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Devices can be penetrative or extractive. A typical penetrative machine works by the transfer of rotational or reciprocating force from a motor to a directional motion on a shaft, which is tipped by a dildo. A hand-held modified reciprocating saw device is sometimes called a fucksaw and a hand-held modified drill motor rotating device is sometimes called a drilldo. An extractive device works like a milking machine and can be attached to the penis, breast, or other body part.
The vibrator was originally invented for the treatment of hysteria in Victorian women through medical orgasm induced by clitoral massage. These early mechanical devices were much larger and more powerful than the modern vibrators and were first used by physicians and became popular in bath houses in Europe and the US towards the beginning of the 20th century. More compact, electrically powered versions later briefly appeared as health aids in department store catalogs.
Modern automated erotic stimulation devices differ from vibrators because they penetrate as well as throb. These devices are sometimes used as part of auto-erotic or partnered bondage play. Teledildonics combine use of various sex machines and a web interface, used remotely by a partner.
Today the sex machines on the market include vacuum pumps, instruments that deliver calibrated electrical shocks to the nipples and genitals, and life size inflatable male and female dolls with penetrable and vibrating orifices.
In the 2008 film Burn After Reading, US Treasury agent Harry Pfarrer builds a pedal-powered "dildo chair." The pornographic website Fucking Machines has been featured in the mainstream press as a source of information and depictions of uses.
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