A Brief History of Sex Toys

Last week I received a sex toys catalogue through the post, and after having not seen one for a few years, the contents of it were mind blowing. There were things in there that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Star Ship Enterprise and many of them needed IKEA like instructions to know how to use them! What is this world coming to when something that should be simple has to come with its own manual? We only have so many holes at the end of the day but on page 5, I saw a toy for ‘the man in your life’, and my heart skipped a beat. This object of sexual gratification had 3 sticky out things and I couldn’t, for the life of me, work out where they were supposed to go. Technology was taking over the sex industry, and I felt a little left behind.

The first sex toys appeared around 500 BC, and they were called Olisbos. The Greeks, surprise surprise, get the accolades for inventing this penis substitute that to this day is still considered an item of art. They were made out of whatever material was available in the day be it wood, leather or rock! and needed a hell of a lot of lube, (then again, they were sold mainly to very lonely women so perhaps the lube wasn’t that necessary!) Now, that isn’t to say that people were not sticking things inside themselves well before this time, but for the sake of an encyclopaedic timeline, we have to have a starting date.

forerunner to the modern dildo?

Fast forward to 300 AD, and that old faithful Indian sex manual, the Kama Sutra, advised on penis extenders, hollowed out pieces of leather or wood that had a hole in one end for your man juice to come out. They too needed some type of lubrication and I don’t know who would have suffered more, the penically challenged male or his girlfriend!

In 500 AD, we had the introduction of the Ben Wa Ball, and if you don’t know what these look like, think of a small posse of oversized marbles. Interestingly, they were first introduced for male pleasure whilst inside his loved one, (I’m sensing penis envy again), but today they are marketed more towards the woman.

A few hundred years later and we had the introduction of the cock ring, originally made out of sheep eyelashes that were sure to tickle your ladies fancy as you did your thing. And then 200 years even later, we had that defining moment when years of scientific research finally ended with the return of the dildo. Dildo Mk 2 boasted of being better than its predecessor although I am not sure how because it was made from wood or leather and required liberal amounts of olive oil, the preferred lube of its day, to keep the party going and the splinters at bay! The vulcanisation of rubber in 1844, led the erotic world to breathe a collective sigh of relief as wood would no longer be the number one material of choice, and women, especially wouldn’t have to push the limits of the pleasure/pain principle anymore, grateful is an understatement.

The first vibrator came about shortly afterwards and was a scary looking mechanical marvel that wouldn’t have been out of place in a H.G wells novel! Funnily enough, it was developed by men, to cure ‘hysteria’ in women. Hysteria, as defined by a man, was simply ‘horniness’. It was believed that women were not naturally erotic and didn’t get turned on like men did and so needed a little help. Ladies, this contraption was steam driven!, (imagine a miniature locomotive with a dildo stuck to the front going in and out of your love tunnel!) Scary, but not half as scary as what was to follow with the invention of electricity. The first electro mechanical vibrators hit the streets in 1884 and thankfully didn’t last too long. You had to be extremely brave, extremely horny and perhaps extremely stupid to be willing to try these things out for the sake of love!

From 1900 modern electricity led to the popularity of the electric dildo. In fact, for a time they were one of the first electrified home appliances! I wonder if they were sold in Wal-Mart or Home Depot!

At the time of these inventions coming out, the public were amazed, terrified but very inquisitive all at the same time. The same way I felt when I saw what was on page 5 of this sex toy catalogue. One thing for sure though, is that these toys hold an important place in our lives and we can never forget the importance of sex in our society.

A wise man once said ‘As long as we have holes we will endeavour to invent contraptions that can fill them’, and it would seem that never has this been more true than today. Look, sex is free, leaves a smile on your face and can be done as often as you want. It is important to know your history, to remember all the early sex freaks who took one for the team to enable you to acquire that piece of gadgetry that will turn your whole weekend around.

The future is unchartered waters and with the rising popularity of the internet and all things electronic and Avatar-ish, who knows what tomorrows’ sex toys will look like or be capable of. We will need a whole host of new sexual adventurers willing to go where no toy has taken them before…

Any volunteers?


4 Responses to “A Brief History of Sex Toys”

  1. trying to be well informed Says:

    Very interesting !! i am currently try and do a project about the emergence of the adult toy industry if you could email me where you got your information i would be so thankful! thanks for the article

  2. whoah this blog is wonderful i love reading your posts.
    Keep up the great work! You know, many individuals are looking
    around for this info, you can help them greatly.

  3. Very interesting post!! You know there is actually a wooden vibrating Dildo on the market right NOW. The brand name is Treeze and they look like a piece of 70’s artwork in a way. They have an replaceable motor and a finish on them that makes them nice and smooth…but I am with you. The first thing I thought when I heard the word wooden and vibrating dildo was splinter and ouch! LOL!

  4. Wow wood in the punnany my how things have changed! I can’t imagine trying to remove splinters from that area!

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