SexEd: History of Vibrators

History can be fun. Researching certain historical sex toys even more enjoyable.  You might be wondering what caused this fun loving moment for me. It came about when my grandparents passed away and my mom and I were going through some of the old things in their basement. One of the things I discovered happened to be in a special trunk. It was small, compact, but labelled “For Health Use Only.” Oh yeah, my curiosity said, “What is this? How could this be?” So I took the trunk over to where my mom was in the laundry area of the basement and opened it up. Looking back, I shouldn’t have done that. Yet, on another level, it was worth seeing the look on my mom’s face. 
You’re dying to know what was in the case, right? You might even know if you’re a history buff of old sex toys. Or even of old electric hygiene products. Yes, somewhere through the ages, my grandmother or grandfather or someone in the family had bought a “massage” instrument. I say this with a smile and a giggle. To put it in regular terms, it was an early vibrator. I was thrilled to actually see one. I’ve seen pictures and I’ve seen drawings, but seeing one in person– what a discovery! My mom– not as thrilled, more like shocked. Which got me into lecture mode with her.
“Mom, you know what this was used for? It was used to treat hysteria in women.” Please note, I had a grin. Huge grin. “The goal was to give a woman a paroxysm, commonly called an orgasm today.” I got that mom eyebrow look but still managed to continue on without dropping dead. I was impressed. Once I explained how back in Victorian times, it was decided women fainted, were very repressed, and got hysterical easy. Because of this, women needed to have regular paroxysms. They would go to a doctor’s office and he would manually stimulate them until they had one. Once that was done, they were considered to be “cured.” However, women felt so wonderful afterwards, they’d go back to the doctor’s because symptoms would recur. However, the poor doctor would see so many women, his hands were tiring out. Thus, the birth of mechanical helpers– the vibrators to enhance his ability to get his patients in and out of the office sooner. In 1883 Mortimer Granville invented the first electric model. (All praise Mortimer for his blessed device!)
Nowadays, we understand why that is- women are sexual creatures just as much as men are. They have needs to be fulfilled. Back then, they barely understood women’s health, much less how women’s sexual needs. Yes, there were few and far between. In fact, what’s interesting is the model we found was originally sold by Sears & Roebuck. *:-O surprise Yes, that Sears. I know, the shock. For years, the electric vibrator was sold as a health aid to help those who needed to keep their healthy glow and for other various health issues. It wasn’t until the 1920s when movies showed the vibrator being used in stag films that advertising for these devices disappeared from the public purview. Yet, they never went away. Instead, the sex toy industry was born. *sends up cheers*

Now, I can see you’re wondering why this has anything to do with me at all. Well, actually, in one of my books, I actually refer to that old piece of history– the ancient electric vibrator. In fact, I even have my mom in the book as well. Currently that book is looking for a home, so once it’s back into publication, I’ll let you know where to find it. But yes, history can be fun- especially sex history. It’s amazing the things you can learn if you only look up, down, and all around. Especially when it’s about things you might never have considered before.


This leads to the midweek ROW80 Update. How am I doing? So far, I’ve written about 4k or so. Maybe more. This sex scene I’m working on is kicking my tail, but only because I’m trying to do three things in it– I’m upping the emotional process, I’m using MRUs on it to deepen the scene further, and I’m making sure that the scene itself helps further the plot itself because when it ends– it will lead to something that will force one of the characters to make a decision effecting what will come ahead- for good or for ill. I’ve been doing some blog posts this week, plus I’ve been doing some extra promo work. So, honestly, not too bad. I’m hoping to get at least 2/3 done the story by Sunday. That’s my goal for the rest of this week.

0 thoughts on “SexEd: History of Vibrators

  • Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those things up close and personal, though I’ve known of their history of health care use for quite some time.

    I think it’s really cool that you found that in among your grandparents’ things. Whaddayano, they were real people, just like you! Whodathunk? Seems like your mom didn’t want to think of that, for some reason. ;-D

    Congratulations on your ROW80 progress! Looks like you have your story well thought-out. Way to go!

  • That looks just like a Hitachi Wand from, well… Sears, I guess.

    Though I’d known a fair amount about the origins of female hysteria and the vibrator (the dildo has a much older history, going back to ancient cultures where they were often made from carved wood and bone)… I’d never actually seen a real old fashioned vibrator like this except in conceptual drawings.

    How very cool you found this piece of “hystery”, Cyn.

    And I’m sure it helped add something to your word count for that ROW80 check-in, somehow. 😀

  • Wow, what a find! I did some reading up on the history of the vibrator after seeing the movie “Hysteria”, which I gathered probably took some liberties with the facts. It’s a fascinating topic! 😀

  • The history of sex toys is fascinating. The history of vibrators themselves makes me giggle most days. But it’s interesting to see how and why they came about and where they went after their development. It’s neat how once they were showcased in stag films, two things happened– sex toys came about in popularity, though underground– and within a dozen years, modified examples which were called massagers were released. *grins* it just boggles the mind!

  • I love it when we realize the people before us were hot-blooded and looking for pleasure, just like the rest of us. It’s easy to look at our mothers and grandmothers and think they are beyond those things. Finding your grandmother’s “treasures” is another way to know her, and know she was passionate. My great-grandmother was a woman way before her time… I only wish I had taken more opportunities to peel back the layers.

    Oh, and congrats on 4K. Hope that scene works out for you.

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