Gretchen, of She Bop, hosted a class a few weeks ago called “the Joy of Toys”. We, the audience, were given a swift and surprising rundown regarding the history of sex toys. Below is an even more quick recap of what we’ve gone through to get where we are now.
500 b.c. - 1900
Although sex toys do not have a known origin, it seems to be a commonality amongst all cultures that have existed. A stone phallus was found in modern day Germany, presumed to start fires in multiple ways.
Ancient Greece featured women pleasuring themselves and homoeroticism. They also used olive oil as a lubricant and stones for contraception.
Pelvic floor strengthening came to be through Ben Wa balls, originally called Rin No Tama , although they were filled with terrible things, like mercury.
Cock rings were made out of goat eyelids, sometimes even with lashes intact. These rings became status symbols, with emperors wearing them made out of different materials to show it all off.
The dildo, sadism and BDSM were first heard in 1400. We were still using olive oil as lube.
In the 1800s, Hysteria was a popular diagnosis. The “wandering womb was the belief that a displaced uterus” that caused many medical conditions for women. Because of this diagnosis, women were obtaining pelvic massages and hand jobs from their practitioners in order to be cured. George Taylor invented the Manipulator in 1869. The steam engine-powered vibrator relieved the physicians’ carpal tunnel consequences. In 1882, a battery-powered vibrator was invented.
1900s - now
From that time on, vibrators became known as a miracle cure. Vibrate for your wrinkles. Vibrate for anxiety. It was the “fifth electrical appliance introduced to the home”. It earned its reputation for healing. Early porn in the 1930s began featuring these machines and it was no longer socially acceptable to advertise. Hysteria was denounced in the early twentieth century.
The Hitachi Magic Wand was created in the 1960s. Marche Manufacturing sold five million rubber dildos in 1976, but none sold in Texas as they passed a law banning sales. The first over-the-counter lubricant, K-Y Jelly was sold in 1980. The Flesh Light was invented by a policeman.
Today, we have so many options: battery-operated, app-operated, rechargeable, toys using reclaimed materials, sex robots in Japan, virtual reality sex toy video games and toys where you can make exact replicas of any penis you’d like.
What do you think will be next?
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