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In The Beginning

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In 19th century Britain, the role of the woman in the bedroom was solely to provide sexual gratification for the male, her own needs were not considered and indeed women were not considered to be capable of sexual feelings.

This inevitably left many women feeling frustrated, and as that condition was not recognised, they were diagnosed as having hysteria, with symptoms including irritability, anxiety and abdominal pain, leading doctors to diagnose problems with the uterus.

By the mid 19th century, according to some reports, up to three quarters of the female population were suffering from hysteria - or what we now know as sexual frustration! These poor ladies had no other recourse than to visit the doctor for treatment.

The doctors used a method that had served their profession well for many years to treat these poor unfortunate ladies, a pelvic massage, whereby the doctor manipulated the female patient’s genitalia until she reached a “hysterical paroxysm” and was almost immediately cured - at least in the short term.

According to medical journals from that period, doctors took no pleasure from achieving this cure, other than financial, as the patients were obliged to return time after time as their symptoms reappeared, but instead they complained the the cure was tedious, time consuming and tiring for them!

So how to overcome this problem and save the doctors from this hell? Easy, invent something to take the strain from the poor doctors fingers.

First up (ooh, bad choice of words) was a windup massager, sadly somewhat underpowered and prone to running out of windup before the patient had.…well I’m sure anyone whose batteries have failed at the crucial moment gets the idea.

Next came a French invention, the pelvic douche, which fired a high pressure jet of water at the clitoris and claimed to be able to induce the hysterical paroxysm within 4 minutes. Pretty sure this device has survived to this century in a more than few dungeons - not to mention showers.

In the mid 1870’s a steam powered manipulator was created. This was a table with a cutout that the patient’s pelvis fitted into and to which a vibrating sphere was pressed against - anyone else thinking of a Sybian here?

All this changed in the early 1880’s when Dr. J Mortimer Granville was granted a patent for the first ever electromechanical vibrator. It was powered by a generator the size of a cooker, was only installed in surgeries and operated by doctors. This was it however - The birth of the BUZZ.

Sources - Decca Aitkenhead/The Guardian

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