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by Katie Peachesa April 25, 2020 2 min read

History of Vibrators

By Tatyana Dyachenko

Vibrators have been around for a long time. Originally invented to cure a female “disorder” called hysteria, vibrators were prescribed by doctors throughout the world to bring the “sick” women to “hysterical paroxysm”, commonly known as an orgasm.

But, let’s not force feed you all this information at once. Let’s begin with why vibrators were needed at all.

Since the days of Hippocrates in the first century A.D., women were running around complaining about chronic irritability to physical weakness, and anything in-between. All of these symptoms were conveniently combined into one category and classified by the medical professionals as hysteria. These symptoms, the doctors said, were caused by a prolonged lack of sexual gratification. In those days, sex for pleasure was frowned upon and the act was limited to sex for procreation only. Once a man had an orgasm, sex was done, constantly leaving the woman unpleased and frustrated.

To relieve women of their sexual frustration, doctors manually rubbed the genitals of an inflicted woman until she reached hysterical paroxysm. This, in turn, calmed the women down. Think about it. If you’ve ever been treated to a night of pure bliss with your honey, you’re pretty calm, quiet and controllable afterwards.

Although it seems ludicrous, these doctors didn’t know that what they were doing was giving women an orgasm. Since there was no sexual connotation associated with the treatment, the need for it in the public sector continued.

In 1869, George Taylor invented a steam-powered vibrator. It was the first of its time and was meant to relieve cramps in doctors’ hands from stimulating women for long periods of time, thus speeding up the process so doctors could see more patients.

For the next 20 years, a number of vibrators were developed and patented, including the first battery-operated vibrator, which was made by Joseph Mortimer Granville. Mortimer’s vibrator had several new attachments that would increase the pleasure of a massage; however, he wanted his vibrator to be used only for men with muscle pain.

Regardless of its intended use, Mortimer’s vibrator revolutionized the treatment of hysteria, because it allowed vibrators to be transported; thus, allowing doctors to make house calls. Imagine having someone on call 24 hours to relieve you of your sexual frustration whenever and wherever.

The portable vibrators were wildly marketed, showing up in Sears™ catalogs as a home appliance that promoted youthfulness and beauty, as well as in mainstream advertisement.

It wasn’t until the 1920s when porn stars began using vibrators in their adult films that the sexual connotation of these devices could not continue to be ignored. Vibrators slipped out of mainstream sight and fell into the tawdry world of pornography.

In the 1960s, the vibrator made a comeback. Feminists touted the vibrator as a symbol of a woman’s power to please herself and be independent. The vibrator was heralded as a tool for sexual pleasure that no woman should be ashamed of.

So you see, vibrators have a long and lengthy history. From the steam-powered manipulator to the Pearl Rabbit, vibrators have been helping women achieve the orgasm that they need for years.

Katie Peachesa
Katie Peachesa

Katie Peachesa is a sex and lingerie blogger based out of the urban chic Wapping in the heart of East London, United Kingdom. In her spare time, Katie enjoys photography, yoga and fitness, a bit of boxing, traveling, keeping up with the latest fashion trends and mudlarking and exploring pastoral settings. You are likely to find Katie in an artisan cafe in Brick Lane on a Saturday afternoon furiously typing her next article on her laptop whilst she is sipping on her flat white and drawing inspiration from the hustle and bustle in the heart of creative London. Katie runs the "Fashion Life Mag" and has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Allure, Grazia, Tatler, Evening Standard and other popular media outlets.


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