The history of vibrators (2): 2500 years of medical orgasm therapy for hysteria

For over 2500 years, the medical profession helped the large percentage of (well off) women suffering from hysteria by regularly inducing "hysterical paroxysm”, aka orgasm.

A lone University Professor wrote the book about vibrators, manual massage by physicians and midwifes, and promptly lost her University job.

 

Batteries Not Included:  A social history of the vibrator. |NYTSears Vibrator Advertisement (1918)

The electric vibrator was invented right after the electric sewing machine, fan, teakettle and toaster, and before the electric vacuum cleaner, the electric iron and the electric fry pan. Who knew that everyone cared so deeply about women’s pleasure? […]

In 1918 Sears, Roebuck & Company offered a vibrator attachment for a home motor that would also drive a churn, a mixer and a sewing machine. Two models of portable vibrators were described as ”Such Delightful Companions” in 1922. Still another advertisement promised, ”All the pleasures of youth . . . will throb within you.”

Alas, the invention of the vibrator had nothing to do with love in the afternoon or sexual liberation. It was originally a labor-saving device to help doctors give their female patients a ”hysterical paroxysm” — that is, an orgasm.

What in the world were doctors doing vibrating their female patients to orgasm? The simple answer is that their fingers got tired. The complicated answer is delivered in Maines’s short, stimulating, repetitive and occasionally frustrating book, ”The Technology of Orgasm: ‘Hysteria,’ the Vibrator, and Women’ s Sexual Satisfaction.”

The vibrator, Maines argues, is the last in a long line of devices and techniques that were used to combat hysteria. Beginning with Hippocrates and running through Galen, Avicenna, Paracelsus, Pare, Burton and Harvey, all the way up to the mid-20th century, doctors fought valiantly against this terrible disease. The trouble was that the disease they were fighting, Maines explains, was ordinary female sexual desire. The classic symptoms of hysteria — ”anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, erotic fantasy, sensations of heaviness in the abdomen, lower pelvic edema and vaginal lubrication” — are the symptoms of chronic arousal.  NYT

2500 years of medical orgasm induction

As Forestus suggests here, in the Western medical tradition genital  massage to orgasm by a physician or midwife was a standard treatment  for hysteria, an ailment considered common and chronic in women. Descriptions   of this treatment appear in the Hippocratic corpus, the works  of Celsus in the first century A.D., those of Aretaeus, Soranus, and Galen  in the second century, that of Aetius and Moschion in the sixth century,the anonymous eighth- or ninth-century work Liber de Muliebria, the  writings of Rhazes and Avicenna in the following century, of Ferrari da  Gradi in the fifteenth century, of Paracelsus and Pare in the sixteenth, of  Burton, Claudini, Harvey, Highmore, Rodrigues de Castro, Zacuto, and  Horst in the seventeenth, of Mandeville, Boerhaave, and Cullen in the  eighteenth, and in the works of numerous nineteenth-century authors  including Pinel, Gall, Tripier, and Briquet.2 Given the ubiquity of these  descriptions in the medical literature, it is surprising that the character  and purpose of these massage treatments for hysteria and related disorders   have received little attention from historians.

Pelvicdouche_thumb1Millennia of medical orgasm induction, and it all stayed below the radar and remained quite unknown.

The authors listed above, and others in the history of Western medicine,   describe a medical treatment for a complaint that is no longer defined   as a disease but that from at the least the fourth century B.C. until  the American Psychiatric Association dropped the term in 1952, was  known mainly as hysteria.3

 

Before vibrators, women got hydrotherapy with water pressured by a few meters of gravity.

The famous Father Sebastien Kneipp, another European hydropath, set  great store by the use of pumped water aimed at the pelvis as a treatment  for female complaints.25

 

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"Reclaim the night" money-slut walk in gang area @2am. We don’t deserve to be told to leave our cash and Rolex at home to avoid being victimized.

We will get drunk first and then walk with cash, Rolexes, gold jewelry in the inner city gang area.

This money-slut walk is in response to a police recommendation, not to carry large amounts of cash. We object to such victim blaming. The money is ours. We can carry it wherever we want. No matter if we are drunk or not.

These money-slut walkers are simple fighting for their right show off their money

These ‘slut walk’ women are simply fighting for their right to be dirty

Its my hot money, I do what I want

moneyMen and women march through East Los Angeles high crime neighborhood during the money-slut walk, which organizers described as a demonstration against those who blame the victims of robberies.woman-moneybagMexican Street Gang

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Women march through downtown Boston during the ‘SlutWalk’ in Boston, which organizers described as a demonstration against those who blame the victims of sex crimes
True liberation is men or women carrying the cash they want and abandon credit cards and modesty

True liberation is women wearing what they like and abandoning the Hoover.

For the right to carry money bags anywhere, anytime, any alcohol level

street_gangs_la 220107mexicans4gangs2-744750

 

The Toronto policeman who in January told a "personal security class" at York University that "people should avoid showing off their money and carrying large amounts of cash in order not to be victimized" said nothing unusual. What made news was what happened 10 weeks later, when a thousand people hit the streets of East Los Angeles in a "money slut walk".

The Toronto policeman who in January told a "personal security class" at York University that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized" said nothing unusual. What made news was what happened 10 weeks later, when a thousand people hit the streets of downtown Toronto in a "slut walk".   Telegraph.uk

Nor do I deserve to be told to leave my Rolex and my money at home to avoid being victimized! (Nobody tells me what do do!) Nor do I deserve to be told that I should cover up to avoid being victimized Nobody tells me what to do

Judgybitch has some good avice: Don’t want to get robbed on holidays? Don’t dress as a tourist and some other advice (if you don’t want to get raped.)

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Sexual Desire for Pre-Pubescent Children. The worst of all crimes?

As child abuse experts point out, about 50 children are reported kidnapped and raped or murdered by strangers annually, compared to more than 3,000 children murdered by parents and other family members in non-sexual cases.

Most sex offenders, says one therapist who works with sex offenders in a state prison system, are “Gentle grandfathers who made one mistake in judgment years ago and fondled their grandchild.

At issue her is:

  • Legal punishment for sexual “crimes” against minors is a modern witch hunt.
  • Totally out of proportion to damage caused by it.
  • Hysteria
  • Purposeful confounding of criminal violent sexual crime against minors nearly or totally harmless fondling or consensual sexual acts
  • any reasonable open-minded unbiased discussion or scientific analysis of the issue regarding underage sexuality  is totally shunned, repressed, ignored, prohibited.
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Sexual Desire for Pre-Pubescent Children. The worst of all crimes? » continues here »

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