Discover the Real History of the Vibrator

Female hysteria: where the myth began

If you’ve seen the movie Hysteria (2011), you’ll understand why links have been made between vibrators and the illness’ diagnosis. But what is hysteria?

The hypothesis

In 1883, English physician Joseph Mortimer Granville invented an electric vibrator. While there were already other versions in use at the time, such as Dr. George Taylor’s steam-powered Manipulator, the one everyone remembers is Granville. This is in part thanks to the film where he was depicted as an honest heartthrob just trying to help suffering women reach “paroxysmal convulsions”, as well as the 1998 book that the movie was based on, by Rachel Maines.

The reality

So what was Granville’s vibrator actually for?

The start of something special

Have you seen those infomercials for vibration plates? A machine you stand on that supposedly transmits energy throughout your body, helping you to lose weight faster? It sounds too good to be true, right? But admit it, there’s a tiny part of you that’s curious too.

The sexual revolution

By the 1970s, the secret was out. Attitudes towards premarital sex had relaxed and some people even began to speak more postively about masturbation. In a 1974 article, sex educator Betty Dodson proposed that women should masturbate as a way to regain the sexual self-knowledge long denied them by society. How? By using a vibrator, of course!

Masturbation finally goes mainstream

While the 70s was certainly when the western world started changing its perception on sex, it wasn’t until the 1980–90s that masturbation — and the use of vibrators — finally got its time in the sun.

Vibrators today

In the mid-1990s, Australia was home to approximately 250 sex shops. Now it’s closer to 1000, with an average turnover in sex toys of about $50 million a year. And that’s not even factoring in the number of people that prefer to buy their toys online!

The wrong kind of imagery

Hysteria star Maggie Gyllenhaal thinks it’s a result of being bombarded with the clichéd scene of “putting on a black Victoria’s Secret bra and arching your back. That’s supposed to look like sex. But that doesn’t look like sex for most people.”

Sharing new vibrations

One thing that’s become clear during this history lesson: over the past 130 years or so, only a handful of people have wanted to speak openly and honestly about sex, masturbation and vibrators. And of that handful, many take their views to the extreme, which can be intimidating to people who are just dipping their toes in the water.

Bad at pronouncing words. https://cassovershares.com

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