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Photo: Troy Holden (CC-NC-ND)
The dildo has its origins in Europe

THE DILDO, a european success story

Sex toys, for men and women alike, have turned out to be a highly successful industry, valued at 15 billion US dollars. Although 70% of the world’s sex toys today are made in China, the dildo - a common sex toy for many women and made even trendier after Samantha showed the world &quot;the rabbit&quot; in Sex and the City - has a very European origin, stretching from Greece and France to Britain and Germany. But how did it all begin?

Sex toys, and dildos, are not new to Europe. Dildos have been found depicted in ancient Greek art from thousands of years ago and excavators have dug up a 28 000 year-old phallus in a German cave, believed to have been used as a sex toy during the Ice Age. Apparently, sexual pleasure is no recent phenomenon. However, although the result may be a joyride, the vibrator was originally invented as a "cure for the crazy". 

In 1870 the British invented the "Manipulator" - finally a way to satify a woman without getting yourself tired!

In the 19th century, many women (not seldom nuns, virgins and widows suffering from "sexual deprivation") were thought to have hysteria, a medical disorder that was treatable through genital massage. But as doctors were not too pleased with the time-consuming task of satisfying a woman to the point of orgasm, the French figured out how to massage a woman to stimulation using high-pressure water rays. A decade later, in 1870, the British entered the arena with the so-called "Manipulator", a steam-powered vibrator that was, at the time, regarded as a welcome solution by many doctors – finally a way to satisfy a woman without getting yourself tired! This first vibrator quickly paved the way for more electric sex toys, all performed by doctors on all those allegedly hysterical women. Like many other products, electricity made vibrators mainstream – and they slowly made their way from the doctor’s clinic to the home, and are today pleasurable accessories found in many goodie drawers. And many goodie drawers indeed. According to a Nordic survey by non-profit organisation RFSU, approximately half of the respondents (aged 20-45 years) own a sex toy, and another study by author Cory Silverberg shows that 52% of women and 45% of men have used a dildo. And today dildos can be found in many shapes, sizes, colours and materials - PVC, glass, wood, rubber or steel, vibrating or static, double-headed or single-headed, strap-on or regular - and, like many other modern devices, dildos also come "blinged". No longer used as a treatment for hysteria, dildos and other sex toys help bring pleasure to men and women across the world - all thanks to some horny Europeans thousands and thousands of years ago.

Sources:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/10/million-dollar-vibrator-expensive-sex-toy-lifestyle-style-adult-entertainment.html
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article4032852.ece
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4713323.stm
http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/maines-technology.html
http://www.rfsu.se/sv/Sex--relationer/Sexteknik-och-praktik/Sexleksaker-och-sexhjalpmedel/
http://sexuality.about.com/bio/Cory-Silverberg-17133.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dildo

Cover picture: eduarte24, (CC-NC-ND)

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