Developers announced plans Friday to open a multimillion-dollar sexual "theme park" near London's Piccadilly Circus, home to the much-photographed statue of the Greek god of love.
Backers say the London Academy of Sex and Relationships, due to open next spring, will not be a sleazy sex museum, but an educational multimedia attraction that will teach visitors to become better lovers and provide valuable information about disease and sexual problems.
Located within the Trocadero entertainment center — just around the corner from Soho, London's red-light district — the $8.3 million project will feature unspecified "high tech and interactive exhibits."
Alex Rayner, a spokesman for the project, said it was "committed to avoiding the sleazy image that the sex industry usually conjures."
"Titillation is not the goal," he said. "It's meant to be educational. It's meant to be informative."
The privately funded project has support from sexual health organizations including the Sexual Dysfunction Association and the Terrence Higgins Trust, an AIDS charity.
"It is long overdue that the U.K. faces up to its responsibilities in the sexual arena — we cannot simply avoid mankind's leading preoccupation and the issues that go with it," said the academy's director of exhibits, Dr. Sarah Brewer. "The academy is the perfect vehicle by which to address these important matters in an exciting, amusing and yet educational way."
Several cities around the world — including New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris — are home to erotic museums. Typically, they exhibit everything from pornography to high-minded paintings exploring local sexual attitudes and culture.