The Freemasons have some interesting handshakes, the Shriners have some interesting hats, but only the Beggar's Benison has a wig made of pubic hair. This gentleman's society (read: sex club), which was founded in 1732 near Edinburgh, Scotland and included a royal ancestor of Prince William (Gasp! Scandal!) has now been reduced to a small collection of artifacts housed in a staid university museum. While the collection is filled with items such as phallus-shaped drinking glasses and platters decorated with penis-shaped lighthouses, the true crown jewel – a wig made entirely of King Charles II's mistresses' pubic hair – lives on only in written accounts. Apparently, this wig was believed to increase the wearer's sexual potency...which he then used to masturbate onto a pewter platter with his fellow brotherhood. It kind of sounds like Eyes Wide Shut, but instead of Tom Cruise in a cape, you get old men running around naked in pube wigs. Admit it, you'll never look at British parliamentary wigs the same way again. The staff at the Museum of the University of St. Andrews will be happy to don latex gloves and show you the Beggar's Benison collection if you ask nicely, but don't expect to see it on public view anytime soon. However, if you are interested in sex paraphernalia from times of yore, you should definitely check out:
- "Ice Art – Clearly Male" is a traveling art exhibition featuring the world's oldest dildo – a 20cm siltstone carving from 28,000 years ago. Though initially thought to be a knife-sharpening tool, its "highly polished" surface led archeologists to speculate that it had actually been a sex toy. Mind you, these archeologists had probably been on this dig for a very long time. Alone.
- The Ancient China Sex Culture Museum in Shanghai houses a vast collection of objects, including artificial vaginas from the Qing Dynasty 3500 years ago, as well as bondage implements and double-ended dildos.
- Almost any museum that houses ancient Greek pottery and art will also house Greek pornography. The Greeks happily decorated anything and everything with bawdy imagery, from engorged Satyrs chasing nubile Maenads to depictions of fellatio, sodomy, bestiality, the list goes on. Why waste space with a water pitcher AND a porn collection when you can have a pornographic water pitcher?