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The Museum of Sex Objects occupies The Horse Hospital in London’s Bloomsbury until September 29 for an exhibition, screenings, and talks by speakers including Westward Bound’s Steve Beech and Anatomie Studio’s Anna Bones.
The museum boasts a bountiful array of never-before-seen objects, artworks and relics, straddling the boundary between folklore, art, and history. The collection reveals hidden tales of sexual heroes, moments, and places where assignations and confrontations changed the course of history.
Museum of Sex Objects keeper Deborah Sim explains that clues about sexuality’s cultural origins are “often locked away in old documents or institutions, their truth deemed too subversive at the time”.
Deborah, an award-winning designer and art director as well as co-founder and erstwhile creative director of Coco de Mer, is holding daily tours of the Museum’s spaces that “bring history’s blind spots to light”.
Expect to encounter tragic tales of the Fallen Sisterhood, the perilous passions of the Haunted Feminine, the peccadilloes celebrated in Ode to Perversion, the history of dangerous pre-Grindr meeting spaces for gay men, and much more on the Museum’s Wall of Sexual Heroes.
The Museum of Sex Objects is open from Wednesdays to Sundays until September 29. and during that time will be hosting a number of talks by authorities on sexual history.
Subjects range from legendary leatherman artist Tom of Finland (the first talk, which took place on September 7) to the link between witchcraft and the early LGBTQ+ community, via Soho’s under-the-counter book trade and sacred rites for medieval sex workers.
Among the Museum’s upcoming talks are two of particular note for those interested in fetish/ BDSM history and/or rope bondage.
Friday 16 doors @ 7.30m
From Der Putsch to Die Kunst: Westward Bound with Steve Beech sees fetish pioneer Beech discuss his unique and innovative career, from creating seminal ’80s London fetish club Der Putsch and original ’90s ‘Bed Breakfast and Bondage’ establishment Westward Bound, to the present-day incarnation of Westward Bound as a global latex fashion business, now also represented in the prestigious Cottonian Collection at The Box Museum in Plymouth. The talk starts promptly at 8pm and will be followed by a Q&A.
Friday 23 @ 7.30pm
Everything You Wanted to Know About Shibari but Were Too Shy to Ask is a talk by shibari expert Anna Bones of Peckham-based Anatomie Studio. Anna set out in 2015 with husband Fred Hatt to create an approachable space for solo women looking to explore rope and kink in an open and relaxed environment. Today Anatomie is home to a diverse community of rope lovers, a major hub for shibari education and a reference space worldwide. A demo is included, and a Q&A follows the talk.
The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
Limited tickets for all evening events are priced at £8 for a standard ticket and £4 for low income/unwaged.
The Museum asks that everyone who can afford it pays the £8 standard rate in order to subsidise those who can’t.
Links below take you to each individual evening’s Eventbrite page.
FRI 16 TALK 7.30pm
From Der Putsch to Die Kunst: Westward Bound with Steve Beech
SAT 17th TALK 7.30pm
Lucy Coleman Talbot: Sex Worker Rites at Crossbones Graveyard
FRI 23 TALK 7.30pm
Everything You Wanted to Know About Shibari but were Too Shy to Ask – Anna Bones, Anatomie Studio
SAT 24 SCREENING 7.30pm
Beyond ‘There’s Always a Black Issue Dear’, plus Q&A
MON 26 SCREENING + Zoom Q&A 7pm
Water Makes Us Wet — Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens, plus Imagine The Earth Is Your Lover — The 23 Minute Series, Curated by Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens
TUE 27 TALK 7.30pm
I Put a Spell on You: Mara Gold on Sapphic Women and Witchcraft
Personal tours of the museum with The Keeper take place from Wednesdays to Sundays each week during the exhibition’s run. Spaces are limited. Tours are free but donations are appreciated!