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May 18, 2014 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews unveils an astonishing American subculture, and the homespun inventors and users who propel it. Meet a laid-off tech industry exec who transforms a thrift store pasta maker into a high-powered sexual appliance and a new career; an apocalyptic visionary who builds a sex machine prototype for female survivors of a future without men; and an Idaho cowboy who intends to use his device as a form of Christian-based marriage counseling.
posted by munchingzombie (51 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
The dog shots are disturbing me
posted by thelonius at 3:14 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Coming Soon: David Cronenberg's Rin Tin Tin
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:16 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


These guys have got nothing on the late Jeff Gord (fair warning, this link and any subsequent links related to his name are more than likely to be SUPER NSFW - also trigger warning for extreme BDSM).
posted by fight or flight at 3:22 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


So machines that insert penises or penis-shaped objects? That's a rather narrow definition of "sex" to be making a machine for. I was hoping for something more Durand Durand and the Excessive Machine.
posted by Thing at 3:28 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


one of these shots reminds me of "burn after reading", the others remind me of an alternate universe's IKEA catalog. cool/fascinating article, too :)
posted by raihan_ at 3:29 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]


The Huskette has a $300 KitchenAid mixer motor inside it. We thought it was silly to spend $300 on something with only one use, so we made this detachable. So, if you wanted to make cookies, you can detach the mixer from the machine, hook it to its original base and bowl—clean it off, of course—and you can get to work in the kitchen. We aren’t kidding. We did have a kinky cookie bake with our local BDSM group last year during the holidays. We do every year, in fact.

I trust I am not the only one who remembered a fine exchange among several female mefites on the topic of sex toys a few years back. Rather than cut and past several posts, it starts more or less with EmpressCallipygos' gambit here and climaxes, as it were, with Jacqueline's fine response here.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:33 PM on May 18 [7 favorites]


They look like they would be fun projects to make, but not so much what I'd want sitting around the house.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:37 PM on May 18


I gotta tell you, I saw an ad for this in a gentleman's magazine, 1,200 bucks. 1,200 bucks. I'm looking at this thing and I think, "Jesus, you gotta be kidding me. I'm a hobbyist. This thing's basically nothing but Speed-Rail." I figure I'd go down to Home Depot and whip this up myself for 100 bucks.
Harry Pfarrer, Burn After Reading.
posted by Taft at 4:01 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I will require anyone ordering a machine from me to provide proof of marriage and a signed statement of intent to use only within that marriage—kind of like a gun dealer that requires proof of age and proof of passage of a firearm safety test before selling someone a firearm.

Wow. So much going on here. Don't know where to start.

First, I guess, is these idyllic gun dealers... Is this actually a common thing with gun dealers (requiring proof of firearm safety test?). Also, as these restrictions are based on his faith - does it need to be a Christian marriage? A heterosexual marriage? Does he want the device back if you get divorced later (what would he do with a used machine, anyways?)?

He is slowly renovating the main house and various buildings to be used as a Christian children’s ranch, serving the needs of the local foster care system.

What, what? So his career - building sex machines (that are harder to buy then getting a gun at a gun show) and housing a ton of children for a foster care project?
posted by el io at 4:06 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


The uniqueness of Jeff Gord's creations would be hard to overestimate. His designs were steeped in modern industrial components and technique. You can easily tell that when everyone else thinks of automating a dildo-thrusting device -- and I mean EVERYONE else -- they start at the power tools aisle in Home Depot, and maybe graduate to motors and pulleys and bearings from Ace Hardware or the local farm supply store. Gord started at Grainger, and his actuators and control panels looked just like the ones that batch and mix chemicals in real modern-day industrial plants. That stuff is brutally expensive and not really practical for the hobbyist who doesn't run a porn site, but it's also incredibly versatile and adaptable.
posted by localroger at 4:21 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Oh god, Bill and Deb are adorable.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:22 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


an alternate universe's IKEA catalog

Oh baby, POÄNG me with your KNUTSTORP!

(Many of the machines look like they could have been inspired by this familiar Ikea device).
posted by yoink at 4:34 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]


maybe im an ass, but i completely lost it and guffawed at the FuckCoffin.
posted by emptythought at 4:35 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Why are these not called sex-a-matrons? Seriously, get with the program.
posted by petrilli at 4:51 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Also, the über-Christian overtones really do bring new meaning to "the power of Christ compels you!"
posted by petrilli at 4:52 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Oh baby, POÄNG me with your KNUTSTORP! Fire away!
posted by jonp72 at 5:22 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


My (male) friend was into DIY electronics and he had a creepy hobby of making homemade personalised vibrators for female friends for their birthdays. We tried SO MANY TIMES to explain to him why it was not appropriate but ... ugh.
posted by lollusc at 5:34 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Sexual arousal is a doorway to a person’s very soul and isn’t to be messed with lightly.
"Because as a Christian I believe God gave us free will but I apparently know better than Him."
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Everything is foretold by the limericks:

There once was a man from Racine,
Who invented a fabulous fucking machine,
concave or convex,
it would fit either sex
but oh what a misery to clean!
posted by sammyo at 5:48 PM on May 18 [11 favorites]


A lot of the photos are like a game of Find the Dong in This Picture.
posted by JHarris at 5:49 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


I know a slightly different version:

There was a young man from Racine,
Who once built a fucking machine,
Concave or convex,
It could please either sex
And played with itself in between
posted by kcds at 6:17 PM on May 18 [11 favorites]


Lord knows I love a nerdy hobbyist, but I'm not sure I'm persuaded that the problem of human sexual fulfillment is primarily one of engineering.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:43 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Those ain't nothing compared to the XQJ-37 Nuclear Powered Pan-Sexual Roto-Plooker.
posted by drlith at 6:47 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


A Latent Appliance Fetishist
Is a person who refuses to admit to his or herself
That sexual gratification can only be achieved
Through the use of machines

(as drlith points out, Old People were making satirical material about this stuff in 1979)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:53 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Looks like a Telefunken U47.
posted by Mr.Me at 7:05 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


My (male) friend was into DIY electronics and he had a creepy hobby of making homemade personalised vibrators for female friends for their birthdays.

If only he would make an AskMe post about it, could instantly join the storied ranks of Banjo Guy and Fedora Guy.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:07 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]


Ruiin cracks me up. "My last name used to be Solace, but Tuesday thinks it sounds too much like lettuce, so I might have to change it."
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:11 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


My (male) friend was into DIY electronics and he had a creepy hobby of making homemade personalised vibrators for female friends for their birthdays. We tried SO MANY TIMES to explain to him why it was not appropriate but ... ugh.

I wish there was a phrase to describe the state of bemused utter lack of surprise i have at this. what with nerds, and DIY electronics, etc.

it's just like, DIY sex toys and the friend zone seem like peanut butter and chocolate when you think about nerdy guys making them.
posted by emptythought at 8:02 PM on May 18


Those ain't nothing compared to the XQJ-37 Nuclear Powered Pan-Sexual Roto-Plooker.

Magical pig!
posted by bleep-blop at 8:46 PM on May 18


Unfortunately James Brown's patent expired in 1987.
posted by w0mbat at 9:11 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


My (male) friend was into DIY electronics and he had a creepy hobby of making homemade personalised vibrators for female friends for their birthdays. We tried SO MANY TIMES to explain to him why it was not appropriate but ... ugh.

At first I was horrified and wondered how precisely they were personalized but in order to soothe myself I have decided that in fact he probably just used some glitter glue and sequins to put their name and HAPY BRITHXAY!!1!! on them.

Please don't tell me that I am wrong in my Bowdlerized mental vision of how they were personalized because I don't want to have nightmares for the rest of my life.

Possibly he used some modpodge and decoupaged pictures of Betty Boop on them.

Or pointless gears in flesh-safe areas to make them 'steampunk' with their name written on it in lead-free solder.
posted by winna at 9:15 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The difference between these machines and vibrators people actually buy from normal places is larger than any of the dildos depicted.
posted by asperity at 9:32 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Or pointless gears in flesh-safe areas to make them 'steampunk' with their name written on it in lead-free solder.

Since you mention it ... Lady Clankington's Cabinet of Carnal Curiosities.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:09 PM on May 18


So machines that insert penises or penis-shaped objects? That's a rather narrow definition of "sex" to be making a machine for.

Not a big fan then?
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:26 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


This is interesting and all, but I cannot let this pass without comment:

We were planning a spam mail campaign of 20 million email addresses, but unfortunately the spammer ended up in prison.

Yes, unfortunately you were prevented from using my personal email channel to tell me about your product. What a shame.
posted by JHarris at 11:39 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


The difference between these machines and vibrators people actually buy from normal places is larger than any of the dildos depicted.

Erika Moen's sex toy review webcomic, Oh Joy Sex Toy, is buzzing along nicely. (previously)
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:55 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]


The guy who's pushing this as some sort of Christian marriage thing and he's... divorced? And he thought this was going to save his marriage somehow but his wife left him? It's the exact opposite--this guy is not actually interested in what women are getting out of the exchange. He doesn't mention this ever being his wife's interest; it was his interest. It leaves me with the feeling that his picture of how women are supposed to enjoy sex requires a particular sort of penetration, and only that, and only in very specific contexts, and it's no wonder no woman wants to really be a part of it. He's taken this and is just putting it into his pre-existing world-view that women are less than human and need to be controlled by strategic application of phallic objects.

At least the older guy making porn with 19-year-olds is acknowledging that they have their own interests that do not include him, and rather than trying to hold financial stability over anybody's head, just finding a way to actually offer something relevant to someone's sexual interests that other 45-year-old men aren't offering. I won't say he seemed like the most enlightened guy in the universe, but that was remarkably feminist recognition of female agency compared to what I was expecting.
posted by Sequence at 12:08 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


I thought it was a really interesting piece, but what struck me about the photos wasn't the penises, but the wall-to-wall carpet. Oh my god, so much wall-to-wall carpet.

That stuff is super gross.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 12:21 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Oh my god, so much wall-to-wall carpet.

That's pretty much the norm for living spaces in the US, or at least where I am in the midwest, is it not elsewhere?
posted by Sequence at 12:45 AM on May 19


is it not elsewhere?

It really, really isn't. I have lived in places where wall-to-wall is basically a self starter kit for an indoor mushroom farm.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:01 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


Regarding wall-to-wall carpeting, I guess it depends where you live. I grew up in a house with wall-to-wall carpeting, and we never got any mushrooms out of it.

During winter, it was a lot of fun to get a running start, slide on the carpet, and then touch the metal frame of a wall, thereby producing a massive spark of static electricity. Even better is when you trip and fall, leaving your parents to wonder just what the fresh hell you had been up to.

And then when my grandmother passed away, my mom put her mom's oriental rugs on top of the wall-to-wall carpeting. Slowly, the house is turning into a giant ball of upholstery. The soft, padded version of Cube.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:55 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Wall to wall carpet has pretty much been the standard flooring for bungalow construction in the US since the introduction of assembly-line slab-on-grade construction, as it is cheaper to lay a moisture barrier and carpet over an otherwise unpresentable bare concrete slab than it is to treat it with something presentable like terrazo or to lay an alternative non-carpet surface like hardwood.
posted by localroger at 7:38 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


The carpet must be beige, too.
posted by thelonius at 7:49 AM on May 19


Wall to wall carpet has pretty much been the standard flooring for bungalow construction in the US since the introduction of assembly-line slab-on-grade construction

At the same time (late 1950s to early 1960s-ish) the price of carpet must have plummeted, maybe because of cheaper man made fibers. Starting then, carpet not only became standard for new construction but became the norm in "upgrading" older homes with wood, cork, or other hard floors.

I don't go into many new spec homes but at least with expensive renovations my impression is that people are keeping carpet for bedrooms and rec rooms only, not in living rooms and definitely not kitchens and bathrooms like you used to see. Cheaper renos still mean wall to wall carpet everywhere.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:18 AM on May 19


I think carpet in kitchens may be prohibited by code now, and it's been a long time since I've seen a carpeted bathroom. Cheapo construction gets linoleum in those areas nowadays. Carpet is still preferred by a lot of people for spaces where you're likely to hang out barefoot.

There was a revolution in manmade fibers in the 1950's which made carpet both cheaper and much easier to clean than anything that had existed before.
posted by localroger at 8:26 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


I have seen carpet in both kitchens and bathrooms of recent construction, so it's still legal in at least some places.

On the scale of grossness, that's up there with sharing your sex machine.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:48 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Here in NYC, wall-to-wall was hugely popular until the early 90s, but is now considered as dated as a mustard-and-brown color scheme.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:16 AM on May 19


Metafilter: Sex toy thread derailed by discussion of floor treatments.
posted by localroger at 12:23 PM on May 19 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: Sex toy thread derailed by discussion of floor treatments.

It's not a derail to consider the classic question of whether or not the carpet matches the drapes, just because hardwoods are currently in style.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:04 PM on May 19 [10 favorites]


Something something hardwood floors shaved genitals something
posted by emptythought at 2:38 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]


Heh. Indoor mushroom farm.

I built one if these machines once...for SCIENCE. It was more difficult than I thought it would be.
posted by ostranenie at 6:56 PM on May 20


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