Were you ever curious about the evolution of sex toys? Sex toys have been around for a long, long time. In fact, the earliest known suspected sex toy is a 28,000-year-old phallic object that doesn’t look that far off from the dildos and similar toys we use today.
- The ancient beginnings of sex toys
- The Medieval to Victorian era
- Industrialisation and sexual liberation in the 20th century
- Where we are now
- The takeaway
That said, sex toys have also grown a lot since their early beginnings. So, this National Sex Toy Day, let’s look at the evolution of sex toys over the years to see what’s changed and what’s remained the same.
Let’s dive into it.
The ancient beginnings of sex toys
We’re not joking when we say that sex toys have ancient origins. The earliest known sex toy scientists have uncovered came from a cave in Germany.
This siltstone phallic object features a polished and shiny end and decorative rings and is largely considered to be the world’s oldest dildo, with some scientists discovering that its age is around 30,000 years old.
That said, this isn’t the only prehistoric sex toy we’ve uncovered in recent years.
Throughout the past few decades, archaeologists have found phallic objects and similar toys all over Europe. While there were some made of siltstone, there were others made of antlers, bone and wood.
Scientists have found evidence of sex toys from between 30,000-5,000 years ago, which shows that humans all over have tried creating toys for masturbation. However, there is still some speculation as to whether these ancient toys were used for masturbation or rituals.
Fast forward a few thousand years, and you’ll find even more potential evidence of sex toys and dildos. There is currently evidence that leads us to believe sex toys could have been present in Babylon, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and even China!
The Medieval to Victorian era
Moving on to more recent history, let’s look at the medieval and Victorian eras. As you might guess, sex toys were considered somewhat taboo at this time, as more conservative and religious values were held sacred by the public.
All we know about sex toys and masturbation from this era primarily comes from penitential manuals and trial records. These documents show that acts such as lesbian intercourse, masturbation (especially with a sex toy), and even sexual desire toward certain individuals weren’t just frowned upon but resulted in some hefty punishments.
There are numerous cases of women being tried and convicted for crimes revolving around sex toys, which paints a clear picture of how much masturbation and sexuality were frowned upon in this era.
However, things slowly started to change as we transitioned into a new era of human history.
As we moved on to the Renaissance age, things started to open up. However, there was still a stigma and attitude toward sexuality that prevented the world of sex toys from growing into what we know today.
That said, these are the years where he has the earliest documents of BDSM toys such as whips, bondage tools, and more being used in the bedroom. The late 1700s also show evidence of the world’s first vibrator, which people of all genders have been using ever since.
But arguably, one of the biggest evolutions of this time was the discovery of vulcanised rubber. While this period is usually remembered as the time when car history was changed forever, the discovery has also brought us condoms, dildos, and other rubber sex toys that have become mainstays in the bedroom.
Industrialisation and sexual liberation in the 20th century
As vulcanised rubber pushed the world of sex toys to a new level, the industrialisation and sexual liberation of the 20th century brought them to where they are today.
As manufacturing sex toys became easier, more people had access to these devices. That’s why most people in today’s age have vibrators, dildos, and other spicy bedroom toys that elevate their sex lives.
So, let’s dive deeper into the advancements in the 20th century that impacted the world of sex toys.
Technological advancements drive the sex toy industry
One of the first advancements that directly affected sex toys was electricity. While vibrators existed before electricity became a mainstay in homes worldwide, it was one of the first home devices to be electrified. In fact, it’s credited as the fourth home device to be electrified, cementing its place in history.
Vibrators became popular in the early 20th century because they were advertised as massagers. Because of their subtle advertising, they could be found in mail-order magazines and similar media.
As vibrators grew in popularity, companies began to innovate to gain a competitive edge. That’s why the 20th century saw a boom in different vibrator designs and technologies. Without these technological advancements, we wouldn’t have the variety of sex toys available to us today.
The sexual revolution
Along with technological advancements, there was a major change in sexuality in the 20th century. Men and women worldwide began to feel more sexually liberated, exploring their sexuality in various ways. In line with that, masturbation (particularly for women), pornography, and sex toys also became more popular.
The 70s and 80s saw various women teaching masturbation classes, particularly with a vibrator. That’s why gadgets like the Magic Wand became popular in many households during this era.
That said, the sex toy industry also received a major blow during the sexual revolution. As more actors and actresses began to use sex toys in pornography, companies could no longer advertise their products as simple “massagers”. So, sex toy manufacturers had to find a new way to promote their products to a major market.
Where we are now
So, how does the world of sex toys look now?
Well, we’ve seen many changes, from technological advancements that allow us to connect our vibrators and dildos to our phones via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to new designs that are more inclusive and diverse.
There’s been a different kind of sexual revolution recently. While not the same as the “free love” movement in the 70s, shifting attitudes in the 21st century have definitely changed the world of sex toys. To start, people are more open about their use of sex toys as they have become popular bedroom devices for both single people and couples.
Now that sex toys are much less of a taboo, we’re seeing more people talk about them and share useful information. That way, more people will find the sex toy that is right for their needs and can elevate their sexual experiences.
Diversity and inclusion
Part of the cultural shift we’re seeing right now is a movement for a more diverse and inclusive world. Back in the day, you could find various types of sex toys. However, they would typically only be available in one colour or design.
Thanks to the evolution of sex toys, nowadays, there are designs for everyone. This diverse selection has allowed more people to feel comfortable using sex toys and discovering themselves on a new level.
That concludes our brief rundown of the history and evolution of sex toys. As you can tell, sex toys have gone through many ups and downs throughout history. However, one thing rings true: humans have been using tools and toys to pleasure themselves for a long time.
So, it wouldn’t be a surprise if sex toys only grow in popularity in the coming years. And with that comes a lot of innovation that we can only dream about!
Are you looking for new sex toys to add to your collection? Why not check out our handy list of sex toys everyone needs in their collection this National Sex Toy Day?