sex toy history

Review: Vintage vibrators

Review: Vintage vibrators

Masturbating like it’s 1925 with the Polar Cub Electric Vibrator, Oster Massagett, and Vanguard Vibro-Massager [I published this on April Fool’s Day ’cause it’s fun, but everything here is real. I tell no lies.] The inventor of the first electrical vibrator, doctor Joseph Mortimer Granville, called his device “Granville’s Hammer” — and if that’s not obviously named by a man I don’t know what is. It was for male pain relief; he expressly didn’t want women to use it. “I have avoided, and shall continue to avoid the treatment of women by percussion,” he wrote in 1883, “simply because I do not wish to be hoodwinked, and help to mislead others, by the vagaries of the hysterical state.” Joke’s on . . . read more

Review: Vibrator Nation

Review: Vibrator Nation

I proudly identify as a “dildo slinger” — that’s a much way cooler way of saying “sex toy retail worker.” In addition to writing this blog, I have worked at a local sex toy boutique for nearly 8 years. It’s a unique, misunderstood job, one that often elicits perplexed looks and palpable silence. Rarely is this work given the credit it deserves, so when I picked up Lynn Comella’s Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure, I was relieved to sink into a world where my career was treated with respect and nuance. Comella has done the work. She’s been in the adult retail industry observing, documenting, and researching since 1998; she conducted over 80 interviews; . . . read more

Movie Night: Dildo Diaries

Movie Night: Dildo Diaries

Dildo Diaries (2002) and the Downunder Toys Hot Banana Rod. Buying a sex toy is a snap these days. Simply type “adult shop” into your Yelp app, or enter the product name into Google, and in mere seconds you can find a place to purchase the dildo or vibrator of your desires. We take this for granted. I take it for granted. But as recently as 9 years ago, it wasn’t that easy — especially in the South. Dildo Diaries (2002) is a documentary chronicling the absurdity of Texas’ anti-sex toy legislation. Directed by Laura Barton and Judy Wilder, it’s a joyous defense of our right to purchase and use sex toys. It’s also an invaluable historical artifact, a reminder that in . . . read more

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