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The Empowering History Of Vibrators

Vibrators have gone from being a taboo top-shelf only product to something that you can order with the click of a mouse over the past 15 years. Today, they are classed as much as a healthcare product as a sex toy, and of course, they can be both. Here’s a look at how we have arrived at this happy state of affairs!


Vibrators were first used to treat ‘hysteria’

During the 18th and 19th century, male bias in the medical profession led many women to be diagnosed with ‘hysteria’. In fact, today, we know that it is much more likely that these women were suffering from psychiatric problems that can affect men in equal numbers, such as depression and anxiety.

The word hysteria is derived from the Greek word for the womb, hystera, which was thought by the Ancient Greeks to wander around the body! Funnily enough, male doctors decided that stimulation of the female genitals was a good cure for hysteria.

The first electric vibrator for massaging the human body was invented by a British man, Dr J Mortimer Granville in 1880. It is commonly thought he intended the device to be used as a clitoral stimulator, but it is now known that it was designed to relieve muscle pain in men.

It looked nothing like the sex toys we are familiar with today, as it needed a generator the size of a fridge to run!


Vibrators were a respectable healthcare items in the early 20th century

Doctors soon saw the potential of ‘personal massagers’ to treat hysteria, and soon more portable versions were invented specifically to treat women. Contrary to what you might think, there was no shame in purchasing the devices.

They were regarded as a medical rather than sexual aid, and they were advertised and reviewed in respectable publications such as Good Housekeeping, albeit in flowery and evasive language.


Porn drove vibrators underground

Unfortunately, by the 1920s, vibrators were commonly being used in pornographic material, and this led to them becoming more hush hush, and not something to be mentioned in polite society. By the 1960s, they were being marketed as sex toys, but the range was limited and phallocentric.


Sex and the City rescued them

Like many modern-day trends, the current popularity of vibrators can be traced to the hit US TV show Sex and the City, which brought the world’s attention to the Rampant Rabbit, now more commonly called a rabbit vibrator (a device designed to stimulate the G spot and clitoris simultaneously).

For the millennial generation of women, seeing their favourite TV characters feeling comfortable with owning a vibrator was a turning point. Vibrators were about to go mainstream again! The rise of internet shopping also took the vibrator out of back street sex shops and into the homes of millions more women.

There are now dozens of different types of vibrators available to suit all tastes and desires, to help everyone achieve their best state of sexual wellbeing.

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