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The History of the Dildo

"Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love!"  -  Woody Allen

The word dildo is described in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as "an object serving as a penis substitute for vaginal insertion". Its etymology is unknown but it has been dated to the 1500ís. Some believe it comes from the Italian word "diletto" or to delight. Sounds reasonable, but chances are good that its roots are Latin.

The dildo has had a very sordid history. It has been used for the same basic function for humankind's existence. Yet its evolution stretches from "I can't believe I'm using camel dung" to "I'm out of batteries but I don't care".

Records of the dildo's history are scant. Its image is often depicted as a decoration or statuary for celebrations of fertility and crop success. The vaginal images and phalluses have been obvious choices for humankind when referring to fertility rituals. The earlier humans had no idea that the egg and sperm were in fact the crux of fertility. However, the egg has always been looked upon as another symbol of fertility, without humans knowing of the microscopic eggs females carry. The fact that an egg, once laid by a bird, became a chick was enough to convince our earliest ancestors of their potency.

Back to the misunderstood dildo. Early toys, in many parts of the Mid-eastern world consisted of dried camel dung coated with a hard resin, served their purpose. It would seem that this early dildo might have had a few definite drawbacks though. The smell for one. Can you imagine? The resin may have served to block the odor, but it certainly could not have eliminated it. Unless of course camel dung when dried did not retain its aroma. I suppose it is entirely possible that the hot dry desert climes may have dried it to potential marble-like hardness.

Women's personal toys have often been disguised as items of health. Not an unreasonable image. Satisfied women are generally happier women. Completely logical. However, a great deal of our history as humans has been rooted in shame concerning our bodies and sexuality. Therefore, the inanimate objects of womenís' affection became something to be hidden.

During the mid 1800's women were treated for what physicians called "hysteria". The symptoms? Irritability, excessive vaginal fluids, heavy uterus and fantasies. Women frustrated in their sexual release. But this in an era when women were not seen as being sexual in any way. The treatment? You may not believe this. The physician would massage his patient's clitoris until "paroxysm" was achieved. Or as is commonly referred to today....orgasm. He would often dispense an apparatus that, although phallus shaped, was referred to as a therapeutic device. Perhaps the world would be a better place if dildos were dispensed instead of medications for anxiety. It's rather improbable that Medicare would cover it however. Although imagine the money they would save. Boggles the mind.

In the earlier part of the 20th century, dildos and vibrators began to make their appearance in women's magazines and catalogues. "A device for anxiety and female tension". Sold through Sears Roebuck, these toys were described as aids that every woman would love. Their uses were encouraged as a way to keep women relaxed and content.

As the toys became more prevalent in society, they were eventually seen for the sexual devices they are and began their decent to the underground world of unspoken delight. No longer the public cure for the ills of women, they did not reemerge into the light of human sexuality until mid century again.

Today the varieties are countless and the camel dung dildo has gone the way of the physician's massage. Extinction. And I think I speak for all women when I say that this can certainly not be considered a bad thing. Imagine the insurance claim for "massage of the clitoris due to anxiety"?


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Copyright - 2001

 


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