“Hysteria” and the History of the Vibrator

first-vibrating-massagers-1024x597

 

What does hysteria have to do with vibrating massagers? It happens to be the historical reason that vibrator use, as we know it, began.

Believe it or not in the 1800’s, doctors diagnosed women who were experiencing symptoms including – but not confined to – anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sexual fantasies and desires, bloating, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, shortness of breath, and trouble-rousing, as having a condition called hysteria (Greek for uterus).

At the time, the common belief was that women did not have a true sex drive, but were sexually satisfied as mere receptacles for men’s pleasure. Therefore, hysteria was felt to be the result of subconscious sexual frustration.

Incredibly, doctors of that era would manually stimulate a woman to paroxysm, to alleviate symptom associated with hysteria. Prevailing medical opinion was that women did not experience sexual desire, so the orgasmic experience was not labeled as such. As unusual as this sounds, doctors in the 1800’s were actually on to something.

As we now know, the chemicals released during sexual arousal and orgasm are found to elevate mood, have a calming effect, promote better sleep, reduce the feeling of pelvic pressure due to unresolved arousal, decrease cortisol (thereby helping to reduce PMS), increase bonding, and in general, promote a sense of well-being.

As doctor’s treated hysteria and provided the relief of associated symptoms, a steady flow of women returned for repeat treatments. These doctors enjoyed thriving businesses but as a result, they suffered from sore hands and exhaustion.

In hopes of making the treatment of hysteria less stressful for himself, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville developed the first vibrating massager in 1881. Indeed, this creation resulted in faster, more enjoyable orgasms for both the giver and receiver.

The first vibrators were huge and bulky, but in the early 1900s, smaller devices (both electrical and battery operated) were developed to be more portable. Disguised as “personal massagers”, these vibrators put the power of paroxysms (aka orgasms) literally into the women’s own hands.


“Hysteria” and the History of the Vibrator originally appeared on Rumble & Buzz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.