The OralFix Café is dark. A bar in the basement of Manhattan’s Museum Of Sex, modern bare-bulb lamps light walls of exposed brick. “What else is naked?” I muse, as the lady behind me asks, “Is this a sex chamber?”
Josh Smith slides the Queen’s Knickers, an easy drinking cocktail containing lemon, Earl Grey honey syrup, cucumber, Pimm’s and Plymouth gin, across the bar. A man with a particular bartending experience, Smith serves below the MoSex gift shop where he and his team offering sex advice like bar snacks.
The OralFix opened last Valentine’s Day to serve elixirs and aphrodisiacs. All sorts of New Yorkers have turned up to imbibe since. Prudes clutch empty rocks glasses, trying to loosen up before walking through the blatantly sexual showrooms while a man with a distinguished jaw discusses swimming naked in a Parisian pool with his date who shifts in her chair. Most recently I sat to discover what it is like to pour for both virgins and sex freaks.
True to theme, the OralFix cocktail list is conceptually strong, with each cocktail showcasing one or more elements with alluring qualities. For example, the Hot Sex In The City highlights chile-infused vodka (for attraction) with cranberry and triple sec, while the New Orleans Brothel combines an absinthe rinse with bonded rye whiskey, Hennessy, bitters and a raw sugar cube. The favorite of the afternoon however, was the Frida Calor; a little number served on the rocks combining smoky Mezcal, tamarind, white Creme de Cacao, triple sec and lime juice.
“A lot of these cocktails contain average ingredients,” Smith pointed out, but by pointing out the aphrodisiacal qualities, guests begin to realize sensuality as something incorporated into the everyday.
Recognizing sex not as something dirty but as a fun aspect of life is protocol for Smith and his team. “You have to be ready to talk about masturbation and recommend a toy all while mixing,” said Vicky, another bartender. Sexual comfort is tested upon arrival. On their first interview MoSex bartenders are asked, “How do you feel about sexuality?” and “What is your openness level?”
I leaned in while the two shared a story of a guest who had an arranged marriage. “She hadn’t had sex in 25 years and had her daughter look to see if she had a clitoris. …I still think of her on a daily basis. She had health problems, which I think were just due to the stress she wasn’t releasing. …If you discover you, you may not need medicine,” concluded Vicky.
There was another woman who came in with her 25-year old daughter. The mother’s last sexual encounter had been at the time of her daughter’s conception. She had never had an orgasm and never touched herself because she thought it was dirty. Once again Vicky swooped in. “I told her the first step was to look at herself with a hand mirror and got her to buy Je Joue Mimi. ‘DON’T play with Mimi until you have discovered yourself first!” she said. The woman looked at Vicky with tears in her eyes, “Are you a sex therapist?” she asked.
Addressing sex so freely may be uncomfortable, but isn’t it why you chose to come? After all, there is a holy guide to coital positions upstairs and a room selling liquor mixed with aphrodisiacs next to the coat check. As Vicky correctly put it, “If you come here you’ve kind of surrendered yourself to getting what we want to give you.”