How Did Sex Toys Become so Popular? - Randy Fox

Valentine’s Day may be over, but the interest in sex toys has never faltered. Just check Google Trends - you’ll see that it’s a consistent hot topic, and you’ll be surprised that it stems even to a time before the internet existed! So how did sex toys become so popular anyway?

Why are There Sex Toys Anyway?

Time to come clean people! When it comes to sexual intimacy, everyone - and I mean everyone - wants a dash of fun, a sprinkle of adventure, and a whole lot of pleasure. While traditional sensual practices are appreciated, we can always use a little something, right? That’s precisely why sex toys came to be.

By enhancing our physical pleasure with these intimate pieces of technology, not only do we enhance our sexual enjoyment but we get to explore our sexual boundaries at the same time. Think of adult toys as a map to uncharted territories. The excitement of discovering titillating sensations is pleasure enough.

Adult Toys: How it Began and its Road to Acceptance

Silhouette of a Passionate Couple - Randy FoxWith its compelling pros, you might be thinking, “Wow, sex toys must be pretty accepted by everyone since it came to be!” Wrong. True, adult toys may have grown in cultural acceptance over the past twenty years or so, but that wasn’t the case before. In fact, they didn’t even start as sexual items! Rather, adult toys were created for the sole discretion and use by male medical professionals, who would treat women for hysteria. Cue the eyeroll, ladies!

Yes, that’s right, vibrators and other adult toys weren’t created for male or female sexual stimulation, instead they were made to provide emotional relief for women. The common misconception at the time was that women didn’t experience sexual pleasure in the same way men did. Oh, how wrong they were! Let’s take a look at the turning points that contributed to the popularity of sex toys over the past two decades.

Although Originally Invented to Treat Hysteria, Women Chose DIY Vibrators

Although the vibrator was created out of the need to treat women’s hysteria by male medical professionals, this treatment actually fell out of favor during the early 1900s as women started seeking out “hysteria treatments” on their own. Rather than going to a doctor, women began experimenting with do-it-yourself methods of treatment, effectively creating a hysteria treatment market. Where are my independent ladies at?

A Hush-Hush Scene Emerged With Popular Magazines

Woman Kissing Her Partner - Randy FoxFrom then on, sexual pleasure from sex toys created a buzz, but in hushed tones. It started with the first vibrator invented by George Taylor back in 1869 which was marketed to the mainstream audience through discreet advertising. Popular magazines like Needlecraft, Home Companion, and the Sears & Roebuck Catalogue followed suit by putting out advertisements for “personal massagers.”

So how did they introduce the idea to the market without actually saying it outright? It was done through clever writing, often portraying these personal massagers as having healing properties. Although both men and women were encouraged by these magazines to buy vibrators, it was done so in a hush, hush manner as adult toys were still not considered socially acceptable. Talk about trading in the shadows!

The Free Love Movement Brought Sex Toys into the Light

Sex toys were gaining a huge following, especially from women, but it hit a snag. By the time the 1930’s hit, the sexual nature of personal massagers or health aids, now better known as vibrators, was made known through erotic cinema. That should create a positive noise for it, right? Wrong. This, unfortunately, made sex toys decline in popularity because of their affiliation with pornography.

Fortunately, the free love movement in the sixties allowed adult toys to flourish again, with erotic goods like vibrators becoming a more comfortable topic among women due to popular sexual educators like Betty Dodson. Besides, why should you be ashamed with pleasuring yourself, right?

Modern Culture and the Boom of Sex Toys in the 2000’s

And then came the golden age of sex toys!

Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City - Randy FoxFollowing the likes of popular writers and sexual educators, modern culture influencers like Oprah and HBO’s hit TV series, “Sex and the City,” helped positively change the perception around sex toy use. With the internet being public in the 1990s, this allowed us to shop around for sex toys in an anonymous environment, bringing more awareness of the topic to hundreds of thousands of women around the globe.

Today, discussions surrounding adult toys and their uses are overwhelmingly positive and more mainstream than ever. Sure, even if we still hush-hush it with discreet shipping, hidden cubbyholes, and mysterious smiles behind bedroom doors, we all know that the hype over sex toys are here to stay.

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