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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Female Hysteria and the Sex Toys Used to Treat It



IN THE MIX EDUCATION, MUSIC, AND CULTURE

 

MOTHER JONES

June 7, 2012

 

THIS WEEK'S MUST-READ

Female Hysteria and the Sex Toys Used to Treat It

The new film Hysteria tells a fictionalized account of the invention of the vibrator in Victorian-era England. But just how historically accurate is it? Surprisingly close. As historian Rachel P. Maines points out in her book "The Technology of Orgasm," the symptoms of "hysteria"—a catch-all diagnosis for a slew of vexing lady problems that dates back a couple millennia—included fainting, anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness and "a tendency to cause trouble for others."

Since at least the second century, a good orgasm, or rather "hysterial paroxysm," was considered a suitable treatment—at least when practiced by a medical professional. Our interactive timeline illustrates the long and outrageous history of hysteria—and the sex toys used to treat it. [READ MORE]

 

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