Blog - Essays, Articles, Videos, and Tips
Imagine it is 1880 and you are a London housewife. You are unsatisfied with your life, easily irritable, depressed and experiencing insomnia, so you seek a doctor for assistance. If you can afford Dr. Robert Dalrymple and his protégée Dr. Mortimer Granville, you would be diagnosed with “hysteria.” This was considered a plague of their time, a “disabling condition” for at least half the women of London. The cause of this plague? An “overactive uterus.” Here’s the best part: The treatment for hysteria was…(wait for it)…having your clitoris manually stimulated by your doctor until orgasm. I’m serious. This was a medical treatment to address the nervous system and help put a woman’s uterus back in order.
The movie Hysteria provides a glimpse into the lives of Dr. Dalrymple and Dr. Granville, and their exclusive and lucrative practice in treating housewives of London. But poor young Dr. Granville didn’t know what his new job would entail. The physical strain was too much, and persistent hand cramping (presumably the start of carpal tunnel syndrome) began to interfere with his ability to get women off.
Luckily for Dr. Granville, this eager doctor happened to have a friend and benefactor who was a Lord of London and eccentric inventor. His latest invention was a steam-powered generator attached to a feather duster to ease the strains of housework. However, they saw the potential to extend this technology to ease the strains of Granville’s handiwork. The result? Multiple “paroxysms” in a quarter of the time. The marketability of this as a home product for the relaxation and health of women led to the invention of the portable home “massager,” the precursor to our favorite vibrators today.
I’ve known about the origins of the modern vibrator for many years, but Hysteria helped fill some confusing gaps for me. For example, how was it possible that the doctors didn’t know they were sexually pleasuring their female patients? How did they not know they were inducing an orgasm? Also, wasn’t this type of touching considered very personal and embarrassing? At the time, it was believed that women only experienced sexual pleasure through penetration of a penis. The doctors believed they were triggering a paroxysm which was understood to be a necessary outburst and release of emotion. And as depicted in the movie, the doctors provided their vulva massage to each patient behind a red velvet curtain, draped at the woman’s waist, to maintain modesty.
The history of the vibrator is confusing and truly ridiculous by today’s understanding of sexuality. Despite dabbling in serious topics, Hysteria takes a romantic comedy approach that is entertaining and accessible, but certainly not earth shattering. I recommend it as a worthy rental to tickle your sexual funny bone. And what movie about vibrators wouldn’t have a happy ending?
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker, Sexologist, Sex Therapist
FREE EVENT - Oct. 9, 2012, San Diego State University
I will be speaking about Keys to Erotic Play (including toys) and my friend and colleague, Jill McDevitt, will speak about safer sex and orgasm! Love Campus is a new organization teaching college students how to become sex toy consultants.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapist, Sexuality Speaker, Sexologist, Sociologist
Dr. Jenn interviews the SEXUCATOR, Cathy Nguyen, about what new moms can do to maintain an active and playful sex life. She offers lots of great ideas for sex after children.
SEXUAL FUN FACT
How do sperm, once they are inside a woman, find the ova (egg)? (Hint: They use a sense...)
SPECIAL DEN SEX-TION
The Den Sex Position of the Day - What is "The Out of Town Guests"?
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and College Sexual Health Speaker
Do you love your vibrator? Do you have a collection of them, or just one that is your best friend?
A simple reminder that our "friends" can come in all shapes and sizes :)
Do you want to save 20% on quality sex toys while supporting breast cancer awareness? Two of my favorite entities have joined forces this October to support the Pink Jams! nonprofit in Washington, DC. And you can be a part of it!
Stef Woods, the popular sex and dating blogger of CityGirlBlogs, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37. She has recently completed her formal cancer treatment program and is actively involved with breast cancer charity events.
Together they are supporting Pink Jams!, an organization dedicated to increasing breast cancer awareness and early detection for those under 40 years of age. If you learn of this October collaboration through Stef's blog, work, or outreach (including this blog!) you will receive 20% off your Fun Factory purchase PLUS Fun Factory will donate an additional 20% of your purchase to Pink Jams!
Regarding this collaboration, Stef Woods stated, “Much of the available literature focuses on how cancer will harm your dating and sex life”, Woods said. “However, if a patient values his or her sexual health and there are no medical restrictions to doing so, that patient should be encouraged to prioritize his or her sexual health.”
What better way to spread your love? First to yourself, through purchasing a pleasure device, and second, by donating to a cause about education and compassion. All you have to do is use the code "Citygirl" (with a capital 'C') at Fun Factory to get the discount and make the donation!
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus -- Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, & University Sexuality Speaker in San Diego, CA