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High-Tech Sex: Libido is the Mother of Invention

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Every technological advance mankind has made in all of history has been driven by the desire for more and better sex. Well, maybe not all of them, but chances are you’ve heard that before, and there’s a reason why. In fact, many technologies were created to enhance our sex lives, and the ideas behind them are way older than you’d think.

  Hephastus and Aphrodite

Hephastus was a blacksmith and the Greek god of technology. (You may know his Roman incarnation, Vulcan.) He was so ugly and misshapen at birth that his mother took one look at him and threw him off the side of Mount Olympus. Still, through his technological expertise and some clever trickery, he managed to win as his bride the beautiful goddess of love, Aphrodite. And although the ancient manuscripts don’t mention how he managed to keep her, I’m guessing his mechanical skills played a significant role. What are the odds Hephastus didn’t have a Sybian or two sitting around in the basement?

In modern times, plenty of techies and gearheads are busy crafting their own love machines. From buzzing pleasure devices that work with everyday gadgets, like the OhMiBod, which pulses in time with your iPod, to homebrew fucking machines like those chronicled by Timothy Archibald in his book Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews, sex and machinery are intimately intertwined. One creative inventor has even designed a touch-based video game system to foster intimacy between couples as they play. The obvious question, of course, is, “does it come with a Rumble Pak?”

  Pygmalion and Galatea

Perhaps the ultimate in sexual technology is the idea of having a fully functional, human-partner-replacement toy. If you’ve seen Blade Runner, you probably remember Pris, a genetically-engineered “pleasure model” replicant, a being designed exclusively for sexual congress. Again, the Greeks were way ahead of us. In Ovid’s ancient poem Pygmalion, a lonesome bachelor sculpts a beautiful statue out of ivory and falls in love with her. Aphrodite -- remember her? -- takes pity on the lovestruck artist and brings the statue to life. This tale has been told over and over on stage, in literature, and on the silver screen, but even in real life, sex and technology meet daily in the uncanny valley as modern-day artists and sculptors strive to bring ever-greater realism to our (sadly) still-inanimate sex toys.

Depending on your gender preference, you can purchase realistic sex toys modeled after your favorite porn star or personal fantasy. Want a five-foot-seven inch Asian woman with auburn hair and a 39-inch bust? They’ve got that. And she’ll only cost you seven thousand dollars, give or take a grand. No word on how much it costs for Aphrodite to take pity on you, but I think if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.


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