Vibrators Were Invented to Cure Hysteria
Strangely, vibrators were created as a medical device having nothing to do with a woman’s pleasure.
In the Victorian age in which they were invented, sex was thought to have little to do with a woman’s satisfaction.
In fact, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville fabricated the device around 1880 to cure “hysterical paroxysm,” a condition that had been concerning the medical community since Hippocrates.
Symptoms included anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, fluid retention, insomnia and erotic fantasy, and was thought to result from a blocked reproductive system. The cure involved clitoral stimulation to orgasm.
But women should not necessarily administer the cure themselves. As The Guardian explained:
Avicenna, the Muslim founder of early modern medicine, advised women not to treat themselves for the condition. It was, he wrote, “a man’s job, suitable only for husbands and doctors.”
Vibrator as medicine and not sex aid? That’s probably why it managed to be the fifth electrical device to be mass marketed at the turn of the last century, right after the sewing machine, the fan, the kettle and the toaster. And that’s certainly why Sears was selling it in their 1918 catalog.
The movie, “Hysteria,” starring Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhall, tells how vibrators were created. With a slate of female directors making films like “Hysteria,” “Take This Waltz,” “Elles,” “2 Days in New York,” and on the small screen, “Sex and the City” and “Girls,” women’s sexuality is coming out of the Hollywood closet.
This is a rerun, I’m on vacation.