Women in the 17th century put up with wearing corsets, not voting and not having any property rights, but what was ludicrous was having to live with an unrecognized libido. 

A 17th century woman was believed to be just an object of desire and nothing else. Their sexual fulfillment was inconsequential. No one gave a flying fuck, thanks to the popular belief that made men staunchly believe that women were instantly gratified when they ejaculated. Whoever taught them that!?


In fact, dissatisfied women were believed to be suffering from a disorder called ‘Hysteria’. Of course, unmarried women and widows constituted a major part of this affected population. Because how can you satiate your lustful, sexual hunger without a man around? 

Women who were ‘hysterical’ complained of anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervous breakdowns, erotic fantasies, feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen, and wetness between the legs. 

Basically all the extreme symptoms of a very long dry spell.


The cure to this malady was ‘hysterical paroxysm.’ Basically, an orgasm. After many trial and error tactics, doctors were now sure that a paroxysm could restore a woman’s health. And it did. 

But the downside of this cure was that it took women close to an hour to achieve an orgasm through manual pelvic massage. And there were a lot of women who were suffering from ‘hysteria’. A lot! 


Call it a coincidence or perfect timing, in the 1880s, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville invented an electro-mechanical vibrator to relieve patients of muscle spasms. But other physicians felt it could be put to a much better use. So they used it to give women perfect orgasms, forcing Dr. Mortimer to wash his hands off of the unintended, deviant use of his invention. 


Before Mortimer’s godly device entered the market, the ways to make a woman cum were varied. From manual massages to douche hoses and the manipulator, physicians turned women’s orgasms into a very lucrative business. But the electro-magnetic vibrator was definitely one up from all the earlier methods. 


By the late 1900s, there was a need for quicker, cheaper orgasms, and a demand for vibrators was created. Everyone wanted to cash in on this trend, and so the first print ad for a vibrator was released. It was called Vibratile. If you ever laid your eyes on it, pleasuring yourself with it would have been the last thing on your mind. It was quite a torturous device to look at. 


Soon, vibrators were being highly advertised and prescribed. But all in the garb of a massaging device that was not meant for below the belt use. At least, that’s what they were advertised as. 



But thank heavens, by 1920s, physicians quickly wrapped their heads around what ‘hysteria’ truly was. So the vibrators got better, became more equipped, portable and less torturous looking. Still not for under the sheets use, though. 


However, by the 1920s, movies became famous and porn films started to roll out. Fortunately or unfortunately, porn started to display the actual use of these machines. And this meant the sad demise of orgasms for women. Because once the real purpose of the vibrator was known, it became socially unacceptable and was banned. 


Advertisements for vibrators ceased and by the early 1970s, it became extremely hard to find one. With this, women were back to square one. With no vibrators, no pleasure and zero orgasms. 

However, with the emergence of feminism, the vibrators came back with a loud bang in the later part of the 1970s. And this time there was no disguise, nor any false advertisements. The Magic Wand by Hitachi became the first official and most popular vibrator to be sold for what it was – a device for women to pleasure themselves with.


Who knew we had to fight for our orgasms too, right? 

While vibrators still remain a taboo and are looked down upon in many countries, they’re widely available. Even though they’re found in shady lanes and are sold behind closed doors, at least they don’t look like torture devices anymore. And that’s a pleasant relief.  

So the next time you pick up that vibrator, you have two things to thank – the physicians who spent hours doling out personal pelvic massages and the feminist movement that brought them back!