A History Lesson…Pull up a chair…

Sex, Writing

I know what you’re thinking; who invented sex toys and why? Don’t be shy…I used to ask myself this very question all the time.

Well, I used to work for a very large and very well-known company that is in the business of selling sex toys and lingerie to women. So, because I’m such an ardent professional (and not at all because I’m mildly obsessed with sex and everything about it), I took it upon myself to find out as much as I could on the subject of sex toys…because, you know, professionalism.

You could be forgiven for assuming that the humble sex toy is a relatively recent invention, perhaps created within the last couple of centuries.

You might also think that at some point in history, someone (you would assume a woman, right?…For obvious reasons) thought, “Hey, I don’t need a man for his manhood, I can fabricate me some of that!” and they went about making an inanimate, phallic like object that could give them everything they could get from a man…and then later they added a function that could make the whole thing vibrate and they damn near ruined every woman’s idea of amazing penetration, and broke a fair few men’s egos, forever.

Well, for starters, we (as human beings) have seemingly been dirty perverts for a little bit longer than that…a whole lot longer, in fact. The earliest (thought to be) phallic device dates back around 30,000 years. Archaeologists are reluctant to write ‘Dildo’ in the history books, so instead these items are called ‘Batons’, and their use is still painted pretty vaguely, but according to one expert, the sizes, shapes, and ornate, explicit, symbolism speaks for itself.

Skip forward a little to Ancient Greece, and around 500BC our kinky ancestors were using what were called olisbokollikes, which is essentially a dildo-breadstick. Yup…food porn!

So, who decided to make these instruments of pleasure vibrate? By all accounts, it was our sexy Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, who is rumoured to have instructed a servant to fill a hollow gourd with bees…Buzz buzz.

And what of some of our other favourite sex toys? Jiggle Balls? Kegel Balls? Ben Wa Balls? Whatever you call them, we have Ancient Japan to thank for those! Presumably invented around 500AD, they were originally made of metal and used to rust from overuse….erm….

In case you were wondering where the word ‘Dildo’ came from, which of course, you were, the first recorded use of this now commonplace word came direct from the 16th poet, Mr. Thomas Nash, himself, who wrote a piece about a young boy in a brothel with a glass ‘Dildo’.

In 1734, the Tremoussoir was invented in France, and relied on a wind up mechanism. Why was this invented, you might ask? Probably not for the reasons one might assume…you see, Doctors didn’t believe, during this time, that the female orgasm was at all related to sex, and instead it was used as a treatment for a condition women suffered from…Hysteria.

Terrible condition really…just awful. The only cure was an orgasm that would restore the patient’s sanity. It became surprisingly popular (hmmm…) and when Doctors got tired of having to use their hands to achieve ‘hysterical paroxysm’ (an orgasm), which let’s face it, can be time consuming if you don’t really know what you’re doing, they brought in the professionals and devices like the Tremoussoir were quite common.

Fast forward a little to the 1880s and we can all thank Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville for his invention of ‘Granville’s Hammer’, an electronically powered device that was originally designed as a fancy massager for muscle tension. It didn’t take long for a few genius’ to realise it could be used for relieving all sorts of tension, and achieve in a much more timely fashion, ‘hysterical paroxysm’.

It took one hundred years for vibrators to become mainstream items, and another decade from that point for the most popular vibrator in the world to make its name, thanks to the girls of Sex and the City in 1998 for bringing ‘The Rabbit’ to everyone’s attention.

Women of the world certainly owe a debt of gratitude to Jaqueline Gold and HBO for that one!

But you see, we’ve been kinky since the dawn of time!