Sex toys are nothing new, although the modern battery-powered silicon penises we know and love today bear little resemblance to the carved stone or wooden phallic objects much beloved by our ancestors. So how have sex toys developed and why have they become so mainstream in modern society?
Phallus shaped objects have been around for as long as mankind and the first recorded dildo-shaped object dates back to Paleolithic times, which suggests that Paleolithic man had a lot to learn about the female anatomy. Fast-forwards to the Roman and Greeks and sex toys were a part of normal life – phallus shaped objects were used in fertility rituals and wives had dildos to keep them happy while their men were at war.
In later cultures, sex toys were just as popular – and useful. Chinese society allowed a wealthy man to have as many wives as he wanted. The trouble was there is only so much sex a man can have, so in order to keep their wives happy, faithful and heterosexual, Chinese men provided penis substitutes.
Sex Toys as a Medicinal Cure for Hysteria
When conservative values took precedence during the Victorian Era, sex toys were given a new spin as a medical treatment for ‘hysteria’. Women suffering from depression, frequent headaches or even fatigue were stimulated to orgasm in order to relieve their pain. Eventually the treatment was so successful that doctors needed a ‘helping hand’ in the form of a mechanical appliance. And so the vibrator was invented.
Early vibrators were not exactly discreet and you couldn’t slip it under the bed in the hope that your mother-in-law wouldn’t notice when she came round for tea. However, ‘personal massagers’ as they were known were hugely popular and practically flew off the shelves, but once patriarchal society realized that women could have orgasms without a man present, mechanical and electrical vibrators disappeared from stores.
In the 1950s, vibrators were repackaged as ‘personal massagers’ once again and experienced resurgence in popularity as a result, with wily ad men marketing them as weight loss aids, amongst over things. In the 1960s, the best-selling sex manual, The Joy of Sex’ described how a vibrator could help a woman achieve orgasm on her own and, once again, sales increased.
By the time the 1980s came along, sex toys, specifically Rampant Rabbits, brought vibrators into the public eye and sex toys became a mainstream product, available from adult stores and reputable sellers such as EdenFantasys. Since the 1980s, sex toys and vibrators have become increasingly popular, but with the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, more unusual sex toys have found an avid audience ready and willing to try something new to rejuvenate their stagnant sex life.
But despite all the advances in sex toy design, function is still the most important aspect an educated buyer looks for. After all, a sex toy isn’t much fun if it looks the part but fails to perform on the night, which is why the humble vibrator is still the most popular sex toy around.