Vibrator is a feminist word

This week our intrepid sex reporter Kerri Sackville has been investigating vibrators, for research of course.  She reports

Pleased to meet you?

I must admit, I’ve never considered my vibrator with any sort of historical interest. I suppose when I am considering my vibrator, I generally have other, less cerebral, things in mind.

Also, I really just assumed that vibrators were a fairly recent phenomena, that perhaps arose from the sexual revolution of the 1970’s. After all, vibrators are the ultimate feminist statement. They stand for the right of all women to have sexual pleasure, with or without a man.

If a vibrator could talk, I imagine it would say: “Orgasms for women. Because you’re worth it!”

I discussed the vibrator over vegemite toast (as you do) with the lovely Rose and Angela from Hapsari, a website devoted to women’s sexual pleasure. And I was quite fascinated to learn that the vibrator has been around for a long, long time.

According to Susan Bakos, who has written many books on the subject (as you do), the first ever female vibrator was invented in the 1880’s by a British physician as a labour-saving device for the Medical profession. It wasn’t, sadly, a symbol of women’s emerging sexual freedom – it was intended to help doctors give their female patients a ”hysterical paroxysm”.

So what was this hysterical paroxysm?? You guessed it. An orgasm. Apparently women became ‘heavy in the abdomen’, anxious, and.. well… irritable, and only a nice hysterical paroxysm could cure them.

Now, the provision of a hysterical paroxysm was lucrative work for these medicos, but was somewhat tiring for the hand. Occasionally the doctors would engage a massaging midwife to help them with the job (as, ahem, you do), but, not surprisingly, the invention of stream-driven vibrating machines was welcomed by all.

A suitcase full of fun

The first hand held vibrator was developed in 1902, well before the electric iron and vacuum cleaner (which, as we all know, aren’t nearly as much fun to use).

Then, in 1952, the American Psychiatric Association removed hysteria from its list of mental illnesses. Happily, however, the hysterical paroxysm, and the little machines used to provide them, lived on.

Now, perhaps being called ‘hysterical’ isn’t ideal, but it does show that the benefits of regular orgasms for women have been known for many years.

Do you have a vibrator? Or perhaps more than one? Do you use it with a partner or alone? And how do you hide it from the kids???

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