Vibrators and Orgasms as a Cure
Not too long ago, vibrators had a purpose that, while not much different than their use today, was much more mainstream. So much so that vibrators were once advertised in Sears’s catalogs! If you are a woman who suffers from symptoms such as sexual desire, shortness of breath, occasional insomnia and a ‘tenancy to cause trouble’, you may have been diagnosed with a condition called ‘Hysteria’ less than a hundred years ago. The cure for hysteria? Manual stimulation of the genitals until orgasm was achieved. Yes – doctors fingered women until they came in order to treat them for this debilitating disorder.Unfortunately for doctors, some women took quite a while longer than others to orgasm. (These men may have benefited from knowledge of the g-spot!) The hours that it took some ladies to cum meant that the doctors weren’t seeing other patients, and were therefore earning less money. Furniture was created, like the chaise lounge and the fainting chair, so that a woman could be positioned in a way that would relax her, and hopefully cause her to achieve orgasm quicker. These chairs, along with ‘fainting rooms’ were only seen in the houses of the most wealthy, so the everyday woman was seen in doctor’s offices and even mental hospitals. When these chairs didn’t speed up the process enough, a new invention came into the picture – the massaging device, or as we know it, the vibrator.
Vibrating hydrotherapy devices started making appearances in high end bathing resorts throughout Europe, where the predominance of hysteria cure research was taking place. By the time the 1870s hit, vibrators that were driven by gears and clockworks were created – the wind up vibrator. Shortly thereafter, the first electric driven vibrator was used. Of course, cures like the electric vibe was only readily available in asylums, where the poor women who were afflicted with hysteria were sometimes sent to live until cured.
By the start of the 1900s, the middle and lower class started having electricity in their own homes. This brought the vibrator to the home market, much earlier than other electric powered home appliances such as the vacuum and steam iron. Ladies could be treated for hysteria in the comfort of their own bedroom. It became so widespread that vibrators were even featured in the Sears Roebuck catalogues. These plug-in vibrators came with multiple attachments and were advertised as ‘compact’. Sound familiar?
With the decline of hysteria diagnosis, the vibrator moved from an everyday household appliance to the sex toy that is hidden away in bedside tables. Gone were the days of a horny woman being classified as ‘ill’. Who knows – if it were the case today, maybe you could get a Hitachi on prescription?