The Strange, Surprising History Of The Vibrator.


In the U.S. alone, the vibrator is a billion dollar industry. But how long have they really been around, and who invented them?

A sex toy staple, the rise of the vibrator has always been linked to the Hysteria Treatments of Victorian England. But the Victorians were hardly the first to employ “pelvic massage” as a medical treatment. As it happens, the history of the vibrator is much longer than that:

The Vibrator’s Ancient Origins

The term hysteria — from the Greek Word or uterus, hysteros — originated some 2,500 years ago and described a triad of symptoms experienced by women: fatigue, nervousness and depression. Hippocrates believed that these symptoms were caused by a “wandering uterus,” and given the science of the time, it was as logical an assumption as anything else.

Questionable anatomy aside, dildos apparently appeared as an answer to this set of problems, having been found in places dating back to this period. In Ancient Egypt, legend has it that Cleopatra filled a hollowed out gourd with bees and used it for clitoral stimulation. It’s likely just an urban legend, though: she probably just used dildos, like every other woman of her time.

From Medieval times throughout the Renaissance, village doctors viewed hysteria as a sign of sexual deprivation, and thus encouraged married hysteria sufferers to engage in rigorous sex to cure their ails.

In fact, for much of history, the pursuit of the female orgasm was more important than we’ve been led to believe: even in the Victorian era, sex guides touted the female orgasm as essential to pregnancy. If a man wanted an heir, the female orgasm, and foreplay, were essential.


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