December 5, 2017 | Sex & Society

Museum offers exhibition on restroom romance

Public Toilets, Private Affairs
 
Schwules Museum, located in Berlin, Germany, has introduced an interesting exhibit that looks at gay sex in public toilets. 
 
Fenster zum Klo: Public Toilets, Private Affairs is a collection of photographs by Marc Martin, who admitted that public sex played an important role in his development as an out gay man.
 
“These places, where men were constantly coming and going, were instrumental in my sexuality, aroused my desires and quenched my curiosity,” Martin wrote. “In there, I also had the most unlikely, unexpected encounters.”
 
Martin acknowledged that sex in restrooms is "more a source of shame than pride” for many, but he sees public toilets as “sites of unbridled freedom.”
 
“Differences were blurred and otherwise separated cultures briefly mixed,” Martin explained. “Despite being disparaged as sleazy and dirty, they allowed for immediate, anonymous sexual contacts. They were a godsend to those who could not entertain at home and expose their sexual proclivities to the outside world.”
 
Public Toilets, Private Affairs
 
“The necessity of gay men to ’hide’ and meet in ’secret’ places such as parks and public toilets is an important aspect of gay history,” Dr Kevin Clarke, a Schwules spokesman, added. “So it’s important for us, as a museum, to present this topic with as much background as possible, for a younger generation accustomed to Grindr and other apps to understand how homosexual men organized their sex life decades ago, but also to make clear the incredible dangers they faced from police, criminals and blackmailers.”
 
According to the exhibit's official description: “From poetry to pornography, [Martin's] work bears witness to the generation of today, of a type of sexual interaction that has virtually disappeared now. Glorious or shameful, our good old cottage toilet no longer needs to blush about its past.”
 
Bet there's going to be a lot of action in that museum's restroom!
 
The exhibition closes on February 5, 2018.
 
 

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