First reaction? One looks like an old-fashioned iron perched on top of a child’s toy steam roller.
One looks like a belt sander with a detachable hair styling diffuser.
And another resembles an egg beater which could double as a vintage ink stamp.
US website The Frisky got it right when they noted that these vibrators will “frighten your vagina.” In fact, we’d go so far as to say that your vagina would prefer be smothered in Nandos’ peri-peri hot sauce before it goes anywhere near one of these fandangled contraptions.
Horny anyone? We thought not.
Dr. Johansen’s Vibrator. Can you hear that? It's the sound of your vagina RUNNING AWAY. (1904)
These pictures come via The Antique Vibrator Museum (yes it’s a real place that really exist exists and it’s in San Francisco if you want to take the kids on an educational excursion over the summer). This from the Huffington Post:
The Antique Vibrator Museum is designed to showcase kinky collectibles from the late 1800s to the 1970s and, in the process, the history of health and sexuality between 1890 and 1970, according to curator and sexologist Carol Queen.
“The new exhibit contextualizes the vibrator’s role in society and highlights how our attitudes around sex and female pleasure have evolved,” Queen said. “It really gives us an appreciation for how far both society and technology have come.”
Let’s just take a moment to think about the women of the 19th century for whom these belt sander-esque products were a means to an end.
Back in those days (1900s and before) “female hysteria” was a common medical diagnosis. Symptoms included faintness, irritability, nervousness and sexual desire. (These days the same thing would be called Female Sexual Dysfunction but whether that even exists is another conversation in itself.)
This from The Conversation:
For those of you that don’t know, hysteria in this context refers to a once-common medical diagnosis, exclusively in women, considered to be suffering from wide array of symptoms including sexual desire and the nebulous “tendency to cause trouble”.
For this they would receive a “pelvic massage” — a manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced hysterical paroxysm or, as we know it now, an orgasm.
Wait. What? So before the invention of the vibrator, women would regularly visit their doctors for pelvic massages to treat this “female hysteria.” They would VISIT THE DOCTOR FOR PELVIC MASSAGES until…. Well.
Oh history. Maybe a trip to that museum SHOULD be on the cards.
To the ladies of yesteryear we say this our thoughts are with you. Please know that we are sorry you were left so despondent when Doctor Magic Fingers was not available that you were forced into a world of dangerous experimentation. We can assure that your experimentation, whilst not always effective (or, we suspect, painless) has eventually led to a brighter and better world.
Today we have: The vibrator. The trust vibrator.
And it doesn’t look like something our of Frankenstein.