Did You Know?

Vibrators Were Actually Invented By Doctors So They Could Heal Female Hysteria

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Bonus facts

Vibrators were actually invented by doctors so they could heal female hysteria.

Joseph Mortimer Granville invented the electric vibrator, not as a sexual device but to relieve more mundane muscle aches. Originally called a percusser or more colloquially “Granville’s hammer”, the machine was manufactured and sold to physicians, but as it became increasingly popular its inventor tried to disassociate himself from the device’s “mis-use”. In his 1883 book on the subject, Nerve-Vibration and Excitation as Agents in the Treatment of Functional Disorder and Organic Disease, he wrote, “I have never yet percussed a female patient … I have avoided, and shall continue to avoid the treatment of women by percussion, simply because I do not wish to be hoodwinked, and help to mislead others, by the vagaries of the hysterical state …”

In the 19th century, masturbation was seen as deviant behavior, and as even more inappropriate for women than for men, since women were believed (and taught) to be free from any form of sexual desire.

Advertisement for the Barker Vibrator by James Barker in Philadelphia, 1906.

Advertisement for the Barker Vibrator by James Barker in Philadelphia, 1906.

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