Vibrators: Women’s History at its Finest

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Women sometimes ask me what I think of vibrators. I must admit that I don’t think about them very much, although I’m amazed by the number of these little devices that are available today. I once went into a store in Provincetown, Massachusetts called Toys of Eros (or something like that), and had a good time asking the salesman, aptly named Rod, to show me the goods. (The rubber suits and corsets were intriguing, too.) I felt like a medical researcher, not a voyeur. And as a researcher, I was surprised to learn the history of the vibrator a few years later.

In her book The Technology of Orgasm, historian Rachel Maines documents the amazing fact that the first vibrators, powered by steam, were used in the 1860’s by doctors to bring women to orgasm in their offices. Why? Orgasm was used as a treatment for all kinds of so-called female problems, including hysteria, depression, and listlessness! Using a vibrator was faster and required less skill than the manual method that doctors had employed before that.

When electric vibrators showed up in blue movies in the early 1900’s, the respectability of this treatment fell from grace. Maines and her colleagues also made a very entertaining and eye-opening movie about this called Passion and Power which is women’s history at its finest.

Nowadays, vibrators are available everywhere. And many women enjoy using them. Dr. Ruth has endorsed a particularly interesting device known as an eroscillator with all kind of different attachments.

That said, enjoy your vibrator. But also experiment with other ways of feeling more with less! This will allow nitric oxide to easily flood the body, providing many health benefits. Perhaps those doctors in the 1860’s were on to something after all.

Last Updated: November 4, 2009

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *