A Sexy Tour of My Town

I love living in my mid-sized college town of Bloomington, Indiana, but occasionally the siren song of a larger city calls to me with the promise of hugely diverse opportunities for adventures and new experiences. This morning, for example, I was reading the list of activities for a business in New York City that organizes fun outings for women. Among the list of offerings was a sensual tour of the city, which includes a visit to the Museum of Sex, a sex toy shop, and other venues that the uninitiated might be unaware of or bashful about exploring on their own. I briefly pondered whether I could make it to NYC in time for this tour before realizing that, hey, there are some pretty sexy opportunities right here at home. In fact, I could put together my own sexy tour. And so, without further ado, here is my custom made sex-positive…

Saucy Tour of Bloomington, Indiana

Kinsey Collection- The biggest attraction, objectively speaking at least, would be the Kinsey Institute Gallery has shows that change every few months. Indiana University is where Alfred Kinsey did his research on human sexuality. Today, the institute named in his honor continues research and hosts a huge collection of erotic art.

I went there a while back and enjoyed a show of what might be called sexy outsider art; homemade sexual objects and images created by everyday people for their own purposes. I saw erotic comic books written by prisoners in the 1950’s, a scrapbook from the 1940’s made by a couple who liked to get naked in exotic locales, hand-carved racy pipes, knick-knacks, and paintings. Most, if not all, of the items I saw were never intended for public viewing; at most, it seemed like they were made for a few very specific sets of eyes. So getting to view them felt both intimate and illicit.

Cyrilla’s- There are a number of “adult bookstores and “live lingerie modeling-type establishments in this college town, but Cyrilla’s is the only sex toy store I’ve felt comfortable visiting so far. It’s clean, it’s bright, they’ve got some good merchandise. Since the nearest Good Vibrations shop is more than 1,000 miles away, I’d have my tour check out the selection of sex toys, hot clothing, porn and accoutrements to find out what they like.

My favorite moment at Cyrilla’s occurred several months ago when I was on the market for non-latex condoms. I guess I sounded pretty forthright when I asked which the clerk recommended, and her coworker pointed out one brand in particular and asked if I had lube to go with them. “She seems like the kind of girl who has lube! the first clerk declared. As the mild-mannered type (in public, at least), I got a kick out of this.

Movie time The Ryder, a local arts and entertainment magazine, has paired up with the Kinsey Institute this semester to offer the Grindhouse Movie series, a series of sex films (all shown at midnight) from days of yore. A friend and I went to see “The Stewardesses, the first 3D adult film, which debuted in the late 70’s. It was pretty surreal; one scene involves an acid-tripping young stewardess making out with a lamp base in the shape of a Greek bust.

On the plus side, there were actors with natural bodies, who appeared to be enjoying their sexuality, and there was even a little groovy naked yoga.  On the down side, there was some homophobia, non-consensual sex that ended in tragedy, and ultimately a seemingly punitive message against the same sexually liberated women the film seemed to be celebrating earlier. It’s a not politically correct movie and left me feeling a little queasy, but I did get a history lesson with my porn and that’s not something that happens every day.

Burlesque- What I can recommend without hesitation are performances by the Bloomington Burlesque Brigade. Mentored by professional burlesque dancer Lola van Ella from St. Louis,  this troupe has come into its own over the last three years and now gives a variety of themed shows throughout the year. I had the privilege of doing an article on them in 2010, featuring a performer, Violet Phoenix, and exploring what burlesque means to her and how it mixes with her other roles in life, such as being a social worker and a mom. Her joy and excitement about burlesque reinforced my feeling that going to B3 performances are a celebration of beauty and sexuality; the performers are getting as much pleasure out of the experience as the audience is. Going to their performances has been a joyful and liberating experience; they are all so beautiful and full of life!

After this torrid tour of Btown, you’re hopefully going to be pretty wound up. I’d recommend you pounce on an enthusiastic partner, or take matters into your own hands, with help of the toys and mental images you collected throughout the day.

What kind of sexy resources do you have in your town? Any hidden gems?

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