Photo from Kink.com‘s website, Fucking Machines.
Inspired by the panel I was on for Arse Elektronika last weekend, I wrote this week’s column about the why’s of sex with machines — obviously I can write a whole book on this topic, as it’s consumed me for so many years and is a sideline study project. But I think you’ll really like Why Machine Sex? Violet Blue goes deep undercover to find out why women like to have sex with machines, and why people pay good money to watch. It’s a *very* different take on the topic, non-scholarly, it’s a female perspective on sex with machines (finally!), and it’s fun to see the Chronicle have to put so much effort into making sure they don’t publish the word “fuck”. Hee. Snip:
As this year’s international sex and technology conference Arse Elektronika 2008 hit its stride last Saturday — that’s Folsom Street Fair eve here in San Francisco – I found myself on a panel discussing “The Erotic of the Machine” (listen to the MP3 here) with six men and a sizable audience. The men were an assembly of artists from the Bay Area and Seattle to Austria and France, along with a sex machine maker, a sex machine pornographer and a spokesperson from San Francisco’s Kink.com, where the most famous sex machine site hails from. (That’s F-ing Machines.com*, also here in San Francisco.)
They went off on an existential tangent as we discussed sex with machines, ideas for “softer” interfaces, theories about the industrial revolution, gender and sexuality. I sat on my hands with a burning query until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Finally, I grabbed the microphone and asked Monochrom‘s Johannes Grenzfurthner if I could ask Kink.com’s Thomas Roche what I thought was the million-dollar question. And for Kink that million dollars is probably literal. I said, “Thomas. You work at Kink. The F-ing Machines site is insanely popular. Why!? Why do people want to watch women have sex with machines, and pay good money to do it? What’s the appeal?”
Thomas is of course used to this type of outburst from me onstage. His response was fantastic, including conjecture about the viewers projecting themselves into the scene, but he centered on the basic fact that it’s a woman alone, pleasuring herself, with no unnecessary window dressing tacked on. It’s true that a machine enables huge variations in how one conjures an orgasm, as in speed, stroke, size, vibration, steadiness, how long it all lasts — things that wouldn’t be possible with a human. Thomas told me, “There are many other advantages to sex with a human, and many things you will not get — yet — from a machine, like skin touch, smell, eye contact, tenderness, etc. Those things that humans alone can provide (so far) are only part of the sexual experience, but they are so fraught with intensity that they can often dominate the experience. …” (…read more!)
* Don’t you love seeing an address (URL) mangled!!?? I hope Peter already owns the URL they created for his site, with a redirect in place.