San Francisco, California

Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum

Vibrator museum honors the orgasm and dildo history

19
Contributor: Tanja

Oh, the good ol' days.

Starting in the Victorian era, medically induced orgasms in women were practiced as a legitimate cure for what was then called female hysteria — characterized by anxiety, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasms, irritability, and loss of appetite. Single women would go to doctors who would manually prompt orgasm, until the creation of the dildo changed the female orgasm forever.

In the parade of modern conveniences, first came the electric sewing machine in 1889, followed by the fan, the teakettle, the toaster — and, in 1902, the vibrator. Many came packaged in velvet-lined cases that would not look out of place in any lady's boudoir.

"All the pleasure of youth will throb within you," read a typical ad from the era.

But by the late 1920s, magazines would no longer accept advertisements for vibrators for fear of violating anti-obscenity laws, and women became reluctant to purchase them because of this newly-realized sexual stigma.

For the most part, vibrator design remained unvaried, although some models added an assortment of removable tips to provide varied sensations or eschewed the handle for a more compact shape that would fit securely in a woman's palm.

By the 1950s, vibrators were often housed in hard plastic or vinyl carrying cases like portable record players of the era with scientific-looking dials and controls inside. As in the case of the fictional Rejuvenator, these Eisenhower-era vibrators were advertised as "reduction aids," although it is unlikely that many women objected when they failed to lose weight.

The Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum in San Francisco displays models from these lost years. The Magnetic Massage, for example, was touted as a means to achieve a healthy complexion, lustrous hair, and a taut neck and chin. The package features several drawings of a young woman using device in various fashions — all safely north of her collarbone.

  • Address
    1620 Polk St, San Francisco, California, 94109, United States
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