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vibrator, history of its success

Vibrator: what they never told you

Do you know what was the ninth home appliance to be launched on the market, in history? It was not the vacuum cleaner, which was launched nine years later, nor the iron that followed the following year and not even the toaster, arrived on the market 20 years later: the vibrator.

Vibrator, treatment tool for hysterical women

It was the not too secret dream of Victorian women, who first loved embroidering, of course, but in the back cover of the sewing magazines they almost always found the advertisement of the new “portent of modern technology”, an object that allowed many of our (grand) grandmothers to not have to go to the doctor anymore to be “relaxed” when they were prey to “hysteria attacks”.

Mind you: for Victorian women, clitoral stimulation did not have the same meaning that would have taken over with the sexual revolution since the 1960s, indeed it was not even perceived as an activity closely linked to sex. According to the “The Sexual Impulse in Women”, 75% of women at the time (the research is dated 1913) suffered from hysteria”, a disorder whose symptoms could range from headaches to verbal outbursts, up to epileptic attacks.

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Healing for hysteria comes from ancient Greece

However, the cure for female hysteria was not a Victorian invention, but of ancient Greece and consisted of “pelvic massage”. Since in the Victorian age it was thought that women could not experience any sexual stimulation (not to talk about pleasure), orgasm was also unknown. They called it “hysterical paroxysm”.

In truth, the idea that the woman could experience sexual pleasure only after a vaginal penetration (something that modern science has radically questioned, discovering that only one woman out of three really manages to reach a vaginal orgasm) was so ingrained that the doctors of the time thought that when a woman felt an orgasm for clitoral stimulation (as in 70% of cases according to modern statistics) it must have been a symptom of “hysteria”.

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The vibrator replaced pelvic showers and massages

The only cure was to stimulate the clitoris until the patient asked to stop and obviously the treatment had to be repeated over time, so “hysteric” women became true gold mines. At least until the advent of the vibrator, which was not immediately adopted by doctors as one might believe. Indeed, at the time of its appearance, doctors used to resort to avoiding cramps in their hands, to “pelvic showers”.

Gradually, however, the vibrators took over: in 1869 an American doctor, George Taylor, patented the “Manipulator”, that is, the first steam vibrator. Mortimer Granville, around 1880, instead invented the first battery-powered vibrator. Of course, the batteries were still large and bulky, but they were portable and shrinking the size of the batteries the vibrators spread to many English and American upper-class houses.

Only after the twenties of the twentieth century, when the vibrators began to be used by the nascent red light film industry, became impossible to pretend not to have understood the formidable sexual value. At that point the ads of the vibrators disappeared from magazines to “respectably” ladies and it had to wait until the seventies-eighties of the last century for their use to be accepted, enthusiastically, by Western women (as a series of great success as “Sex and the City” then represented).

Tags: women