Every wondered where your favorite sex toys got their beginnings? Check out the histories of various adult sex toys below!
The first known sex toy is an eight inch dildo that was created over 30,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic era. It was discovered in a German cave by paleontologists just a few years ago and is currently being studied further at the University of Tübingen. This particular dildo's age makes it the oldest sex toy in existence and shows that sex toys were around long before almost all other inventions that we consider crucial to human life. The only inventions that are older? Fire, weapons, clothing, and beads! Throughout history, explorers have found thousands of additional ancient dildos-carved out of either bone or stone-right along side other personal artifacts, such as combs and sewing needles.
In Ancient Greece, women used a sex toy that they called "olisbokollix," with "kollix" meaning bread and "olisbos" meaning dildo. Yes, that's right, these dildos were made out of bread! Talk about asking for a yeast infection, right? Later, Greek dildos were made from lacquered wood, glass, and leather. Recovered pieces of Greek art from the time frequently depict the use of dildos sexual situations and it has been suggested that this was because the ancient Greek male mind couldn't fathom a sexual encounter without penetration (thus, solo female and lesbian scenes always included dildos).
In 1610, dildos are mentioned in Ben Johnson's play The Alchemist and in 1623, sex toys are mentioned in Act IV of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. These two written works are the first time that the word "dildo" was ever published. English playwright Thomas Mashe wrote the poem called The Merrie Ballad of Nashe His Dildo in the early 1590s, but it was not published until 1899.
Now, dildo sex toys come in every shape, size, and variety imaginable. You can find dildos that are anywhere from super small to ridiculously large (like, 50-pounds, 3-feet-tall kind of ridiculous). You can find dildos in every colour you can think of. You can find dildos that are ultra-realistic (some even being molded off of real penises) or just vaguely phallic. You can find dildos made out of silicone, rubber, metal, and glass, but really, if you try hard enough, you could use any object of sufficient firmness and shape as a dildo.
Personal lubrication emerged in Ancient Greece around 350 B.C., where they were using olive oil with their leather sex toys. Aristotle also references olive oil as lube in History Of The Animals, where he states that smoother sex made pregnancy less likely.
In the 1600s, the Chinese began to use vegetable oil as lube, while the Japanese began to use mashed yams, which made for a surprisingly tasty flavored lube for use with both sex toys and partners!
In 1899, English chemist Frederic Kipping discovered the polymer which he dubbed "silicone" and which led to the introduction of silicone-based sex toy lube.
The first commercial lube was released in 1904 and still exists to this day: KY Jelly! In 1911, Crisco hydrogenated oil was released and found itself quickly favored as a thicker alternative to KY Jelly. In 1933, Robert Chesebrough introduced Vaseline petroleum jelly, which also became a popular option for a thicker lubricant.
Now, a wide variety of water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based sex toy lubes exist: tingling, warming, cooling, desensitizing, flavored, and more!
In 3rd century A.D., the Kama Sutra-the infamous Hindu sex manual-described using makeshift strap-on or penis extender sex toy devices in order to increase the pleasure of the person being penetrated. These sex toys would be made from gold, silver, ivory, or wood and were meant to "supplement the penis' length or its thickness". At the time these were called "apadravya," but that term has since come to describe a particular type of penile piercing.
Now we have endless combinations of materials and designs when it comes to strap-on and penis extender sex toys and both have been maximized for pleasure for both males and females!
The first users of cock rings were actually ancient Chinese royalty. At the time, these leaders were constantly bombarded by violent attacks and they had to work quickly to ensure that an heir would be born before their untimely death. The stress of the situation, combined with their multiple partners (wives, mistresses, and concubines), made it hard to perform. Thus, cock rings were introduced as a way to slow the flow of blood out of the penis, ensuring that an erection would stay harder for longer. Originally, these sex toys were made from the eyelids of a goat-with the eyelashes still attached, to boot (we guess he enjoyed the added tickling sensation?)!
Now, we have a large variety of cock ring sex toys in all sizes and designs, made from metal, plastic, leather, rubber, silicone, or nylon.
Although these sex toys may have been around for a lot longer, the first reliable record of condoms does not appear until 1564. It was at this time, after the Black Death, that Medieval men experienced an onslaught of syphilis and needed to come up with a way to have sex again, without… you know… being afraid to die. Gabriele Falloppio, an Italian doctor, was the inventor of the solution: condoms. He created a linen shealth which he soaked in chemicals and allowed to dry before use. He created the condoms so that they could be placed over the penis and held in place by a ribbon. Once he recruited volunteers to try them out, he reported that this new sex toy invention could indeed protect against syphilis.
During the Renaissance, condoms were also made out of animal intestines and bladders. In the 16th century, the Dutch introduced upscale sex toy condoms made from leather. By the 18th century, condoms were widely used and available throughout Europe and Russia at pubs, barber shops, chemist shops, markets, and even the theater! BY the end of the 19th century, condom were the Western world's most popular method of birth control.
Today, you can find these sex toys items in different sizes (everywhere from oversized 'Magnums' to small, snug condoms), different materials (latex, polyurethane, and lambskin), different colors (every one you can imagine), different textures (ribbed, studded, etc.), and even different flavors (these are primarily used for oral sex).
Vibrator sex toys first entered the market in 1869. Originally, vibrators were introduced as a medical tool to be used in the treatment of "female hysteria," but they were also documented as being used in the treatment of arthritis, constipation, amenorrhea, inflammations, and tumors.
By 1900, vibrator sex toys were regularly being marketed in women's magazines and praised for their health and beauty benefits. By the 1920s, vibrators began to appear in pornography and mainstream media could no longer deny the obvious sexual function of the devices. This caused vibrators to retreat into the dark with other sex toys of the time.
During the sexual revolution of the 1960s, vibrator sex toys made their triumphant return! In 1966, Jon G. Tavel applied for a patent for the "Cordless Electric Vibrator for Use on the Human Body" and in 1968 that patent was approved.
The 1980s and the 1990s brought increased mainstream attention to vibrator sex toys by including them more frequently in pop culture. One of the most noteable examples of this is in a 1998 episode of the television show Sex And The City in which one of the main characters becomes addicted to her rabbit vibrator. Fun fact: rabbit vibrators actually originated in Japan, where it was once illegal to sell any sex toys that were realistic, which is why they went with a cute animal design instead!
Now, there are endless varieties of vibrators to choose from and enjoy and they are easier to acquire than ever with these sex toys being sold on the shelves of many popular US chain retailers such as Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, and Safeway. Vibrators can be made of plastic, silicone, rubber, vinyl, or latex. Vibrators can be phallic-shaped or, really, any shape at all! They can be designed for clitoral stimulation, G-spot stimulation, anal stimulation, or a combination of any of the three, and come in any number of vibration intensities. There really are endless designs, colors, shapes, sizes, textures, vibration intensities and patterns… the list goes on and on!
Still want to know more? Well, to finish off this directory, we've rounded up some very interesting sex toy statistics for you to enjoy!