As promised this post won’t be nearly as serious as the last, in fact it is about a topic that tends to make many a person giggle immaturely at it’s mention: sex toys.
Sex toys have been around for a shockingly long time, and they actually bring with them a fascinating history. Of course, doing this research I became exponentially glad that we have come a long way from the original forms of these play things, but hey… new found appreciation for something that was already regarded highly isn’t a bad thing! Anyway, I’ll just jump into things here with the story of the vibrator.
In the Victorian Era, hysteria was a fairly large problem in women, and it was considered a “womb condition”. Doctors would give female patients “pelvic massages” which was effectively second-hand (pardon the pun) masturbation as what we now know as orgasms were considered helpful treatment. However the doctors started to complain of boredom, fatigue and sore wrists (I’m not kidding) so a “medical device” was in the works to allow these patients to self-treat. Yes… vibrators started up on the scene in the 1800’s, and yes they were encouraged as a medical (not marital) aid. The first version was steam-powered, and supposedly very awkward, so it never really caught on… American physician, George Taylor, created it in 1869. Thankfully though, electricity became more widely available soon thereafter so Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville created a less awkward electromechanical model in 1880. This “medical” vibrator was the fifth released electric appliance, following immediately the teakettle. However, there was a sharp down-turn in popularity once the men caught on that women weren’t only using them to treat their hysteria anymore.
The modern-day blow-up doll also has a lengthy past, as records show some such creation around as far back as the 17th century. The French sailors created what they called the “Dame de Voyage” which was a somewhat crude, curvaceous ragdoll-like thing they would use to ease their loneliness when they were sea-bound. Of course once rubber was readily available, models more like those we know today were in the works. One of the first known rubber models came about thanks to an alchemist named Rene Schwaeble in 1904. Of course it didn’t take long for this item to improve and gain popularity; in and around 1908 the Parisians had mass-produced models on sale that could even imitate ejaculation.
Dildos have also been around for an incredibly long time, the first ones being made from stone or wood as early as 23,000 B.C. Now, whether these dildos were used for religious purposes, artistic purposes or sexual-self-gratifying ones we will likely never know, but the shape, size and detail make it pretty clear that they are in fact fake penises. The oldest known dildo was discovered in Germany and it dated back to nearly 26,000 years ago, made of stone and about 8 inches long. Kind of puts a strange spin on that AC/DC song “Hard as a Rock”.
Another internal device that is often considered the dildo’s cousin, the butt plug, has also been around for quite a lengthy time period. Dr. Frank E. Young created an “anal dilator” in 1892 (though not available for sale until 1900 or just before) as a marketed cure for piles, which looks basically the same as most anal plugs you’ll see in sex shops today. However, the story of it being a medical device didn’t last very long (40 years) as the instructions that came with the plug were apparently quite suggestive (shocking, right?) and so it was eventually considered false advertising and thus no longer openly sold as of 1938.
Condoms and penis rings also go way back, although the first versions of these were somewhat terrifying. The history of condoms is actually often disputed over, as there are a few ideas of their origin out there, which naturally causes for debate. What we do know is the first known version was used by the Ancient Egyptians, and that it was made of linen and meant to help hinder the spread of diseases and other such undesirables. Also, in the Medieval period, a similar linen sheath was soaked in chemicals and allowed to dry, and then used to protect the sexually active from contracting syphilis (an epidemic at the time). Of course, from there animal intestines and other animal skins were used as a more natural feeling barrier method which were much closer to the type we use now, in fact lambskin condoms are still sold today. Now, the story of condoms wasn’t too hard to take, but the story of the penis ring… -cringe-. The first known penis rings were made from goat eyelids, and the lashes were generally still intact. Gross, right? These rings were used to help out men feeling the pressure to produce an heir, allowing for longer lovemaking sessions and of course helped in maintaining an erection.
Finally, I’ll tell you about the first ideas or uses of the strap-on. The original Kama Sutra actually recommended that men who felt they were um… lacking below the belt, could wear an extension made of gold, silver, ivory or wood to supplement their penis’s length or girth. Could you imagine that conversation in the bedroom? Awkward.
So, obviously sex toys are not a new addition to life, as it seems they have been around to some variation as long as we’ve been having sex. Thankfully as we’ve advanced technologically we have made major improvements to these items, as I don’t think a wooden dildo would be very pleasant considering the risk of splinters… OUCH.
I’ve tried to keep this post a little more lighthearted and short in comparison to my last one about STDs… so in light of that I’ve stuck to telling you only about the history of sex toys. However, if this is a topic of interest I will gladly make another post about modern-day sex toys and the different types, materials used, etc. So let me know in the comments or by contacting me via my contact page to let me know if that would be of interest to you.
Have a great day, don’t forget your hysteria treatment.