In this “new natural history” The Sex Lives of Animals presents an uncensored story of the birds and the bees, moving animal sexuality beyond the confines of reproduction and mating, towards discussions of orientation and cognition. Emergent research in the study of animal behavior reveals that animals participate in an astonishing array of sexual behaviors, conceding that sex is more than a biological drive to reproduce. Surprisingly, all conceivable sexual partnerships and sex acts exist, from foreplay to post-coital cuddling: animals engage in kissing, hugging, self and mutual stimulation, oral sex and every kind of penetrative intercourse imaginable. Sex in the animal kingdom is as nuanced as it is in the human realm; and sex-for-pleasure, it seems, is not just restricted to Homo sapiens. The Museum invites patrons to explore the most intimate part of the natural life cycle, where it is often said we are most animal-like, and apply these concepts to larger issues regarding sexuality in general.
The Sex Lives of Animals showcases life-sized animal sculptures created by Rune Olsen commissioned by The Museum of Sex. Composed of the “social materials” of newspaper and tape, the sculptures explore the physical world with the immediacy and expressiveness of hand drawing. Interestingly, Olsen’s animals all incorporate anatomically-incorrect, human, glass eyes, which further juxtapose the shared instincts and urges of humans and animals.