Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations

Today, we are going to talk about sex. And, no, you have not been magically transported over to T.Wanker's Mormon Erotica blog, though he probably knows more about this stuff than my professor does. :)

Last Tuesday's topic in my women history class was Victorian Sexuality: Hysteria, Surgery, and the Vibrator. I felt this information was important for the eternities, so I must be a member missionary and teach those who may not know.

Female hysteria was the diagnosis for 25% of women during the 1800s when they had an ailment with no explainable cause. It had 75 possible symptoms and was found mostly in middle class white women (lower class women suffering the same symptoms were told it was caused by fatigue or sensuality). Some of the early treatments for hysteria were: injections of chemicals, milk, water or tea into the uterus; cauterizing the uterine cavity; leeching (one had to be very careful to ensure none of the leeches made their way too far north); and, eventually surgery, such as clitoridectomy (removal of the skin hood above the clitoris) and ovaritomy (removal of ovaries).

I was angry at the doctors at first, and am still upset at the cultural norms which created this sort of thinking. But, my professor pointed out that many of these doctors were trying new desperate measures to help desperate women, so I can't hate them completely.

Ok, let's move on to more pleasurable treatments for hysteria, the "hysterical paroxysm." It was found that if women had a paroxysm (clinical word for orgasm), that they felt better, so doctors would manually massage the vulvar area of their hysteria patients. Doctors found it often took awhile to, um, complete treatment and that they had a lot of patients to help. They were relieved when the vibrator was created by a British doctor in the 1880s in response to the overwhelming number of women receiving "manual hysterical paroxysms."

Soon, these large machines were downsized and sold in reputable women's magazines, like Sears and Roebuck. One of the ads my professor read in class goes something like this: "Aids that every women appreciates. It will make youth throb within you."

They continued to be advertised in such magazines until they started being used in erotic films in the 1920s, and then they were seen as dirty, sensual, and bad. They have been playing peek-a-boo in our culture ever since. They are actually illegal in some states, such as Alabama. Men can use viagra, but women can't buy a vibrator? Sure, that makes perfect sense.

JOOM, do I get Brimstone points for teaching others about sinful devices?

11 comments:

Bishop Rick said...

Now that's news you can use.
Worth at least a couple Brimstone points for sure.

Freckle Face Girl said...

They actually have a documentary on the History channel about this. **I'm a sucker for all documentaries.** It is quite fascinating.

Lemon Blossom said...

BR - I am always glad to share anything that may help another!

Hm, now what to do with my Brimstone points...

FFG - SML was telling me about that documentary. I love them as well, so I am surprised I haven't seen it yet. I'll have to see if I can find it.

Sumwun said...

On my honor I will do all I can to prevent female hysteria.

T. Wanker said...

Wow, thanks for the plug -- plug in is superior to battery power in my experience.

As for vibrators, I posted on the divine humming dildo, but this site has a great video on the banning of dildo/vibrators in Texas.

Three Cheers for the Hitachi Magic Wand!!! Oh yeah, they work for male hysteria, too.

Sideon said...

IIIII'mmmm ssoooorrrryyy IIII dddiiidddnnn'tt reeeepllllly eaaaarllllier, III coooouuulllddnn'tt fiiiiinnndd thheeee turrrrn offff switttch....

Sister Mary Lisa said...

ROFLMAOH (the H is for hysterically) to Sideon's comment here. Damn, you're funny!!!

Lemon Blossom said...

TW - I didn't realize there was much of a difference between battery and plug in power, but I'm glad I know now!

Sideon - I'm so glad I read this when I was basically alone (two other people in the classroom with me) because I laughed out load with this one. I hope I don't break out in giggles during class.

SML - Oh yah, no doubt about that at all!

emerging from the ashes said...

I saw something about those machines once--like big massage tables with rollers at the right spot. (Women face down.) Wahoo!

Oh, all those poor doctors having to administer manual hysterical paroxysm.

Now, where's my...

Doug said...

Great post! Sounds like it'd be perfect to teach at home-aching night. Or whatever they're calling it nowadays.

Lemon Blossom said...

Sumwun - I am soo sorry! I must have had a harder week than I thought to have completely skipped over your comment. I apologize!

I am glad to hear, however, that someone else has committed themselves to ridding the world of hysteria!

FTA - You are correct, though I can tell you that non of it really looked very comfortable from the photos I saw. It must have done its job, though!

Doug - That's a great idea! I have written it down as the next lesson on our list.