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The Birth of the Sex Toy

August 05, 2022 3 min read

When did sex toys get invented?

The sex toy industry is one of the few industries that's both a grower and a shower. A few years ago, there wasn’t anything like it. It’s fun to think about sex toys, and even more fun to use them. In 29,000 BC, Neanderthals in the Swabian Jura region of what is now Germany began carving rocks into phallic shapes.

Sex toys have gotten a little more innovative and a lot weirder since ancient Greece. A variety of odd things were made as "toys". For some reason, though, most of them were stuffed with old loaves of bread. They were called olikbokkollikes, which are almost as difficult to pronounce as they are to wrap your mind around. Greeks first discovered how to lube up by using olive oil.

Related: 7 Steps to Get Your Wife to Use Sex Toys

Did they have sex toys in the Middle Ages?

Yes. During the 1300s, the Chinese became particularly good at manufacturing sex toys, and they included Ben Wa Balls stuffed with animal semen, cock rings made of goat eyelids, and double sided dildos.

Dildos weren't actually called by that name until around 1400 AD, but, back then, they were referred to as "pleasure" by the Italians or "dilett o" in their language.

1600s onwards

In the 1600s, French sailors invented the first sex doll. They called these "dames de voyage". In 1800s era England, fragile men began labelling anxious or unhappy women as having hysteria. It continued until the 1950s, it was treated with intense genital stimulation, among other things.

Hysteria spread like wildfire, and doctors were helpless, so the story goes that they invented vibrating machines to make women orgasms with less effort. The old-school sex toys have come a long way. They are not just for women anymore, they are for couples who want to spice things up in the bedroom.

American doctor, George Taylor was not the first to create a brain-controlled robotic arm, as there are many people who have done it before him, though. Joseph Morton Granville invented the first patent, named “Granville’s Hammer".

People used vibrators for a long time before it became common for them to be used for sexual pleasure. While they are often used for sex now, they originated to help relieve muscle cramps. Vibrators have been marketed as a bunch of different things throughout the 20th century, including scalp massagers, weight loss tools, and pain relievers.

The Magic Wand, a battery powered massager, came out in Japan around the same time. The women began using it for themselves. 'Back pain' caused demand to go up. In 1983, Japanese manufacturers like Vibratex started making vibrators that look like harmless (and sometimes cute) things. Some were modeled after animals, such as kangaroos, turtles, and rabbits, and came in bright colors.

Another major sex toy innovation came in 1995 when the Fleshlight was developed. Initially created to help collect samples from sperm donors. They soon discovered that the market for it could be bigger than they had anticipated and they started selling it. A few years later, RealDoll made its debut. RealDolls used silicone and mechanical joints to provide the most realistic faux experience of being with a woman to date. A far cry from the straw dames de voyage.

Thanks to the anonymity of the internet and ever evolving technological innovations, we're now living in the golden age of sex toys.

What was the first recorded sex toy?

A 30,000 year old siltstone phallus is regardes as the world's oldest known sex toy and it doubles as a fire starter. What an ingenious invention! It is said to have been made around 1,800 years ago, although some experts believe it could be older.

The relic was found in a cave in Germany and is being studied at the University of Tubingen. The find was rare since examples of "masculinity" from that time period are rare to find. The prehistoric phallus has marks where it was used for striking against flints, and carved rings around one polished end. It's easy to see what it was being used for. The multitasking tool was pieced together from more than a dozen fragments that were found in a cave complex.

Want to know how to care for your sex toy so that it wouldn't be regarded as a 30,000 year old artifact also? Check out our article here; on Maintaining Sex Toys.