Sex toys are so mainstream nowadays, we often take their technological delights and convenience for granted. Things weren’t always so simple though, so let’s spare a thought for the women and their lovers who came (see what I did there?) before us.
From polished stone dildos and goat-eyelid cockrings to vibrators that required their own steam engines, the evolution of sex toys has been one hell of a ride.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
Solid As A Rock
An eight inch long and one and a half inch wide polished stone object was discovered near Germany, which experts dated back to some time around 28,000BC. Due to its shape and size, scientists believed the object to have been used as a sex aid during the Ice Age.
The First Buzz
Cleopatra is believed to have been the first women to harness the power of the buzz, around 45BC. Legend says she ordered a servant to hollow out a gourde and fill it with bees. Confined to such a small space, the frantic movement and buzzing of the bees is said to have made the gourd vibrate.
The Invention Of Kegels
Ben Wa, or Geisha, Balls were used at early as 500AD to stimulate the penis during sex and strengthen women’s pelvic floor muscles.
Put A Ring On It
The cock ring is believed to have been invented around 1200AD during the Jin and Song Dynasties in China. The first documented cock rings are said to have been made from the eyelids of goats… with eyelashes intact… although others were soon carved from ivory, including bumps for clitoral stimulation.
Pure Virgin Only, Thanks
Wood and leather dildos were popular during the Renaissance in Italy around 1400, and historians believe olive oil was commonly used as a lubricant to aid their use.
Getting Women Wetter
More of an experience than a sex toy, ‘hydrotherapy’ became incredibly popular around the 1860s, when spas began offering a spray of water direct to the vagina as a treatment for hysteria.
A Star Is Born
The man credited as having invented the world’s first vibrator, now celebrated in the film Hysteria, was American physician George Taylor. Fed up with the common practice of manual pelvic massage to relieve women of the symptoms of ‘female hysteria’, George built the large, steam-powered device dubbed the ‘Manipulator’ in 1869.
Before There Was Botox
Shortly after, the first advertisement in an American magazine for a home electric vibrator appeared in 1899. The vibrator was the fifth home appliance to be electrified, after the toaster, but before the vacuum cleaner. The Vibratile was marketed as a cure for everything from headaches and nerve pain, to wrinkles.
Around the same time that the Vibratile entered homes, so too did a wide range of seating-focused devices, including saddle machines and electric rockers, which were designed to mimic galloping on horseback as another treatment for hysteria.
For The Love Of Latex
In the 1930s, innovations in rubber latex revolutionized contraception, with the introduction of the latex condom, as well as sex toys. Where dildos had previously been made from wood and hard rubber, softer, lighter and more flexible latex opened up a world of new possibilities.
Rallying The Troops
The invention of the sex doll is credited to Nazi Germany military commander Heinrich Himmler, and was initiated in 1941 to keep soldiers satisfied during World War II.
Groan On The Go
In 1968 the vibrator went portable, when a Californian inventor submitted a patent for the first cordless vibrator, requiring two batteries and featuring a rotation cap for speed adjustment.
The Cadillac Changes Everything
The Hitachi Magic Wand, considered by many to still be one of the most powerful clitoral stimulators on the planet, first appeared in the 1970s.
The Dawn Of The Rabbit
Though The Rabbit gained worldwide recognition after guest starring in an episode of Sex and the City in 1998, this popular sex toy actually made its debut in 1984. Created by Vibratex, the design of the rabbit and inclusion of other cute animal characteristics and bright colors was inspired, in part, to get around Japan censorship laws where the manufacture of vibrators was prohibited.