A Short History of Lesbian Sex Toys

A Short History of Lesbian Sex Toys

Developing Dildos

The first ancient relics of what were indisputably dildos were dug up in the excavation of Greek settlements. Olisbos were made of wood or leather, and given to women to prevent hysteria. Plato described a women’s uterus as a “wandering womb” which basically moved through the female body causing havoc and mayhem. The Greeks believed that women also produced semen, which was released during sex, and that it became toxic if it didn’t have the opportunity to escape. An Olisbos covered in olive oil would take care of the problem when the men were away at war.

The Arabian Nights mention various fruits and vegetables being used by women for sexual gratification over nine hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, a root called a “Cantonese Groin” was used, particularly in Asia, as a natural sex toy. In Europe, however, women had to be very circumspect about their use of dildos as early court records indicate that they were prosecuted for using “implements” for the purpose of “unnatural penetration”.

During the Renaissance in the 1400s, the use of dildos became common in both literature and art. They were known as “dilettos” in Italy, which meant “to delight”, and that’s where our modern dildos got their name. Most were made of leather or stone, but the ruling classes fed their fetishes with dildos made of gold, silver, and precious gems.

The use of dildos continued to be a criminal offense in most European countries, however, and by the 18th century the punishment for using one in an “unnatural act” was death. Marie Antoinette, much despised by the French anti-royalists, is depicted pleasuring another woman with a dildo on the cover of an activist pamphlet in the latter part of the 1700s.

The Rise of the Vibrator

The world’s first steam-powered vibrator, aptly called “The Manipulator”, was invented by an American in 1869. It was supposed to be used strictly for medical purposes, but since it included a warning that women shouldn’t “over-indulge”, he probably knew full well that we’d be using it to get off. Women were increasingly being labelled as “hysterics” during the Victorian era and some believe that the invention of the vibrator accompanied the medical treatment for female hysteria – basically masturbating the patient until she reached orgasm. In case you’re wondering, the polite term for this was “hysterical paroxysm”.

The widespread availability of electricity led to the development of home vibrators about a hundred years ago. They were marketed as beauty appliances which cured everything from headaches to wrinkles. Advertising stopped around the 1920s, however, because it became increasingly difficult to camouflage what women were really doing with their “invigorating and refreshing” little friends.

The rabbit vibrator, which made its first appearance in the 1990s, was a game-changer. It provided both clitoral and vaginal stimulation, vibrating and rotating its way into the beds of millions of happy women. In order to by-pass obscenity laws, rampant rabbits are sold in Japan with a bunny face painted on the front. So cute.

Loving Silicone

The invention of rubber in the 1950s led to the explosion of the lesbian sex toys we now enjoy. Silicone meant that dildos could be made in different colours, and were no longer confined to the traditional phallus shape. Double dildos, with or without bullet vibrators, were made possible by the development of this versatile material.

We’ve come a long way from the clunky “marital aids” of our grandmothers, and now have an endless variety of toys with which to pleasure our lovers and ourselves. Those that are made by lesbians, for lesbians, use these new materials and technical innovations to craft products specifically designed for woman-on-woman lovemaking.

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