The Playrooms: history of the boudoir, from prehistory to the age of high tech sex

Sometimes people ask me what an unusual sexuality expert actually does — besides having heaps of fun, that is — and they are a bit perplexed when I start ranting about semantics, sociology and the need for a broader education to sexuality. But the short answer is: I use odd sex things as the starting point to explore the entire human experience in a somewhat more entertaining way than conventional study paths. Yes, I know I lost you at ‘experience’ — yet this time I can offer a practical example.

In November 2016 I was invited by Ivan Cenzi, the exceedingly cool Bizzarro Bazar guy, to present a talk at his Accademia dell’Incanto (meaning ‘Wonder Academy’) conference series, held at the gorgeous Mirabilia Art Gallery in Rome. I was immediately fascinated by that modern Wunderkammer, so I suggested something equally architecture-related as my topic, and we settled on a history of the boudoir.
The result was quite emblematic of my work and the recording wasn’t too awful either, so we kept it at hand to someday publish it — maybe when I had enough free time to prepare an English-language version too.

So, without further ado, below you can watch a prime example of my occupation, just a little horrifically marred by my awful English speech, plus a cold. Clicking on the captioning option (the ‘CC’ symbol in the lower right corner) should really help, though. Enjoy!

Faced with life’s great mysteries, Man has always attempted to contain the fear of the unknown within physical confines: cemeteries, churches, sanatoriums. It is no wonder then if 30,000 years ago one of our ancestors created the first “sex room” to celebrate the biggest enigma of them all. So a fascinating saga began where physical and mind spaces keep feeding off each other, in an ongoing psycho-geographical journey influenced by history, literature, technology, architecture, pornography and urban legends.

This article is republished from the archives of my website and may contain outdated links or information. You can find current posts, resources, book previews and more on the site — or subscribe to my weekly newsletter and receive all the new material directly in your inbox.

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