the surprising and weird history of the vibrator

The vibrator – for some, a taboo topic; for others, a simple and easy way to relieve sexual tension. Vibrators have been around for a long time, but just how long?

Who invented it? We’re looking a little closer at these objects, and you’re joining us for the ride!

The Vibrator’s History

the surprising and weird history of the vibrator

There is a common misunderstanding about the origin of the vibrator. A myth has been told as if it’s the truth, and everyone is accepting it.

In the 19th century, doctors used vibrators to treat women suffering from ‘hysteria.’ Back then, hysteria could have been anything from nervous breakdowns to a simple headache.

The treatment for being ‘hysteric’ was giving the women an orgasm – sounds like nice enough treatment, right? 

However, modern evidence is indicating that there is no truth to this story.

A Different Origin Story

the surprising and weird history of the vibrator

Apparently, it came to light that there were mechanical devices called ‘vibrators’ in the 1900s.

They were advertised as back or neck massagers. Sometimes, women had a more intimate use for the massagers.

In reality, nothing indicates that this was happening in the 1800s. 

It is known that in those days, vibrators were used on the body to treat many ailments – almost any you could think of.

Some pamphlets claimed vibrators could help with insomnia, neuralgia, consumption, and even deafness.

It was also common to believe that the massagers could help fight constipation, gout, and sore throats. On top of that, many were sure it could be beneficial to children with health problems!

Who would think that today’s vibrator was once prescribed to sick kids?

Where Does The Modern Use For Vibrators Come From Then?

the surprising and weird history of the vibrator

In the early 20th century, doctors came to realize that vibrators actually are not miracle workers. They can’t treat any and all ailments, as previously claimed.

Now there was a problem – a whole industry of manufacturers were left with ‘useless’ products. There were many different models, from hand-cranked vibrators to the steam-powered options.

Eventually, in 1903, a company took a daring step and released an ad for both genders’ sexual appliance.

The product apparently looked like a belt with ‘electricity and vibration.’ However, obscenity laws prevented companies from advertising these devices for sexual pleasure.

In 1915, manufacturers handed over their vibrators straight to consumers. They had no choice – the American Medical Association publicly made it clear that there is no medical use for them.

Advertisements showed off vibrators as great massage tools, especially for women. Ads slowly became more and more sexualized, but it was still very subtle.

As a result, it is hard to say exactly when it became the norm to use vibrators for sexual pleasure.

The modern vibrator started showing up in the 1950s. It was openly sold in the 1960s. It was still rather controversial back then.

Today, you can find vibrators sold in many shapes, sizes, and colors. It is easy to buy a vibrator for any need and desire.

There is still some stigma that holds on to vibrators and women who masturbate.

But times are changing.

‘Hysteria’ is definitely not a word for female ailments anymore and it’s not shameful to own a vibrator.

These days, men and women both make use of vibrators, and its use is even recommended.