Brief History of Sex Toys

We invite you to explore the human history of sensual enhancement with the MyPleasure Sex Toy Timeline. We've done our research and uncovered a variety of techniques our ancestors discovered for enhancing their sexual experiences. This timeline takes you from the earliest natural methods to products made possible with modern day technology. We're sure you'll learn at least a few new scintillating sex facts here.

BC 25,000
Venus of Willendorf
Venus of Willendorf
Clearly sexual prehistoric stone carvings of women. These faceless, nude sculptures boasted greatly oversized breasts, hips, buttocks and vaginal lips. Most experts consider them fertility goddesses, but they may have also served as the porn of their day.
BC 2500
Egyptian art depicts female dancers gyrating nearly naked, carrying a sculpture of an oversized erect penis to honor the god Osiris. Possibly an agricultural fertility ritual, although one has to wonder ...
BC 500
Greek Orgy Invention of the olisbos, an early version of the dildo, in the Greek port of Miletus. Traders sold these olisbos around the Mediterranean as sexual refuges for lonely ladies.
BC 350
olives First mention of olive oil as a sexual accessory. Originally it was touted for contraception, but couples have used vegetable oils as lubricants ever since.
Kama Sutra Invention of penis extenders, now known as prosthetic penis attachments or PPAs. These cylindrical devices, which fit over men's erections to make them look larger, were first mentioned in the classic Indian sex manual, the Kama Sutra, which suggested crafting them from wood, leather, buffalo horn, copper, silver, ivory or gold.
AD 500
Ben Wa Balls
Golden Ben Wa Balls
Invention of Ben Wa balls. Originally they were a single ball used to increase men's pleasure during intercourse. Some were solid, others hollow with clappers that made a ringing sound as they rolled around in the vagina. Eventually they were paired and used by women to increase the strength of their pelvic floor muscles, much like Kegel exercises are used today.
AD 655
mirror Introduction of mirrors as sexual accessories. Lady Wu Chao, consort to the Chinese Emperor Tai Tsung, ordered sheets of reflecting glass arranged around their bed. When other courtiers insisted that the mirrors were a bad omen, the Emperor ordered them removed. When Wu Chao seized control of the throne after Tai Tsung's death, she reinstalled the mirrors to enhance trysts with her subsequent lovers.
AD 1200
Optimale 3 ring set
Invention of the proto-cock ring. The first documented rings were made in China from the eyelids of goats with eyelashes intact. The flexible eyelids were tied around men's erections, and the hardened lashes were said to increase the pleasure of intercourse.
AD 1400
wooden dildo Coining of the term "dildo." In Renaissance Italy, the Greek olisbo became "dildo," possibly from the Latin dilatare, to open wide, or perhaps from the Italian diletto, to delight. Renaissance Italian dildos were made of wood or leather and required liberal lubrication with olive oil for comfortable use.
AD 1600
Ivory Ring Invention of the modern cock ring and clitoral stimulator. Chinese men slipped ivory rings over their erections to help maintain them. The rings were ornately carved, usually depicting dragons. Over time, the carved dragons' tongues extended to form a nub that would rub against the woman's clitoris and enhance her pleasure during intercourse.
AD 1700
bathtub European health spas installed gravity-fed systems that sent powerful jets of water into bathing pools, much like the jets used in today's jacuzzis. While not specifically developed for female genital massage, surviving accounts hint that some women spent considerable time leaning into water-jet spouts.
AD 1750
Appearance of modern BDSM. European brothels began specializing in flagellation and other SM-style "punishments" that dominant prostitutes meted out to willingly submissive men.
AD 1791
Publication of Justine by the Marquis de Sade, from whom the term "sadism" is derived. His controversial writings helped popularize BDSM and the many adult toys used in sexual power play, such as riding crops, whips, nipple clips and restraint devices. ("Masochism" comes from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who wrote a novel about male sexual submission.)
AD 1844
rubber tires The vulcanization of rubber, which made it stronger and more elastic. This would later lead other inventors to develop rubber condoms, dildos and other sex toys.
AD 1869
steam vibrator Debut of the first vibrator. Developed by an American physician, George Taylor, M.D., it was a large, cumbersome, steam-powered apparatus. Taylor recommended it for treatment of an illness known at the time as "female hysteria." Hysteria, from the Greek for "suffering uterus," involved anxiety, irritability, sexual fantasies, "pelvic heaviness" and "excessive" vaginal lubrication -- in other words, sexual arousal. However, since it was the Victorian era, women were not considered to be at all sexual and it was therefore deemed a disease. Physicians of that era treated hysteria by massaging sufferers' vulvas until they experienced dramatic relief through "paroxysm" (orgasm). Unfortunately, hysteria was a recurrent condition and repeated treatment was often necessary. Taylor touted his steam-driven massage device as speeding treatment while reducing physician fatigue.
AD 1882
Debut of the first electromechanical vibrator. Forerunner of today's vibrators, these vibrators were smaller and less cumbersome than Taylor's steam-powered device. The original electromechanical vibe was a battery-powered massager designed by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville. It featured attachments similar to those in today's vibrator kits, which allowed the physician treating hysteria to vary the vibratory sensations the device produced. However, Granville was firmly opposed to using his device as a treatment for female hysteria and considered it useful only for massage of men's skeletal muscles to treat injuries caused by overexertion.
AD 1890
first movies Invention of the motion picture. Almost immediately after movies appeared, early filmmakers began producing pornography, some of which featured women playing with vibrators and dildos, including strap-ons.
AD 1899
Publication of America's first advertisement for a home electric vibrator, the Vibratile, in McClure's magazine -- as a cure for headache, wrinkles, and "neuralgia," or nerve pain, a term that included hysteria.
AD 1900-20
Popularization of the home vibrator. As electricity became widely available around the U.S., plug-in home vibrators were one of the first electrified home appliances. Marketed to women as health and relaxation aids, vibrator advertising copy was filled with double-entendres, for example, "all the pleasure of youth ... will throb within you." They were advertised in many consumer magazines, including Needlecraft, Home Needlework Journal and Woman's Home Companion, and even sold in the Sears & Roebuck catalogue as an "aid every woman appreciates."
Ad 1907
Prosthetic Penis Attachment
Cyberskin PPA
The Penis Stiffener wins a U.S. patent. This device, the first American PPA, was developed by Louis Hawley. It was a hollow, metal cylinder. It had a wide opening at one end for insertion of the penis and a small opening at the other to allow sperm into the vagina. It was designed for use by men with erection problems.
AD 1921
The first vibrator advertisement aimed at men. Published in a 1921 issue of Heart's magazine, it exhorted men to buy vibrators for their wives as Christmas gifts to keep them "young and pretty" and free from the scourge of hysteria.
AD 1925
stripper The emergence of strip-tease. Dancers slowly peeled down to nipple covers (pasties) and crotch covers (G-strings) and incorporated many props into their acts, among them: fans, furs, capes, and feather boas. Many of their costume pieces were eventually incorporated into sexual accessories.
AD 1927
KY Jelly Introduction of KY Jelly. Originally marketed to physicians to improve women's comfort during pelvic exams, KY went over the counter as a sexual lubricant in 1980. Since then, many other lubricants have been introduced.
AD 1928
Vibrators appear more prominently in porn -- not as "massagers," but as masturbation aids. One movie, The Widow's Delight, showed a well-dressed matron at her front door bidding good night to her equally dashing suitor. After rejecting a kiss, she races off to her bedroom, where she strips down to her underwear, grabs her vibrator and finishes off her evening.
AD 1930
Vibrator advertisements disappear from magazines and catalogues. As more pornographic films showed women using vibrators for sexual self-stimulation, it became impossible for manufacturers to defend the polite fiction that they were simply innocent "massagers." Self-appointed guardians of rectitude branded them immoral, and very quickly, vibrators virtually disappeared.
AD 1930
latex rubber invented Development of latex rubber. Lighter, softer, and more pliable then vulcanized rubber, latex revolutionized contraception, allowing production of better condoms and diaphragms. It also led to the development of latex sex toys.
AD 1948
polaroid camera Debut of the Polaroid-Land camera and the birth of amateur erotic photography. The Polaroid produced black-and-white photographs in just one minute without a third-party developer and allowed anyone to become an erotic photographer.
AD 1952
AMA declares that hysteria is not really an ailment. Since the vibrator would no longer used as a medical device, it had be acknowledged for its real purpose.
AD 1953
Playboy Magazine Debut of Playboy magazine. Although it was attacked as "pornography," the early issues were extremely tame by today's standards. It did, however, pave the way for X-rated media as we know it today.
AD 1965
Re-emergence of the vibrator. You just can't keep a good sex toy down.
AD 1970
first waterbed Debut of the waterbed. Inventor Charles P. Hall designed it for sleep comfort, but waterbeds quickly came to be considered sex enhancing. Hugh Hefner installed one in his bedroom at the Playboy mansion. Many hotels added them to their honeymoon suites.
AD 1978
Debut of the home video camera. Forget Polaroids; with a camcorder, anyone could produce porn videos in the privacy of their own home.
AD 1998
Alabama follows Georgia's lead and implements a law outlawing sex toys punishable by heavy fines and even jail time. Within a few years the law was overturned, despite the state's argument that women do not have a "fundamental or constitutional right" to items used for sexual pleasure.
AD 1998
Rabbit Pearl vibrator
Rabbit Pearl
The Rabbit vibrator makes an appearance on HBO's multi-award winning show, "Sex and the City®" as the once timid character Charlotte's new best friend. After the episode aired, demand for the toy skyrocketed.
AD 2001 Debut of Finally, high-quality sexual enhancement products and sexual health information became available to anyone with Internet access.
PureBliss personal massager MyPleasure introduces PureBliss, an ergonomically designed personal massager. The first in their own line of sensual enhancement products. Called the Sublime Collection, this new product line will meet MyPleasure's highest standards and is sure to change the world of sex toys forever. Updated in 2006 with a new and improved design and more exciting features, this toy is more popular than ever!
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