A Brief History of Vibrators

A woman walks into a sex shop and says she wants to buy a vibrator.  The man working in the shop waggles his finger and says" Come this way."  The woman replies, "If I could come that way I wouldn't need a vibrator ,would I ?!"

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The illustrious history of the electric vibrator begins in 1869 with the invention of the steam-powered massager, patented by an American doctor. This device was designed as a labor-saving medical tool for use in the treatment of "female disorders."  Within twenty years, a British doctor followed up with a more portable battery operated model, and by 1900, dozens of styles of electric vibrators were available to the  medical professional.

Treating Hysteria

What, you  must ask were these esteemed physicians doing with their vibrators?  They were treating hysteria-the most common health complaint among women of the day.  While the existence of hysteria as a disease was debunked in the 1950's,  medical experts from the time of Hippocrates up to the twentieth century believed that hysteria expressed the womb's revolt against sexual deprivation.  A woman's display of mental or emotional distress was a clear indication of her need for sexual release.  Genital massage was a standard treatment for hysteria;  its objective was to induce "hysterical paroxysm" (better known today as orgasm) in the patient.  

Health, Vigor and Beauty

Ours being a consumer society, the vibrator was soon marketed as a home appliance in women's magazines and mail-order catalogs.  Ads proffering "health, Vigor and beauty" promoted the vibrator as an aid to health.  By the 1920's, doctors had abandoned hands-on physical treatments for hysteria in favor of psycho-therapeutic techniques.  But Vibrators continued to have an active commercial life in which they were marketed, much like patent medicines, as cure-alls for illness ranging from headaches and asthma to "fading beauty" and even tuberculosis.  The vibrator's usefulness for masturbation was never acknowledged;  however, as vibrators began appearing in stag films of the 1920's, it became difficult to ignore their sexual function.  Probably as a result, advertisements for vibrators gradually disappeared from the respectable publications.


Quoted from - http://www.wylde.com/history.htm



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