Oh, got your attention did I? Things are getting steamy over at the Happiness Project! And why not? Nothing says guilty pleasure like a little self indulgence!
You all know I’ve been a movie watching fiend lately reporting the raw truth on all things Oscars! To settle down from the award nominations, I caught up on a few fun films this weekend. My favorite pick?
Hysteria: n. The term hysteria was once used to describe a medical condition thought to affect only women. Symptoms of the illness included partial paralysis, hallucinations and nervousness. The term is thought to originate from ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who associated these symptoms with the movement of a woman’s uterus throughout different locations in the body. The term hysteria is from the Greek hysteria, which means uterus. http://psychology.about.com/od/hindex/f/hysteria.htm
The film Hysteria is a raucous retelling of history and how Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville invented the first vibrator. A medical aid turned sex toy that is the most popular novelty item sold now!
In the early 1900’s, hysteria was a common medical diagnosis for women.
Symptoms of hysteria:
- Sexual Desire
- Fluid Retention
- Muscle Spasms
- Shortness of Breath
- Loss of Appetite
Huh, I have a feeling 99% of women are suffering from sheer hysteria every day!
In 1952, female hysteria was removed from the medical list of diseases, and took various psychological routes which would become schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.
But before we knew very much about the female body, hysteria was a commonplace disorder that had a very distinct kind of treatment. It was believed that the symptoms of hysteria were caused by the retention of fluids in the vagina, and therefore treatment was a [“pelvic massage” – manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasm).] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria
No joke! Women all over the country were going to their doctors for hand jobs!
Don’t you just love history?!
Ok, so Dr. Granville is a young, up and coming (he he he) doctor that can’t withstand the treatment demands from the growing number of patients. Trying to create a mechanical tool that would offer the same results with less demanding skill from the doctor, he created the first electromechanical vibrator.
What this accomplishes is a decrease in skillset required by the doctor, and faster treatment time. Instead of an hour long treatment, some women were released as early as 10 minutes. More patients could be seen, and with more visits came more money!
Behold: The Birth of the Vibrator
Advertisements for vibrators showed up all over and more and more models were made. There was roughly a 40 year period where we didn’t hear much about them and conservative beliefs took over mass media. But with the rise of the 60’s, they were back. The second wave of Feminism also helped the vibrator become buzzworthy again! Female sexuality was being studied. Workshops about orgasms were held! And as history unfolds, we begin to learn more and more about women’s health – sexual and otherwise.
As a girl who performed in The Vagina Monologues four years running, climaxing to the role of “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this film and history lesson. And as a side note, if you’ve never seem TVM, you should really go see that play too!
If possible, I highly recommend you rent the actual DVD for this film because the special features have a fantastic short documentary about the history of female orgasm and early vibrators. Did you know in some states the sale of vibrators is illegal??? And there are also laws out there that limit the number of sexual toys a person can own! Seriously, you have to watch the documentary because it also introduces us to a teacher who was trying to make some extra cash by becoming an in-home sex toy saleswoman. An obscenity charge was filed and a warrant for her arrest made! Even though she was never convicted, she lives the rest of her life with this stigma of being a bad person – all for selling a few dildos to women who welcomed her into their homes!
Who knew the vibrator had such a long and scandalous history? Learn more yourself by viewing this positively electric film!
On behalf of all women, may I say “Thank you, Dr. Granville!”
What are your thoughts? Had you any idea the vibrator began as a medical aid? Tell me about the first time you learned what a vibrator was! When it’s Guilty Pleasures Fridays, it’s good to indulge!