Korea is a fairly conservative country, definitely not a society that is particularly open about sex or sexuality. That seems a little strange given the amount of sexualised advertising you find across Seoul – not to mention K-Pop starlets – but it might explain the strange phenomenon that is the Love Museum. It’s such an odd experience, I’m not even sure where to start, except to say that I went with an open mind and left very confused.
If you’re easily offended, probably best to turn over now…
The museum describes itself as “a sex themed interactive attraction, that offers visitors to explore the subject of sex in a light and enjoyable manner”. Advising would-be visitors that while they can take photos and touch the ‘exhibits’, having actual sex inside the museum is not permitted. That warning doesn’t stop a lot of simulated sex from happening, but I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere.
The museum has several theme areas, including Fun and Sexy, Femme Fatale, Erotic Garden, Dream House and Sexy in Life. It’s a bit like being inside an erotic Roy Lichtenstein painting that found its way into a ‘Hill’s Angels’ sketch on the Benny Hill Show, while taking experimental drugs. It really is that weird.
Weird, definitely, but visitors to the Trickeye Love Museum have a lot of fun. There seems to be something liberating about being given ‘permission’ to loosen inhibitions and make a lot of smutty jokes. People are more than willing to throw themselves into the 3D scenes that create optical illusions, and which are perfect for selfies and sharing on social media.
Men and women pose between pairs of enormous breasts, lean through a window to cup the breast of an undressing woman, sit on the lap of an aroused Superman, become part of an erotic painting, and simulate sex in the kitchen. I’m not sure anyone is learning much about sex, but they are certainly expressing something about human sexuality. The message seems to be that people enjoy light-hearted titillation.
The museum is found amongst a crush of streets in the youthful Seogyo-dong neighbourhood, close to Hongik University. It’s an area worth exploring, full of fabulous traditional Korean restaurants with low prices, trendy craft beer bars and lots of shopping opportunities. At night this becomes prime clubbing territory and on a Sunday morning there were a few bleary-eyed casualties from the previous night.
The streets were crowded the day I was there, despite the fact that it was raining heavily, and the lively atmosphere of the streets was replicated in the Love Museum. If you want to participate in one of Seoul’s odder experiences, this is the place to come. As the museum itself says, “There is no reason to be shy here!”