Weird History

Strange Sex Toys from the Victorian Era  

Aaron Edwards
389.6k views 9 items

It's a matter of human nature that people will find ways to have sex. And if they can't have sex with someone else, they'll have it with themselves. Even in a massively repressed culture such as Victorian England, people invented or discovered ways to have orgasms. In fact, women were so repressed an entire mental illness was created to explain why they were so irritated (hint, it was because of a lack of sex). Hence, an entire industry of Victorian sex toys was created to cure "female hysteria," and boy, did it yield some interesting inventions.

Some of those inventions are devices we still use today. Vibrators (and just about every variation they come in) found their genesis in the late 1800s and women everywhere were happier for it. But even during their rise to prominence, several other devices were created involving water, steam, and just about anything that could power a good orgasm.  See how far you can get without instinctively squeezing your legs together at the thought of using some of these devices.

The First Mobile Vibrator
The First Mobile Vibrator is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Strange Sex Toys from the Victorian Era
Photo: Joseph Mortimer Granville/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Some women wanted a nice orgasm, but not everyone had the time to go to the doctor. So, the brave entrepreneur Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville decided to make something a little bit more portable in the early 1880s. There's an emphasis on the "little bit" part, because this vibrator ran on a 40-pound battery. Of course, Granville's intentions weren't for the device to be used for the pleasure of women everywhere - he only wanted it to be used as a male muscle massager - but doctors used it on women anyway.  

The Manipulator
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Video: YouTube

This baby was the first steam-powered vibrator. Patented by Dr. George Taylor in 1869, it was one of the first big steps in taking us from the common dildo to the more elaborate sex toys we have today. It consisted of a large table with an opening that allowed for a vibrating sphere. Originally, this thing was used to treat pelvic disorders. However, its other use for women became apparent very quickly. Taylor later advised that women should be supervised while using it so they wouldn't overindulge themselves

Riding at Home

It was thought that a spirited ride on a horse was good for a person's health. So, since everything was being industrialized in Victorian England,  in the late 1890s they decided to try for a horse ride too. The way it worked was the more you rocked back and forth, the more the seat vibrated. So, you better believe tons of women were riding this thing like they were in a high-speed chase. It was said to be good for curing hysteria, obesity, and gout. 

The Chattanooga

Just after 1900, a ton of new vibrating machines starting popping up. One of them was the Chattanooga, a steam-powered vertical monstrosity. Made in 1904, this thing stood five feet tall. It also required two men to shovel coal into a furnace just to keep the thing on. A doctor would them used it to "manipulate" a patient's genitals. Luckily, vibrators got a whole lot less elaborate as time went on.