Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sex Toys Have Been Around Longer Than You Think

Anal plug with a fluffy pink tail.

Although the very first sex toys may not look the ultra-realistic dildo or the fantastic, purple rabbit vibrator that spring to mind when you think of these items, people have been crafting pleasure items for thousands of years. Join us as we take a look at the history of sex toys.

30,000 Years of Dildos

30,000 years ago, the residents of what is now Germany were crafting surprisingly-sleek dildos made out of polished siltstone. An 8-inch model of this sex toy was first unearthed in 2005, then went forgotten for several years before becoming part of a museum exhibit on sexology. This is a well-deserved place for the oldest-ever sex toy known to man.

Researchers have also found dildos made from ivory, bone, limestone and teak. The Chinese often cast dildos from metals such as bronze (and the Chinese were among the first to use cock rings – made from goat eyelashes!). A dildo made from chalk has even been discovered in modern-day England. Researchers place the age at approximately 4,500 years old!

It's not just the toys that have been uncovered, either! Depictions of dildos exist in Japanese and Greek art, to name just a couple cultures that were enamored with their dildos.

Greek men were even known to give their wives dildos, known as olisbos when they went off to war in an attempt to prevent illness due to lack of sex. The Greeks also created a softer alternative to stone dildos out of dough. Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes described a plot by women to lure men away from war by withholding sex and using their dildos until the men established peace in a play known as Lysistrata. It seems the role of dildos in ancient Greece was varied.

Italians experimented with leather and wood for their “dilettos” during the 15th century. The designs may have been primitive, but they worked!

In the 1500s, dildos made their appearance in the United Kingdom, where citizens could enjoy the pleasure they provided.

Around 1850, inventors would begin to use rubber as the base for their dildos. It would take another 120 years for dildos made of body-safe silicone to be created. Even then, they were designed with a handle for people who had disabilities like creator G.I. Duncan had.

More recently, strap-on dildos were devised as a way for impotent men to engage in sex with their wives. In the 1960s, strap-ons weren't yet part of the LGBTQ narrative, and the inventor certainly didn't envision how roles could be reversed when women used strap-on dildos to penetrate their male partners anally.

What About Vibrators?

The first vibrators were often bulky designs that doctors operated to bring hysterical women to orgasm. Although, these services were viewed as medicinal and not sexual. In 1869, an American doctor named George Taylor created a device known as the Manipulator was powered by steam and certainly more dangerous than any vibrator our readers have ever tried! Of course, it was a step up from the French vibrator, which doctors used to “treat” patients, that required users to crank a handle to create vibrations.

It wasn't until 1880 when an electro-mechanical vibrator would enter the scene. You might have used a kitchen appliance made by Hamilton Beach, but the company was also selling electric vibrators as early as 1902!

At-home vibrators were originally marketed as a solution to everything from wrinkles to deafness, and some wand-style vibrators are still touted as a cure for sore, achy muscles. These machines would eventually make cameos in porn, a long way from the doctor's office!

J.H. Tavel filed a patent for the first cordless vibrator, and the world hasn't looked back since! Of course, many people still love their Hitachis, and some have even had the same wand for decades!

Sleeves, Dolls, and Plugs

Men shouldn't feel less out in the cold, either. Rumors have it that European sailors would take rubber sleeves with them on long voyages in the 18th century.

They were also the original consumers of sex dolls, which first became available in 1904. A Parisian who went by the name Dr. P. created custom dolls for his clients out of vulcanized rubber.

Men also placed rings made of jade or ivory on their penises during China's Ming Dynasty.

More recently, the Japanese relied on Ben Wa balls to provide pleasure when inserted vaginally. These balls also help to train the PC muscles, and some women still use them for that purpose. Unfortunately, there may have been negative side effects from the original balls, some of which were made from mercury or lead.

Like the vibrator, the first butt plugs were marketed as medical devices. These anal dilators were intended to cure hemorrhoids.

For 30,000 years, humans have employed different objects as sex toys, and paleontologists have discovered some of them right next to everyday implements such as sewing needles. Could it be that our ancestors were actually less sexually repressed? Perhaps we actually took a step back when we needed to veil the purpose of vibrators as medical massagers.

Fortunately, the veil is starting to lift. Sex toys are as safe and perhaps as creative as ever after many years of trial and error. Whether you want something affordable and discreet or your desires lean toward the luxurious and chic, there's a sex toy beckoning to you.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r