The Sex Machines Next Door

I filed this item for today's Wired News on Sex Machines, the new book by photographer Timothy Archibald that documents DIY inventors who build homebrewed erotic robotics in their garages. The book is a lot more about sociology than sexuality; the images aren't pornographic, and the stories of these tinkerer's lives and obsessions are fascinating. Snip from Wired News story:

Jon Traven does not look like a sex-machine inventor. He looks like a cowboy. But the divorced Christian homesteader from Idaho is one of many makers of garage-built erotic devices featured in Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews, a book by Timothy Archibald that documents the secretive subculture of hobbyists whose creations bear names like The Thumpstir and The Gangbang.

"Here I am, this divorced Christian guy, not promiscuous at all, and here I am with a sex machine," reads Traven's monologue in the book. "It was an idea I came up with in the last year or two of the marriage, as a last-ditch attempt to save whatever we had … our sex life, if nothing else. She actually pushed me for a divorce before I could finish it and give it to her.

"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. Sexual arousal is a doorway to a person's very soul and isn't to be messed with lightly."

Link to Wired News story. Photo: a portrait of Jon Traven shot by Timothy Archibald. Here is my absolute favorite photo from the book (sorta-kinda NSFW).

Link to Archibald's blog, and link to buy signed copies of the book.

Update: NYC's Museum of Sex is currently exhibiting Tim Archibald's work — and some of the actual Sex Machines — through January 3rd 10. Link.

The opening for that show sounded incredible. Archibald said many of the inventors in the book traveled far from home towns to NYC to attend in person. He described the scene as being much like a scene from the John Waters movie Pecker, in which the eccentric folk in "Pecker's" photos come out to see themselves immortalized. (Thanks, Jerry Weinstein)