Here are the 9 ways to fulfill orgasm since 1859, the history changed orgasms as it evolves
By 1859, medical doctors frequently diagnosed women with what they called hysteria, a mental illness that exhibited a variety symptoms, including shortness of breath, faintness, irritability, loss of libido and lack of appetite. Treatment included a special “pelvic massage” technique, which ultimately brought patients to orgasm.
This physical “release” was believed to be the ultimate cure after female patients left feeling calm, relaxed and back to “normal” – so it was only logical to assume that an orgasmic response was the ideal treatment. And this ensued for decades. Best. Prescription. Ever.
2. The Manipulator
With cases of hysteria – and resulting orgasmic treatments – on the rise, doctors needed a device that would handle symptom-alleviating stimulation while giving their tired hands and wrists a rest. In 1869, Dr. George Taylor set to work to create a mechanical vibrator to do the job – and the result was the Manipulator, a massive steam-powered engine with a dildo-like extension that diddled and tickled with the flip of a switch. Doctors’ – and their female patients’ – lives were changed forever. (Or at least until the early 20th century, when diagnoses of hysteria dwindled.)
3. K-Y Jelly
K-Y Jelly was introduced to the market in 1904 for use as a surgical lubricant, but ended up providing men and women with an incredibly effective solution to chafing, discomfort and displeasure during intercourse. It remains today one of the No. 1 water-based lubricants recommended by gynecologists and other health professionals for better, more pleasurable sex.
4. The Top-loading Washing Machine
After World War II, the top-loading automatic washing machine became a common part of every household and made the lives of housewives and moms just a tad more manageable. And it was no secret that these massive cube-like vibrating contraptions were capable of providing much more than a clean load. Ladies simply leaned against the edge or were so bold as to take a seat on top and patiently (and pleasurably) waited for the spin cycle to start.
5. Hitachi Magic Wand
The now famous rumbling massager made its industry debut in 1968, hitting the market with promise of relief from aches, soreness, tension and knots. And while it certainly provided such effects when used according to instructions, women across the country quickly learned to rely on it to soothe and release much more than tight muscles.
Now marketed as simply the Magic Wand, this hand-held earthquake machine remains one of women’s top sex toy choices for guaranteed orgasms.
6. Deenie by Judy Blume
This famed novel from 1973 was one of the first to feature a main character exploring and discussing masturbation and include it as a regular (and innocent) part of the plotline.
Passages include: “[That week] I touched my special place practically every night. It was the only way I could fall asleep and besides, it felt good;” and “Usually I take showers and get in and out as fast as possible. But the hot water [in the bathtub] was very relaxing and soon I began to enjoy it. I reached down and touched my special place with the washcloth. I rubbed and rubbed until I got that good feeling.”
Reading Deenie exposed millions to the idea of female masturbation as a common and healthy part of their lives – opening the minds of young readers across the nation.
7. When Harry Met Sally
This fan-favorite romantic comedy was released in theaters in 1989 and blew everyone’s minds with the first full-blown fake orgasm to be portrayed on film. For those of you (aliens, probably) who are unfamiliar with the famous scene: actress Meg Ryan sits across actor Tom Hanks in a crowded restaurant as the two characters argue about men’s ability to ID a fake orgasm. She proceeds to break into a loud, expressive and convincing orgasmic explosion and alarm (and excite) their hungry neighbors, leaving a nearby patron to flag down the waitress and say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
This iconic scene set a precedence for orgasmic potential on screen.
8. Joycelyn Elders
The former U.S. Secretary of State made controversial waves – which ultimately led to her resignation – in 1994 when she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS and publicly commended masturbation as a healthy part of human sexuality. “And perhaps it should be taught,” she said. This shocked the nation – especially the White House – and led to her being fired by President Bill Clinton later that year.
Despite public outcry and support, Elders moved on in the public eye and maintains her unabashed opinions regarding abstinence-only sex education, masturbation and contraceptives.
9. The Screaming O Vibrating Ring
2005 brought the birth of the original Screaming O Vibrating Ring sex toy, a stretchy ring with a tiny vibrator on top designed to make it easier for women to reach orgasm each time they have sex. This little ring essentially attached a mini vibrator to the base of the penis – perfectly positioned to stimulate her clitoris with every thrust – and continues to help women across the country get closer to orgasm with their partners. Sometimes for the very first time!