A History Of Pleasure: 15 Facts About The Vibrator

April 1, 2015  |  
12 of 16

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Today, you can have a pink, sparkly, dragon-shaped vibrator shipped right to your front door. You can even host vibrator parties for your friends. But that wasn’t always the case. Here’s a lesson on the history of vibrators and the pleasure they’ve provided over the years.

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We’ve always known that they are important

In the 1800s, when doctors believed in the medical condition called “hysteria” in women, they thought it could be treated by genital massage to the point of orgasm. They believed that when a woman climaxed she released toxic fluids, so they prescribed erotic massages.

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They Are Helpful For Other Uses

Early vibrators were also believed to relieve stomach issues by stimulating the digestive tract. They were also thought to be great for headaches because they helped improve blood flow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A kitchen appliance?

Hamilton Beach, a major home appliance manufacturer, made one of the first handheld vibrators that could be used for pleasure instead of just medical use.

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Subtle advertising

The first ads for vibrators wouldn’t use the word “vagina” or “orgasm,” but would instead refer to it as “that part of the body” and “the desired effect.”

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Lifting weights or getting off?

The first electrical vibrator weighed 40 pounds and required at least two people to man.

 

 

 

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A different kind of doctor’s visit

That 40-pound vibrator was technically only meant to be used in a doctor’s office at first, and the product was hand-cranked.

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The steam-powered vibrator

After the hand-cranked vibrator came the steam-powered vibrator. Can you imagine using a steam-powered vibrator on a steam engine train? Double the vibration, baby.

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Early customers

Some of the earliest consumers of vibrators included divorced and widowed women.

 

 

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Versatility

The Hamilton Beach vibrator came with six different applications for each “special treatment.” Ads featured women using the vibrator all over their bodies, including on their faces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VOE: vibrator over everything

Women have reported that if they had to choose between their mani-pedis and their vibrators, they would keep the vibrators.

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A brief ban

During the prohibition era in the early 1900s, vibrators were banned along with alcohol. The adult entertainment industry was beginning to rise at the time and it shed a new light on the product that authorities didn’t approve of. To this day, some states still frown upon the use of vibrators. In Alabama, vibrators can only be bought and used with a doctor’s note.

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The church and vibrators

Studies have found that the more religious a woman is, the less likely it is that she has used a vibrator.

 

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Pleasure is on the table

One early product that came after vibrators was a set of three balls that were placed on a table; a woman then straddled them and they got the job done without any insertion.

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The origin of the rabbit

The famous rabbit vibrator was born out of a restriction: in Japan, where the toy is made, it is illegal to make a toy shaped like a penis. Manufacturers had to work around that.

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They loosen up more than just your private parts

One voice teacher found that using a vibrator on the neck loosens the larynx and improves singing.

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