You do it, the guy sitting next to you on the bus does it, and so does the woman driving it. Everyone masturbates- humans, primates, even dolphins have been observed engaging in sexual behavior for pure pleasure and not for reproduction. When discussing topics like sex toys, masturbation, vibrators- it’s important to remember that historically it has not always been acceptable to discuss sex so openly, which means it’s easy for myths and misinformation to abound in popular culture.
One such myth, as explained by Clue blogger Jen Bell, is that the vibrator dates back to the dates of ancient Egypt, and that famed Queen Cleopatra herself used a dried gourd filled with buzzing bees for her own self-pleasure. Though this story is often repeated throughout various historical sources, there is no evidence that this actually ever happened.
Or perhaps you’ve heard the stories about doctors across America in the late 19th century massaging women to orgasm to treat symptoms of female hysteria– and that vibrators were a quick fix for their aching fingers. The reality is this is much more fiction than fact, and the truth is a bit more complicated.
The term female hysteria is derived from ancient Greek: specifically, a 6th-century physician named Aretaeus who wrote that he believed the hysterika, or uterus, had a mind of its own and wandered around the female body as it pleased. As he explained, emotional outbursts or mental troubles could be explained by the womb taking up residence in the head and other similar scenarios. This theory was the inspiration for what later came to be diagnosed as the condition of female hysteria, and the supposed cure was a “paroxysm”, or an orgasm.
An entire constellation of symptoms could result in a diagnosis, including anxiety, depression, sexual desire, a lack of sexual desire, or even being strong-willed. It’s easy to see why a vibrator seems like a great solution for this supposed problem: it would have been a fast and easy solution for doctors getting their female patients the relief they needed to cure their conditions, in theory at least.
The Truth isn’t as Sexy
The vibrator, however, was actually developed and popularized in 1883 by English physician and inventor Joseph Mortimer Granville to treat pain and other symptoms in men. So where did the myth about hysterical women being massaged to orgasm for treatment originate? It’s a pervasive claim in technology historian Rachel Maines’ 1998 book “The Technology of Orgasm”, where she argues that “the development of the vibrator in the late 19th century was in large part due to the requirements of doctors for an easier way to perform genital massage on women, often to ‘hysterical paroxysm’ (orgasm), which was historically a treatment for the once-common medical diagnosis of female hysteria.” This was only recently debunked as having no historical evidence in 2018 by historians Hallie Lieberman and Eric Schatzberg, which means her claims circulated and took root for twenty long years before she ever backpedaled and relabeled her conclusions as a hypothesis.
Sex Toys Through the Ages
According to UK news publication The Register, one of the oldest dildos ever discovered is at least 28,000 years old and is made of 20 inches of “highly polished stone.” Archeological digs from ancient Greek and Roman ruins have produced phalluses of all shapes and sizes made of mostly of stone like polished marble, but as technology developed over the centuries, so did sex toy materials. Eventually, more modern versions were produced out of things like metal, glass, and rubber.
Vibrators remained relatively out of the spotlight until the mid-1960 when Jon H. Tavel patented the “Cordless Electric Vibrator for Use on the Human Body” during the sexual revolution of the Swingin’ 60s. 2013 saw the invention of the rechargeable vibrator, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Later sex toys included plastic and latex materials, which we know today are not always non-toxic, but today, sex toys are made in a wide variety of materials, including glass, silicone, rubber, metal, and more. These materials are body-safe and can be designed to stimulate different erotic sensations when used on yourself or your partner. Silicone is currently the most popular sex toy material and is preferred thanks to its close approximation of smooth human skin (or genitals in the case of replicas and sex dolls).
Mix it Up
No two people cum from the same exact stimulation. Thankfully, technology is way ahead of this issue, and many devices have specifically been developed to tackle the sometimes complex biological process that is the female orgasm. There are so many different vibrators available today because people prefer different things! Some women prefer thrusts that are deep and slow, while others orgasm quickly when rapid vibrations and quick shallow pumps. More importantly- you both might want to switch it up!
Today’s vibrators can potentially deliver unimaginable sexual satisfaction through a wide range of speed and intensity levels activated through the push of a button. During one session, a woman can experience and explore a variety of sensations before finding the one that puts her over the edge.
The original cordless vibrator of the 60s was pretty simple and straightforward. One speed, one setting, one on-off switch. Pretty no-frills, but also pretty understandable when you consider the newness of the technology. The tools and techniques to create today’s designs simply hadn’t been invented yet, but credit where credit is due to the original creators for their innovation. The earliest models had a small vibrating ball that was attached to a wand and could be inserted into the vagina or applied directly to the clit. Thankfully, today many sex toys come with multiple attachments, modes, or textures to customize an intense and satisfying experience virtually every time we have sex with our partners (or ourselves). Technology has brought us a long way!
Better Than the Real Thing
One recent trend steadily growing in popularity is the fascination with highly realistic sex toys. From clones of our favorite porn stars cocks and pussies to Clone-A-Willy Kits, soft silicone sex toys have gotten more and more accurate in recent years. Other realistic toys include vibrating stimulators that simulate oral sex, strap-ons, and even cock sleeves for that extra length and girth you crave. From veiny cocks, sucking vibrators, double-ended dildos, the list of realistic sex toys seemingly never ends.
Easier and Safer to Clean
Obviously, we know much more about vaginal health, and indeed about hygiene overall than we did in Victorian times- it was only a few decades before the invention of the vibrator, in 1847, when Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis discovered the link between handwashing and infection rates. We know now that if we fail to keep our bodies clean, we can end up with nasty infections, and one of the best ways to prevent infection is by keeping things that regularly come in contact with our genitals, like sex toys or our partner’s hands. The earliest electric vibrators and electric sex toys had to be plugged into the wall- dangerous, and definitely not easy to keep clean. Thankfully, today’s models are lightweight, portable, and most importantly, are easily cleaned and maintained.
What would we do if we couldn’t rely on our adult lifestyle products and sex toys? When things are getting steamy, you want to be sure your favorite sex toy won’t break or function incorrectly in the heat of the moment. Technological innovation is safer and more reliable than ever, and these days high-quality sex toys are built to last. When you find a vibration pattern or a specific type of stimulation that you know will push you over the edge, then you want to be able to easily replicate that action. Some high-tech toys can be controlled via an app or programmed to remember your specific preferences. With new tech comes new opportunities and possibilities for the sex toy industry.
Adult Sex Toys Continue to Rise in Popularity
Cultural and social attitudes towards sex are continuing to evolve towards a more positive, accepting, and inclusive way of thinking and behaving. Technology has played a large part in this evolving way of thinking as sex toys become more user-friendly, simpler, and safer. Through careful testing and design, manufacturers can now produce adult lifestyle products that are specifically designed to rock your world by hitting all of your or your partner’s pleasure zones with just the right pressure and intensity. That means more satisfaction than previously believed possible for many men, women, and couples. At Your Fancy, we are proud to offer some of the most technologically advanced sex toys on the market today and look forward to what the future holds for the industry.