History Of Hysteria And Vibrators

In preparation for our Secret Women’s Event at the Ivy last the other week, I had the pleasure of doing some research by seeing a sneak preview of the movie Hysteria. Cleaning out a pile of papers I found some information that was given to me on the night that I thought I should share it. Consider yourself lucky that these days technology is on our side, assisting us with all of our sexual needs.But lets take a look where we have come!


The Vibrator Timeline


4th Century BC: The idea that a ” wandering uterus” ( literally hysteria) can cause strange symptoms, from amnesia to sleepwalking to madness. ( I would be mad if I was experiencing a life without sexual pleasure).


2nd Century A.D: The early Greek Physician Galen concludes that hysteria’s cause is sexual deprivation. The treatment he recommends is marriage. ( He must not have spoken to most married people before he recommended this). He was also the first to suggest the remedy of “digital manipulation” . ( In the marriage or from other people?).


2nd Century A.D: The Roman philosopher Celsus first recommends bloodletting as a possible cure for women’s hysteria ( I think I will stick to the digital manipulation).


10th Century: The Persian physician and prolific medical writer Avicenna recommends a “rubbing” cure for hysteria, which he says will allow troubled women to “find peace”. ( Digital manipulation, rubbing cure…. Thank goodness we now have masturbation).


13th Century: The Spanish alchemist Arnaldus de Villanova recommends the use of vaginal suppositories to adjust the “balance of humours” in women with intractable disorder of various kinds. ( I think I liked the sounds of digital manipulation and rubbing better).


16th Century: The French physician Phare writes of a new cure hysteria: sending women to rise through the woods on horseback ( Gidy up!).


1653: The renowned Dutch Doctor Pieter Van Foreest writes about his treatment for Hysteria involving pelvic massage ” to paroxysm”. He especially arises it for “widows”, those who live chaste lives and female religious. ( How considerate of him).


17th Century: The pioneering English physician William Harvey, opines that the female sexual organs are the cause of “horrid extravagancies of mind…Phrensies, Melancholy, Distempers and Outrageousness”. ( I do agree with one thing, my female sexual organs are outrageous – outrageously fun that is).


18th Century: At European health spa ” hydrotherapy devises” were used often involving well aimed nozzles for female disorders. ( Or what we would call these days, rubbing up against the jets in the spa).


1850s: Leading French physician Pierre Briquet announces the results of his study of female hysteria: it is caused by sexual frustration and the cure lies in the perfectly medical treatment he names as “la titillation du clitoris” ( They call it a medial treatment, I call it a necessity. I love that in the 1850s, stimulating the clitoris was a treatment but yet years later, so many men are still yet to understand it’s importance).


1859: A study among British physicians finds that up to 40% of the female populace has now been diagnosed with hysteria. ( These days we would just say, many women are not sexually satisfied – but the same cure would work , stimulating the clitoris).


1866: English doctor Isaac Baker Brown offers an alternative to massage treatment for female hysterics – clitoridectomy. ( That makes sense, if you don’t know what to do with it or how to solve the problem, just cut off the clitoris?)


1869: The American inventor George Taylor comes up with a steam-powered massage machine known as the “The Manipulator.” Physicians treating hysteria quickly adopt it, but Taylor urges caution when using it on female patients in order to prevent overindulgence. ( That’s just a tease, here is something that gets you off but you are not allowed to use it too much! Orgasms are not bad thing you know).


1883: The first electric vibrator is patented by Joseph Mortimer Granville and, despite his desire that it be used for muscular relief, it soon offered as a treatment for hysteria. ( Well it is a muscle too).


1895: Signund Freud and his associate Joseph Breuer write their landmark book on hysteria. ( I bet you anything it was no where near as interesting at 50 Shades of Grey).
1899: Advertised in McClure’s Magazine, a popular 19th century monthly,was a simple $5 vibrator made out of wire that promised to cure neuralgia, headaches and wrinkles. ( Al alternative to botox? And possibly a cheaper one too).



Early 1900s: Dozens of portable relaxation devices are  being advertised in a  variety of ladies magazines. ( So maybe if I don’t refer to them as “vibrators” I can get away with talking about them more? Portable relaxation devices anyone?).


1918: Vibrating massagers are offered in the Sears Roebuck Catalog, advertised as “very useful and satisfactory for home services”  ( Someone should tell Myer and David Jones that they are a bit behind in the game).


1952: The American Psychiatric Institute finally determines that hysteria is not a disease. ( Mazletov! So they finally realised that women were not crazy just horny. The scary thing about this one, it  was not that long ago in the scheme of things. Think how lucky we are today and really how new the concept of female sexual pleasure is).


1970: The vibrator comes out of the closet, celebrated by feminists as a tool for sexual liberation. ( I tend to keep mine in the closet – I actually need a closet for all of mine).


2007: The Supreme Court refuses to hear a case questioning the constitutionality of state laws that prohibit the sexual use of vibrators in several sates, making them still illegal for sexual purposes in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia.


So next time you grab for your vibrating friend, think how lucky you are that you have the right to own one, use one and that we are not all locked up and slapped with a diangosis of hysteria.


Happy Vibrating!


Dr Nikki




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