daily basis?
Why does the YA community not acknowledge that teenagers can be sexual creatures? Or cannot be sexual creatures? That the culture in a fantasy world can be different than one in our contemporary setting when it comes to what is normal and what isn't? Why do we avoid mentioning it as a whole, unless it's to shame a character for having sex or for calling a character a prude when they don't kiss the boy?
Why are we so afraid of our own bodies, thoughts, minds?
I do not apologize for this controversial post, nor do I apologize for visiting such an awesome museum. In fact, I recommend visiting if you're ever in NYC. Just remember that you have to be over 18. (And if you're a student, you get a discount!)