Let’s continue our virtual tour of the world’s sex museums. After the Museum of Eroticism in Paris, let’s visit one of its German analogues: the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum.
Located in Berlin, the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum proudly declared to be the largest museum of eroticism of the world. The huge building that housed it testified to it.
History of the museum and its founder
Passionate about flight, in the 1930s, Beate Uhse became the only German woman to work as a stunt pilot for the cinema. But during the Second World War, stunt piloting became impossible. Beate Uhse then agreed to enlist in the Luftwaffe as an airline pilot, to be able to continue flying.
After the war, widowed, and no longer allowed to fly as a former member of the German military aviation, she had to change her career. She lived in Flensburg, in West Germany, with her son, and turned to black market to make a living. She went from door to door, selling goods to housewives, and, through confidences, discovered their concerns.
A brochure about contraception
The husbands, returning from the war and happy to be back with their wives, have only one preoccupation: having sex. Unfortunately, without contraception, sex means pregnancies.
And in post-war Germany, a hopeless country divided into two parts, devastated by the bombings and therefore subject to housing shortage, the prospect of conceiving a child was not reassuring. Without any other methods, many women had illegal abortions, often at the risk of their own life.
Beate Uhse, who had received a very modern education, was well versed in contraception. She learned about the Ogino-Knaus method, which consists in counting the days of the menstrual cycle and avoid having sex around the time of ovulation (this is an unreliable method, but at the time, it was was better than nothing), and wrote a booklet on this subject.
Named “Schrift X”, her brochure, that she sold by mail-order, had a great success. And very quickly, she also sold condoms and books on “marriage guides”.
The first modern sex shop
In 1962, she opened a very controversial boutique devoted to “marital hygiene”, considered as the first modern sex shop.
Although Beate Ushe passed away in 2001, her business still exists under the brand names Beate Ushe, Pabo and Adam et Eve.
The sex museum
In 1996, she founded the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum, a museum that exhibited more than 5000 erotic art objects, in an area of 2000 square meters, spread over three floors. A sex shop was located under the museum.
Unfortunately, the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum closed its doors in 2014. Indeed, the owner of the land where it stood, the American investor Hines, wished to demolish the building, too naughty to its taste. The museum initially planned to find new premises, but the project was eventually abandoned.
Virtual tour of the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum
It is no longer possible to see it in real life,yet toy can still have a glimpse at the immense collection of the Beate Uhse Erotik-Museum, thanks to the photographs taken by its visitors.
So here is a small gallery:
Photo credit: Arcadiuše’s Flickr gallery, Creative Commons.
The other German Sex Museum: also closed
In Germany as in France, European sex museums seem to disappear one after the other. The Erotic Art Museum in Hamburg closed in 2007.