Ottawa Sun columnist Anthony Furey was taking in the new sex exhibit at the Canada Science and Technology Museum called "SEX" Tuesday May 15, 2012.
Credits: Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency
Field trips just got a lot racier.
When I was a kid I would have groaned at the idea of visiting something called the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
Want to learn how a steam train works? No. What about the different layers of the Canada shield? Pass. How about the anatomy of an orgasm accompanied by arousing audio? Whaa?
Starting May 17 school groups and the public can visit "Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition" at the Ottawa museum.
First, in their words: "This exhibition, developed by the Montreal Science Centre, is intended for adolescents 12 years and older, parents seeking a better understanding of the subject in preparation for their children's questions, teachers of high school and their students, health care professionals, and anyone else who wishes to learn more."
Although some parts of the exhibition clearly go beyond mere sexual health lessons for adolescents.
The "Erecto-matic" contains a felt dissection of part of a flaccid penis. Press a button and the penis becomes erect.
There is a display case with dozens of dildos of various colours and sizes, most of which are covered with condoms, wrappers littered at their bases.
There are a number of panels that feature a question an inquisitive young person might have about their sexuality -- below it are answers and accompanying pictures.
"When do I become modest?" The picture shows two girls around the age of 13 pressed together naked, looking at the camera as if the viewer has just discovered them showering.
Non-monogamy is explored as an option for young people: "I can experience my sexuality in different ways: with my boyfriend or girlfriend, with a casual relationship, or with different sexual partners."
In one image a man is hoisting another man onto a kitchen counter top -- "What's got into you this morning?" is the caption.
"P---y, s----h, b---h, for girls. P----k, c--k, d---k for boys." That's printed above a computer game that has the user list the naughtier terms they'd use for penis and vagina, "because we are so uncomfortable with calling things by their proper names."
After you play it, it lists what others wrote.
I've been around the block and I've never heard the vagina described as "Axe Wound". Although more than a dozen people had typed it in.
There are two audio stations where you can press a button to receive an answer from a health professional to a series of prepared questions. One question asks what to do if you're pregnant with an unwanted child. The woman simply explains that in Quebec you can have an abortion without parental consent at the age of 14. She does not mention adoption.
Another question asks: "Why do so many boys want to have anal sex?"
Jamy Ryan, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist, delivers the recorded answer.
He first clarifies that not every boy wants this.
"I think in general people are curious about it. If you're comfortable trying that... it could be fun for you." He does stress that anal sex is "not an obligation." Good to know.
If I saw this exhibit at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan I'd ask for my money back because it's not graphic enough. But is it really within the mandate of a government-funded museum that does a lot of school tours to feature this sort of stuff?
How many parents would balk at their children attending this as part of class? How many taxpayers would balk at financing this?
The museum is a part of Heritage Canada. Aside from government funding, it also generates revenues from ticket sales, fundraisers and facility rentals.
Originally, you had to be over 12 to enter the exhibit without parental guidance.
But shortly after I toured the exhibit Tuesday morning they upped the age to 16.