Steve & Mia explore the history of sex at Penn Museum exhibit

penn-museum-sex-exhibit
L: Statue of Venus, the goddess of love, circa 150 - 100 BCE. R: 1880s Great Plains Pipe bag featuring a representation of the Double Woman of Lakota Mythology. The artifacts are two of 30 featured at the Penn Museum’s “Sex: A History In 30 Objects” exhibit.

The 2015-2016 Penn Humanities Forum on Sex has sponsored a film series prompting discussions about same-sex marriage, gender-bender fashions and continued gender inequities in corporate boardrooms. Does this mean we're living in a revolutionary era on sex?

Daily News romance columnists Steve and Mia decided to seek answers to that question at the recently opened exhibit at the Penn Museum, "Sex: A History in 30 Objects."

We asked them to check out the exhibit, which features artifacts from around the world, and then tell us whether we're currently in a revolution or just the latest version of civilization's eternal obsession with sex.

Here's what they had to say:

Steve: Professor Heather Love is topic director for the Penn Humanities Forum. Seems like a name bias to me. I'd kinda like to see President Amy Gutmann in the role.

Mia: Oh my god, Steve, you're such a typical man! Happily married and yet still fantasizing about other women. Even with all the same-sex marriage and Bruce-to-Caitlyn Jenner controversy, you stir up your own controversy.

Steve: Really? Have you forgotten the lust you expressed when you were salivating over Bradley Cooper?

Mia: Humph. You can't hold that against a girl.

Steve: One thing I really liked in this exhibit is what could be a link to the Amazons. There was a 400 B.C. wine container with nothing but tough-looking women on it. We all know that Wonder Woman is an Amazon descendant. What about Hillary Clinton?

Mia: Ha! Her, too.

Steve: Then there's the mixed history of gay men. Some societies murdered them. The ancient Greeks seemed to be cool with it. And they didn't let us forget the child of Hermes and Aphrodite - he was Hermaphrodite.

Mia: You would assume that the olden days were dark ages when it came to sex, but they were doing everything we are and then some. At the exhibit I was startled by the casual attitude the Greeks had toward male homosexuality. Remember that depiction of the older man with the young acolyte that was on one of the items? That had my eyes bugging way out.

Steve: Mia, you can be such a prude. Don't forget where the island of Lesbos is.

Mia: Overall, I would prefer that, after walking through an exhibit on sex, I would leave feeling sexier. This exhibit didn't do it for me. I was like, where are the vibrators?

Steve: I know! Remember all the vibrators and elaborate helpers they had at New York City's Museum of Sex?

Mia: We enjoyed that trip, but in fairness, that was a business, while Penn is an educational institution. It's more about learning than having sex fantasies.

Steve: That's true. So what did we learn here?

Mia: One takeaway is that even though we have evolved in terms of how we view gender-nonconformance, we still have a long, long way to go.

Steve: Absolutely true. Gender bias is tough to beat.

Mia: And if you come to this exhibit, you come to think - not necessarily to get turned on.

Steve: Well, I was kinda digging that daughter of Mesopotamia's emperor who became an author in 2200 B.C. She was political and powerful. Remind you of anyone?

Mia: Yeah, me!

Steve: You're dreaming, Mia. Hillary, on the other hand . . .

Between them, Steve and Mia have logged more than a few decades in the single-and-dating world. They're also wise to the ways of married life. They don't always agree, but they have plenty of answers in their column, which runs every Friday in the Daily News. Contact them at S&M c/o Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107 or steveandmia@phillynews.com.