Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Bike Love

I mean the dirty kind. I don't know if I have much to say on this, other than to pose the question: why do we eroticize the bicycle? From the concept of particularly juicy bicycle photography, referred to now as "bike porn," to the juxtaposition of bikes and nudes, bikes and love, bikes and romance, etc., we seem to have a particular desire to combine human sexuality with the inanimate and inorganic mechanisms of the bicycle.

Do we actually love bicycles so much we wish we could make love to them? Or is this just another facet of the human tendency to assign human characteristics (sexuality, in this case) to the objects, environment, and other creatures we interact with?

SOURCE: San Diego State University Special Collections & University Archives


  1. Not sure that our "particular desire to combine human sexuality with the inanimate and inorganic mechanisms of the bicycle." is any greater for the bicycle than a million other objects in American (world?) culture. I would have to see empirical evidence to suggest that we do this to a greater degree with bicycles than other items, esp. in advertising.

    I think the question might be why do we combine human sexuality with inanimate and inorganic mechanisms in general?

  2. Right, that's what I was trying to get at with the second paragraph. I also think that we tend to like to juxtapose our human anatomy with other sorts of objects, which leads to the "nudes on bikes" phenomenon. Like with the first image above, organic vs. mechanical seems to be an attractive combination for humans. Perhaps the sexual connotations are almost secondary?

  3. This is probably *highly* inappropriate but...it makes for a interesting story.

    I've often joked that I lost my virginity (per traditional belief system) to a bike. I landed very hard on a diamond frame when I was in my early teens. I still remember the pain. For years afterward, I rode diamond frames by sliding my leg in between the bars.

    Although to your main point, I think the auto has been more sexualized than a bicycle, complete with mood music and close ups of body curves...at least in the U.S.

  4. @ Beany: You're quite right about cars, and we can add motorcycles to that, too. So when humans like something an awful lot, we sexualize it, I guess. Can it be that simple?

    I'm almost afraid to ask, but how do you mean "sliding my leg in between the bars"? I'm not sure I want to know the answer... :)

  5. Thom: It isn't as dirty as it sounds. I don't know how better to describe it.

  6. I'll be satisfied with that, then!


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