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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 13:45 GMT
India's first sex museum
A model of Adam and Eve in the new museum
Sex has been a taboo subject in much of India

City authorities in Bombay, or Mumbai, have opened a sex museum to raise understanding about sex and related issues.


After all we are the land of Kama Sutra and we have a rich heritage of erotic art - high time we put it to good use

Dr Prakash Kothari, sexologist
This is the city's - and probably India's - first such museum.

The organisers say it is needed because sex is not talked about as openly in India as it is in the West.

They believe it could help spread awareness about Aids and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Ill informed

Exhibit explaining the stages of pregnancy
Organisers hope to raise awareness
Dr Rajendra Gaekwad, who works in the STD clinic below the museum, said: "When we were visiting various schools and colleges, trying to spread Aids awareness amongst young boys and girls, we realised they were completely ignorant about sex.

"They were getting their information, often false, from their peers or magazines.

"We therefore thought it appropriate to open a sex museum that educates and gives information on the subject," he told the BBC.

The museum's exhibits include fibreglass models of men, women and their genitalia.

There are explanations of how a baby is conceived and born.

And there are models explaining how to use condoms and illustrations on menstruation, Aids and STDs.

Using India's traditions

Old sex god, Ardhanateshwar, with male and female genatalia
The exhibition draws on India's sexual imagery
The museum also houses models of ancient sex goddesses from around the world, ranging from 1500-1000 BC.

The walls of the museum are covered with verses from the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian book on sex.

And an ancient Maharashtrian way of painting, Warli, has been used to depict folk stories between men and women.

One major section of the museum has been devoted to Aids awareness which, according to Dr Gaekwad, is the need of the hour.


With India having one of the largest populations of HIV-infected people, we thought it important to devote much space to AIDS awareness

Dr Gaekwad,
museum spokesman
The authorities hope to reach out not only to young people in schools and colleges but also the commercial sex workers in the nearby area.

Renuka, a 15-year old student, thought this was a good idea since she could never imagine her parents giving her a talk on sex.

Kamla (name changed), a sex worker, said she had not been to the museum but that it sounded quite useful.

Better sex

Painted sperm on museum floor
Cartoon sperm guide the visitor
The opening of such a museum, according to leading sexologist, Dr Prakash Kothari, is proof of how Indian society is beginning to open up and talk about sex-related issues.

"Over the years, I have seen a marked difference in the attitudes of people towards sex," he says

"Not only are they willing to talk about it more openly but also come for counselling in order to have better sexual lives."

However, Dr. Kothari said more needs to be done.

"Not only should we be informing people what to do about it but also how to go about sex," he suggests.

"After all we are the land of Kama Sutra and we have a rich heritage of erotic art - high time we put it to good use."


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26 Nov 02 | Health
21 Nov 02 | South Asia
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