Sex toys date back 30,000 years, before the invention of the wheel. They have evolved not only in style and material, but also in the demographic of who uses them and their ease of accessibility. Throughout the ages different types of sex toys became popular and then were updated as technology advanced.
The first sex toys, dildos, were discovered in Upper Paleolithic art, and leave no question as to what the intentions were. The Greeks also showcased dildos in paintings, but they did not classify people into sexual categories, such as homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered, or straight, and many of these people used dildos.
There are several art museums, the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Sex Museum in Amsterdam, with displays of sexual toys that are just as important as art. Sexual stone carvings of nude women portray them with enhanced breasts, hips, and buttocks. They may have been fertility goddesses or porn.
Between the 4th and 6th centuries, penis extenders, Kama Sutra, and Ben Wa balls were introduced. The Chinese used mirrors as a type of sex toy. They liked to watch.
During the Middle Ages, sex was referred to as “The Devil’s Work,” and whispers of sexual deeds or toys could be punishable by death. During this era, men and women dressed in clothing that covered them from the neck to the feet. Women caught wearing sexy lingerie could be severely punished. The Roman Catholic Church persecuted those who were openly sexual by placing them in shackles or burning them at the stake.
In Italy, from the 14th century to the 16th century, dildos were called diletto, meaning delight. When these dildos, made of wood, ivory, leather, or stone were used, olive oil was the preferred lubricant.
In the 1600s, the Chinese invented the cock ring and clitoral stimulator, made of ivory. These rings were made to look like dragons. In 1791, Justine, published by the Marquis de Sade, wrote of sex toys being used in “sexual power plays” with whips, nipple clips, and devices for restraint.
In 1869, Dr. George Taylor invented the first vibrator, which was a steam-powered apparatus. This apparatus was a large piece of equipment used to treat the illness called “female hysteria.” Women during this time were not considered sexual, so this was a disease. In 1882, the first electromagnetic vibrator was created. This was smaller than the steam-powered device and was a battery-powered massager. The physician using this could change the vibratory sensations.
Motion pictures were invented in the 1890s. Soon afterward, filmmakers began making movies about women using vibrators and dildos, or the creation of pornography.
In Victorian England, sex toys as well as books that discussed human sexuality were taboo, but people were still sexually active and looking for unconventional ways to release their sexual tensions. During this time period, mid-19th century, rubber dildos, butt plugs, and vibrators were created.
Vibrators were sold as massagers. Day spas offered classy variations for an orgasm by way of steam-powered vibrating devices and water jet massages. Needless to say, these spas were very popular. Butt plugs were to help prevent losing sperm through ejaculation, while vibrators were to calm “hysterical” women, meaning an orgasm would mend the imbalances of sexual fantasies and anxiety.
In 1907, the Penis Stiffener was patented to aid in erection for those with dysfunctions. This was the first time a toy was created to help a male with an erection problem. Women were obtaining sexual help at spas, and now men were getting some help of their own. The mid 1920s brought KY jelly and the strip tease. Strip-tease clothing became popular and caused fans, furs, capes, and feather boas to become sexual accessories. By 1930, vibrators were advertised and sold to everyone.
In 1948, a sex survey, “The Kinsey Report,” showed that 94 percent of men and 40 percent of women sexually pleasured themselves to orgasm. The most shocking information from this book was that sex occurred more often when people were alone. Today, the same survey shows that men and women of all ages — single, married, divorced or widowed — sexually pleasure themselves, often with the aid of a sex toy.
1953 was a proud year for Hugh Hefner and the premiere of Playboy magazine, which is still very popular today, thanks to the E! show, Girls Next Door. Although some claimed Playboy was pornography, others said they read it for the articles. Playboy brought sex back into the open and into homes. Because of Playboy, other publications were made. Playboy helped pave the way for the sex toys of today.
Sex toys in all sizes, colors, types, and brands are now easily obtained through the Internet and specialty stores like Fascinations, Christie’s Toy Box, and Castle Boutique. Sex toys enhance sexual arousal, and sex toy parties are the new Tupperware parties. Passionparties.com products are designed to promote intimacy and communication between couples.
Sex toys have changed throughout the years, but they still serve the same purpose of enhancing the sexual experience. While sex toys have evolved over the last 30,000 years, popularity has remained high, and sex toys are easily accessible.