The Early History Of The Vibrator

21 06 2012

So… I’ll admit it. That title was just a teaser. There won’t be a comprehensive history in this post. If you’re interested, you can find that here.

However, I’ve recently been reading about hysteria (the medical “problem” of yore) and its treatment, which is (was?) orgasm, usually delivered in a clinical setting. In learning about hysteria’s history, which goes back to the time of Hippocrates, I’ve also come across some fascinating pieces of vibrator information that I thought I’d share:

  • Home-use vibrators were commercially available before home-use sewing machines and irons, and were openly advertised in the 1918 Sears catalog. So much for the 1920’s or 1960’s sexual revolutions as being isolated instances of sexuality being in the open.
From The 1918 Sears Catalog

From The 1918 Sears Catalog

  • Doctors who treated women with hysteria didn’t view bringing them to orgasm as sexual. Why? Because sexuality was synonymous with intercourse, which wasn’t part of the treatment.

There, vibrator information. That wasn’t too bad. Anyone have anything else to add?

posted by yair

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5 responses

21 06 2012
tamar d

this is what you are thinking about when Ayo is gone? 🙂

21 06 2012
Yair

I actually wrote this post a while back, but… isn’t this more likely what she would have been thinking about? (She’s back)

🙂

21 06 2012
tamar d

back so soon. that was quick. anyhow, it was a funny post by you 🙂

4 07 2012
LIsa

Thanks Yair for broaching this somewhat taboo (hahahaha all the replies make a joke of it) subject.
Can’t help but add something after reading this post (albeit a delayed reading) Anyway, our modern era men and women have transferred the hysteria of women to moderated pathologies, like …. oh… airbrushed perfection and skinny, skinny, skinny. We women should just quit trying to understand (and aspire to) what men want., which goes to why women weren’t having orgasms back then and if not now, well, same reason. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2737/did-victorian-era-doctors-use-vibrators-to-treat-hysteric-female-patients-with-orgasm-therapy

8 07 2012
Andrea

There is a new movie out called Hysteria, about just this topic. The treatment of hysteria by stimulating a woman to orgasm came about because the reason for hysteria was (or so they thought) the uterus wandering around in parts of the body that it didn’t belong. So by stimulating a woman to orgasm it enticed the uterus to come back to it’s normal place. Also, why when a woman has her uterus removed it is called a hysterectomy. They are removing the hysterical organ. I love crazy science!! 🙂
Also, the vibrator was one of the first ever appliances to be electrified (after the iron, toaster and washing machine). Talk about priorities!

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