From vaginal douches to early forms of spermicide and even condoms, the information in the pamphlet became so popular that its British circulation reached over , in the first few months alone. Thanks to the medieval church, masturbation was still considered a sin in the 19th century and one which would very likely send you blind, but if it was a bona fide medical procedure there was nothing wrong with it. Its diagnosis and treatment were routine for hundreds of years in Western Europe. According to Pierre Roussel and Jean-Jacques Rousseau , femininity is a natural and essential desire for women, 'Femininity is for both authors an essential nature, with defined functions, and the disease is explained by the non-fulfillment of natural desire. From the erotic life of courtesan Cora Pearl, to the romantic female relationships of Mary Benson, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Victorian female sexuality was just as expressive and expansive as it is today. It was probably the Egyptians who first believed it was a medical problem but we have to blame the Ancient Greeks for all of the nonsense which came later.
The vibrator: from medical tool to revolutionary sex toy
In a series of photographs, a serious-faced woman in a ruffled white dress holds this vibrator to her forehead, her jaw, her throat and her chest. Journal of Positive Sexuality. Samuel Howard Monell wrote that "pelvic massage in gynecology has its brilliant advocates and they report wonderful results. But domestic electrification soon brought smaller, more portable consumer versions resembling hairdryers, and by the turn of the century more than 50 varieties were on sale. Female hysteria was once a common medical diagnosis for women. Maines wrote that doctors had been using masturbation to treat hysteria in women even as far back as Roman times.
Her Private Pleasures: Female Hysteria, Victorian Era Doctors, and the Vibrator
In contrast, ancient medical texts that described doctors massaging the lower back, knees or head were misread by Maines as a rather different kind of massage, according to King. When female patients suffered "hysterical" or "neurasthenic" symptoms, doctors saw wonderful results from"pelvic massage," culminating in orgasm. Pamphlets proclaimed their effectiveness against insomnia, paralysis, neuralgia, epilepsy, consumption, sciatica, lumbago, gout, deafness, vomiting, constipation, haemorrhoids and sore throats. But maybe a lot of straight guys thought it was going to be pornier than it was; maybe there was a little bit of fear of looking sleazy. In ancient Greece , wandering womb was described in the gynecological treatise of the Hippocratic Corpus , "Diseases of Women".
Description: One manufacturer even offered a vibrator attachment for a home motor that could double up by driving a sewing machine. When doctors began to realise around the early 20th Century that vibrators were in fact not the cure-alls they were taken to be, the manufacturers of these devices were left with a problem. There was a whole industry devoted to making these devices: Sexual health Health Doctors Women features. Hysteria was often used as a political tool in the media to impede women's rights movements and invalidate their arguments and desire for equal rights and a larger role in society.