Vibrators are some of the most popular sex toys in the world, even when their true purpose has to be masked because of censorship. Ask a vibrator user, and they won’t be surprised at all. Vibrators have a wild, crazy history — and they’re not as new as they might seem. Before there was electricity, there were still vibrating sex toys, though not necessarily used in the way or for the reasons you might imagine.
If your favorite way to get off includes buzzing, pulsating, and plenty of batteries, here are 15 fun facts you should know about vibrators. Reading this while using your vibrator not required, but always a fun idea.
- The first vibrator was invented in France in 1734. It was called the Tremoussoir.
- Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville invented the first electric vibrator, supposedly to relieve muscle pain, but we know better.
- Vibrators were originally used as a treatment for “hysteria” in women — a totally made-up illness. Most of the symptoms sound like anxiety, depression, or the desperate need for an orgasm but the label was applied to women who were unruly and had too many opinions, too. The prescribed treatment for hysteria? Orgasms.
- Before vibrators, physicians used their hands to provide manual stimulation and relief for those “suffering” from hysteria. They wanted to give their hands and fingers a break and treat more patients. The vibrator provided a mechanical option — and made everyone happy.
- In 1869 a steam-powered vibrator was invented by George Taylor and was called The Manipulator. (Insert your own joke here.)
- Hamilton Beach (of blenders, mixers, and other home appliance fame) patented the first electric vibrator in 1902. It was one of the first electric home appliances with a patent, after the toaster, fan, sewing machine, and tea kettle. If that doesn’t prove that vibrators are a vital necessity, we don’t know what does.
- In 1918, you could buy a vibrator (marketed as a personal massager) from a Sears catalog (ask your grandmother what those were). Once vibrators became popular in porn, they were removed from the catalogs and no longer sold publicly.
- More than a third of all American women admit to owning a vibrator. The number may be much higher but stigma still keeps people shy about admitting their sex toy use.
- Over 80 percent of people who buy sex toys use a vibrator for clitoral stimulation and orgasms.
- Oprah once called the rabbit vibrator the “Rolls Royce of sex toys.” People who love their rabbits definitely agree it’s one of the best.
- The rabbit vibrator was invented in Japan and made to look like a brightly colored animal to get around censorship laws in the country.
- Vibrators — the rabbit and the Original Magic Wand — both became even more popular after appearing on episodes of Sex and the City.
- People who are married are twice as likely to use a vibrator. The real question is whether this indicates dissatisfaction with their sex life (not necessarily) or a willingness to add different kinds of pleasure into their sex life? We prefer the second option, but it’s really a bit of both.
- The most expensive vibrator ever sold retails for approximately $55,000. It’s made of white-gold and covered in over 100 diamonds. Thankfully the vast majority of vibrators are at price points the rest of us can afford.
- Women who use vibrators regularly also tend to get regular pelvic exams — taking care of your vulva keeps you healthy so you can, ya know, take care of your vulva later.
Vibrators may not have the long history of dildos, because of their need for a power source, but they’re definitely older than most people realize. As technology grows and changes, so too do the options of vibrations, pulsations, and other mechanized pleasure. These days you can operate a vibrator from your smartphone or let your partner control it from across the world. But one thing remains the same, all sex toys exist to make us feel amazing. You have so many more options than you realize.
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