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Published February 2019

A Brief History of the Vibrator

Female masturbation is a topic historically shrouded in taboo, though slowly but surely the curtain is lifting, as women feel freer to discuss pleasure and how they find it. This is highlighted by the advent and popularity of podcasts such as The Hot Bed Collective and Laid Bare that offer advice on which toys to choose and how to improve your precious ‘me time’. Forget diamonds, vibrators, (arguably the real ‘girl’s best friend’), amongst other types of sex toy, have become a welcome addition to many women’s sex lives.

Hands holding a pink vibrator in bed to illustrate the history of vibrators

However, this wasn’t always the case. You might be surprised to learn that vibrators weren’t specifically designed to provide us with pleasure… On the contrary, the history of the vibrator involves doctors, hysteria and Hippocrates!

Sadly, the female body has been greatly misunderstood throughout history. From 17th century into the early 20th century, a frequent diagnosis for women experiencing emotional outbursts, ‘extreme’ sexual desire, or generally a ‘tendency to cause trouble’ was hysteria. The cure to regain their sanity? Orgasms… every cloud and all that!

Now this might sound like a preferable alternative to medicine or surgery, but the women of the time weren’t encouraged to masturbate by themselves to relieve the situation. Achieving an orgasm became a medical treatment carried out on patients by their doctors!

Fortunately, the introduction of early vibrators in the 1700s meant that doctors no longer needed to bring patients to climax manually – a welcome relief to the burden of such treatments! This then resulted in a plethora of different electrical vibrator designs becoming progressively more effective and efficiently designed right up to the present day. Luckily female hysteria has been long ruled out as a disorder and the orgasm is no longer considered a medical treatment but more of a female right. You can read the full article, ‘A History of the Vibrator’ here.

It might interest you to know that YES certified organic lubricants are the 21st century vibrator’s best friend! They’re compatible with all mainstream toy materials so why not check out our guidelines on the best lubes for sex toys in our post ‘Which lubricant should I use?’

 

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