After LA City College Psychology Professor Amy Sweetman visited Hollywood’s Museum of Death and Museum of Broken Relationships, she knew she wanted to create a different kind of experience. Driving by an empty space on the way to work in 2019, she was inspired to create the Love Museum, combining her academic training in psychology and neuroscience, and fun PG-13 games and exhibits.
“Now there are probably about three or four sexual games. … We have one that's called ‘Draw Your Orgasm,’” says Sweetman. “It’s just funny. I tried to open up ways for people to talk about things … and if the conversation tends to take a turn from there, then it took a turn. If it doesn't, then we just had fun together.”
The museum is not fun for all ages, though. Visitors must be at least 15 years old, although exceptions are made for newborns under 6 months. Each guest must also bring someone with them, preferably a significant other.
“The couples need time for them. … It's going to strengthen their marriage, which is going to help the kids,” says Sweetman.
Strengthening a marriage, or any loving relationship, doesn’t just come from fun and games. The museum integrates a little science, which might help visitors understand emotional and biological processes related to topics like interpersonal conflict.
“What everybody always tells me is so interesting about the science … is that we talk about emotional hijacking,” Sweetman explains. “The research shows that it takes 18 minutes, once you've lost your emotional control, to calm down … by teaching people like, hey, when someone gets upset, it's much better to just give them their space to calm down.”
For people who are not in relationships, and are still searching for love, Sweetman says the pandemic has eroded social skills, resulting in more isolation. But her advice remains simple.
“All that it comes down to is making another person feel great and doing things that you'd like to do together. And I think that's what makes a good relationship.”