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HYSTERIA and it's treatment
On another note, in the 19th century, some physicians concluded that hysteria among women was caused by sexual deprivation. As a treatment, they would stimulate a woman to have an orgasm in the doctor's office. Eventually, "a doctor invented the vibrator so women could 'treat' themselves at home." 13. [DEAD LINK]
The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) (Paperback) by Rachel P. Maines
Editorial Reviews Amazon.com For centuries, women diagnosed with "hysteria"--a "disease paradigm," in Rachel P. Maines's felicitous phrase, thought to result from a lack of sexual intercourse or gratification--were treated by massaging their genitals in order to induce "paroxysm." Male physicians, however, considered the practice drudgery, and sought various ways of avoiding the task, often foisting it off on midwives or, starting in the late 19th century, employing mechanical devices. Eventually, these devices became available for purchase and home use; one such "portable vibrator" is advertised in the 1918 Sears, Roebuck catalog as an "aid that every woman appreciates." The Technology of Orgasm is an impeccably researched history that combines a discussion of hysteria in the Western medical tradition with a detailed examination (including several illustrations) of the devices used to "treat" the "condition." (Maines is somewhat dismissive of the contemporary, phallus-shaped models, which she describes as "underpowered battery-operated toys," insisting that "it is the AC-powered vibrator with at least one working surface at a right angle to the handle that is best designed for application to the clitoral area.") Don't expect any cheap thrills, though; the titillation Maines offers is strictly intellectual. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly It will surprise most readers to learn that the vibrator was invented in the late 1880s as a time-saving device for physicians, who had been treating women's "hysteria" for years with clitoral massage. Denying the sexual nature of the treatments, doctors instead saw the technique as a burdensome chore and welcomed electric devices that would shorten patients' visits. Maines, an independent scholar in the history of technology, presents a straightforward account of the mechanism from its beginning through the 1920s, when it came into disrepute as a medical instrument. Going far beyond a mere summary of therapeutic advances, however, she wryly chronicles the attitude toward women's sexuality in the medical and psychological professions and shows, with searing insight, how some ancient biases are still prevalent in our society. Maines's writing is lively and entertaining, and her research is exhaustive, drawing on texts from Hippocrates to the present day. Proving her point about how women's sexuality is still perceived as an unapproachable subject in some quarters, Maines describes her travails in vibrator historiography, including the loss of her teaching position at Clarkson University. A pioneering and important book, this window into social and technological history also provides a marvelously clear view of contemporary ideas about women's sexuality. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal A researcher and archivist with a doctorate in the history of technology, Maines has produced an exhaustive and deliciously savage history of the vibrator-as-sex-aid. Massage of women's genitalia by physicians for relief of "hysteria" dates to Hippocrates. Yet procuring women's orgasms?whether identified as sex or as merely "paroxysm"?was "the job that nobody wanted," and physicians were happy to delegate the chore to mechanical devices in the 1880s. This fascinating and exquisitely referenced true story reads like twisted science fiction and will intrigue historians of technology and/or medicine, culture-watchers, feminists, and lay readers. Maines's work is noted briefly in Joani Blank's Good Vibrations (Down There, 1989), a concise and helpful popular introduction to vibrators and how to use them. Hoag Levins's journalistic American Sex Machines (Adams Media, 1996) bypasses vibrator evolution and history completely. Maines's dry wit and writing skill lend appeal and readability. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.?Martha Cornog, Philadelphia Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Review "Thorough, original, and surprising." -- Sarah Boxer, New York Times Book Review
Hysteria: The Wanderisg Uterus & A Brief History of the Vibrator
A Brief History Of The Vibrator
CONTINUE ON TO EARLY AMERICA SEX, MARRIAGE, CHILDREN, GAYS, LESBIANS, BOYS AS GIRLS, ABORTION, BREECHING, FAMILY AND OTHER MYTHS. PART 16