It is the story of one simple invention, the vibrator, and its relationship to one complex human behavior, the female orgasm.
The history of the vibrator and its medical use had virtually vanished until historian Rachel Maines, researching needlework patterns in early 20th century women’s magazines, ran across ads for electric vibrators. Her curiosity aroused, she traced the origins of this early electric appliance and made an astonishing discovery. Under the guise of a medical treatment, Victorian doctors had used vibrators to relieve women of the symptoms of “hysteria” by masturbating them to orgasm
In the early 20th century the dissatisfaction of women was labeled “hysteria.” Symptoms of hysteria were vague: being cranky, reading French novels while wearing tight corsets, etc. In short, it was an uncomfortable mix of horniness and the female equivalent of blue balls, that, combined with the social mores of the time undoubtedly make women difficult to live with.
Victorian doctors believed that women “needed” this “treatment”. Hell, I’m sure they wanted it, craved it, and were lining up for it. Matter of fact, I’m sure that’s one medical appointment no woman ever missed.
(In the 1920s, vibrators began appearing in “blue” films and the cover for these treatments was blown. Vibrators became an underground item relegated to sex shops.)
Female sexual satisfaction was, and continues to be, misunderstood. Almost 70 percent of women do not reach orgasm by penetration alone. (Yet, the social, legal and religious definition of “real” sex is just that: penetration of the vagina leading to male orgasm.)
Yikes! I think the biggest contribution lesbians can make to society is the continued education of the heterosexual public about female satisfaction. I’m not talking conversion here, just the offering of helpful hints.
Maybe this explains the straight guy’s fascination with girl-on-girl porn… they’re really just trying to learn how to get a girl off. After all, who knows better than another girl?
Check out Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm, being released on DVD by First Run Features December 9, 2008. You can email the producers (email@example.com) for price information. They’re offering an early order discount.
Order a copy and organize a holiday movie night… sounds like a reason to have the girls over!