Penis pumps and rulers: Inside Thailand's first condom museum

Penis pumps and rulers: Inside Thailand's first condom museum

All the colors of the sexual rainbow are on display inside the Ministry of Health's recently opened condom museum, deep in the bowels of Nonthaburi

condom museumIn addition to featuring condoms from various decades in Nonthaburi's condom museum, there are female condoms, flavored condoms and vibrating condoms. The recent opening of a small condom museum in Nonthaburi should hardly come as surprising news, given Thailand is one of the world’s largest producers of condoms, surpassing even traditional giants like The Netherlands. (Durex has one of its main production plants here.) 

And then there’s the work that Thailand's very own "condom king," Cabbages & Condoms founder Mechai Viravaidya, has done over the last three decades, raising awareness on condom usage around the world. 

The condom museum is located outside of Bangkok in Nonthaburi in the Department of Medical Sciences, set amidst the maze that is the Thai Ministry of Health. It’s not advertised and hard to find, located all the way at the back end of the ministry at building number nine right next to the sewage treatment plant and near intriguing departments like the Quality Control and Stem Cell Laboratory and the Laboratory of Biological and Safety Testing.

condom museumOne device uses air pressure to demonstrate condom strength.

To make things even more inaccessible, once you arrive at the museum you need to seek permission from the department head to actually go inside, lest you steal their penis pump when no one is looking. Not that this writer needs it or anything. 

Deputy Minister of Public Health Phansiri Kullanartsiri says the condom museum is intended to "eliminate Thai people’s negative point of view on condom usage, create awareness of sexual protection and boost their confidence in using condoms." 

The museum itself is a small two-room affair but that description does the place some injustice. There are literally condoms from every eon of Thai history, some bearing archaic commercials from the 1950s while others from more recent times strike a chord of familiarity. 

Adorning the walls are condom awareness posters though the ages, which we're sure Khun Mechai played a part in designing during his tenure as the Thailand minister of health back in the 1970s. 

The coupe de grace though is the next room. Six booths hold phalanx shaped objects that staff explain are used to test the condom's strength and endurance. While watching their demonstrations, the mind sinks to its lowest levels. 

But the museum isn't just focused on condoms. There are also a variety of other sex-related phenomena in the glass case, including a gigantic penis pump and different flavors of lubricants. Our departure is fairwell-ed by one last poster which advises us to "slip on, before we slip it in." 

Here’s a photographic look at some of the displays inside.

condom museumAll the colors of the Durex rainbow.

Condom museumA Health Ministry staff member demonstrates a machine used to test a condom's strength and endurance.Condom museumA selection of condoms from different countries around the world.

Condom museumLubricants and a penis pump are among the additional sexual aids on display in Nonthaburi's condom museum. Condom museumA Ministry of Health employee hangs liquid-filled condoms from a rack to demonstrate their strength. Condom museumBecause one size doesn't fit all, staff explain that it's important to buy condoms that will fit to ensure they're effective.
Condom museumCondom sizes vary in both width and length, say Health Ministry staff.

Condom museumThe two-room condom museum's display area is tiny. In addition to glass display cases there are various news clippings and old condom posters with slogans like "Don't be silly, cover that willy" and "Smart girls carry condoms."


Condom Museum

Ministry of Public Health
Building 9, Department of Medical Sciences
Tivonon Road, Nonthaburi
Tel: +66 (0)2 590 1000

Satrusayang is a part-time dragon slayer, part-time writer. When he's not defending fair maidens and tangling with mystical beasts he visits reality (never a permanent stay) where he writes for a living. Based in Bangkok, his work has appeared in myriad magazines and publications, and he edits his own literary and art ezine

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