Your Favorite Toys Unusual History March 4, 2014 – Posted in: Accessories, Adult Toys, Erotic, Intimate, Toys – Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You may not be aware of the unusual history behind your favorite battery powered sex toys. Vibrators have been around for hundreds of years, but didn’t always have the self-satisfaction purpose that we know it for today. Would you be surprised to learn that this pleasure product was once used to treat woman’s ‘hysteria’? There’s much more history to this little toy than you may be aware of, and may have been part of your great-grandmother’s medical treatments. The term hysteria was a catch-all phrase to describe a woman who was suffering from a number of ailments, including insomnia, sexual desire, muscle spasms and “a tendency to cause trouble” (along with literally hundreds of other symptoms). One of the main treatments for hysteria was orgasms. The doctor would perform ‘vulvar stimulation’ on the woman (known more commonly today as ‘fingering’) until the patient orgasmed. Doctors not only didn’t associate this practice with sex – they actually complained that it was too time consuming. In came Dr George Taylor, an American physician who invented the first vibrator in 1869. This one was steam powered, and although it was a bit awkward, it helped doctors by relieving some of the strain caused by bringing their patients to orgasm. In the 1880s, Dr Joseph Mortimer Granville came up with an electromechanically powered version that was mostly used by physicians. It was only in 1902 when the Hamilton Beach company patented the first vibe meant for use in the home. Yes – this is the same Hamilton Beach that may make your coffee maker or blender! The new vibrators were a bit of a wonder in the home. There were only a few items that were powered by electricity at the time. In fact, the vibrator was only the fifth household appliance to be corded – even before the vacuum cleaner was! During the early 1900s, vibrators were promoted in mainstream magazines and catalogues, still skirting the sexual references that makes the vibrator so well  known today. Once it started appearing in pornographic magazines in the 1920s, the vibrator was dropped from your typical household goods catalogues and didn’t make an appearance in mainstream media until the sexual revolution of the 1960s. In the late 1960s, we started seeing cordless versions of vibrators, but the return back to the public eye only started up again the 1980s. In 1998, an episode of Sex and the City, where one of the characters became ‘addicted’ to their vibrator sent rabbit vibe sales through the roof. Nowadays, vibrators aren’t just in the domain of the sex toy industry. Major mainstream manufactures such as CVS, Walmart, Kroger and Target all have vibrators on their shelves, albeit the more tame varieties. Did you ever think that the little ‘battery operated boyfriend’ that you keep in the bedside cabinet had so much history attached to it? Maybe you’ll think twice when you look at the simple bullet vibe and think that it’s something your mother – or grandmother, or great-grandmother – would never have used!

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