Dildo History: How Far It Has Cum – sorry, Come – Over The Years

dildo history

Quick Links: Caesar and Cleopatra | Egypt | Italy | Japan and England | China | Greece | America

Has it ever occurred to you that humans invented the dildo about the same time they discovered fire? Yeah, you read that right. The dildo isn’t in any way a modern invention. It is actually an ancient tool with a rich history that dates back to the Stone Age era.

To put this assertion into perspective, Palaeontologists have in recent years discovered polished, phallus-shaped siltstones believed to have been used for sex rituals thousands of years ago.

Here’s something interesting – sex rituals celebrated thousands of years ago were mostly a female affair. It was a norm that cut across the board in many societies across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

There’s a faction of historians who believe that the sex toys discovered from the Stone Age era were more of tools than toys. There’s no evidence though that sex toys back in the day couldn’t be used for fun.

Caesar And Cleopatra Dildo Adventures

If ever there was an Oscar or a Nobel back in the day for naughty charmers, Julius Caesar would’ve bagged the inaugural one unopposed. His long-time obsession could’ve bagged one too. History records that Julius Caesar, in a bid to impress the then widely sought-after Cleopatra, presented her with an ornately carved, gold-laden phallic sculpture. He set the bar so high at the time, that no one knocked that move off the perch for centuries.

Before Caesar made his move, Cleopatra had already made her name for herself as a sex weirdo. She’s rumored to have come up with the first-ever vibrator known to men (and women, of course!).

Her invention? You wouldn’t guess it! She filled a hollow gourd with angry bees so the guard would vibrate, and yeah, vibrate ‘flower’! It doesn’t end there.

There are historical records claiming she used insertive sex toys made of stone and polished wood….on and on the stories go…To perfectly understand the true history behind dildos, it is important to look at different timeframes throughout history and how the dildo morphed through generations to what it is today. Read on to learn more.

Dildo History in Ancient Egypt | 3000 Years Ago

Egyptians stand out as the earliest lot in history to experiment with dildos. Egyptian paintings from as early as 3,000 BCE depict women wearing conspicuous phallic objects around their waists.

The phallic objects resemble modern strap-on dildos and actually believed to have inspired their design. Notably, Egyptian women at the time wore phallic resembling objects around their waists so as to pay tribute to Osiris, an Egyptian god.

Italy – Renaissance Period | 15th Century

Ancient texts and art forms from Italy mention fruit vegetables and an array of penis-shaped objects used for sexual stimulation. Italians stand out here for one sole reason. Without them, the word ‘dildo’ would never have seen the light of day.

They referred to objects of pleasure as ‘diletto’ which loosely translates to ‘to delight’. By the end of the renaissance period, echelons and the affluent bought dildos both for pleasure and as an art form. The period was, after all, a very artistic period. Dildos that hit the markets around this time were made of silver, ivory, wood, and other precious materials.

17th Century Japan & England Dildo History

Japan and England in the 17th Century reacted to the use of dildos very differently. English men thought of dildos and other items used by women for self-pleasure as threats. They thought of dildos in particular, as penis replacers.

The threat to English men was so real that they passed laws to prohibit English women from making sex toys for themselves and for others. John Wilmot, who was the Earl of Rochester in the 17th Century, wrote a poem titled ‘Signor Dildo’. The poem addressed the fears English men had, that their women were turning away from men and were instead embracing dildos.

Japan had a very different reaction compared to England. They actually embraced dildos. Japanese erotic novels from the 17th Century, popularly referred to as shunga, depicted dildos playfully.

The general populace didn’t view dildos as a threat or penis replacement. It was normal for shunga at the time to represent women shopping for sex toys or resting in rooms decorated with phallus-shaped dildos.

China | 2000 Years Ago

It is easy to think of the Chinese as conservative and reserved when it comes to sex matters. That is a wrong assumption because the Chinese happen to be among the first people to come up with sex toys.

The Chinese City of Yizheng puts the Asian Powerhouse on the map for extremely sexy reasons. One of the oldest sex toys, designed as a strap-on, was discovered in the city inside an old tomb of an aristocrat.

Judging by the intricate details as well as the materials used to design the relic, it is safe to conclude that ancient China mostly designed sex toys for art purposes. It is also safe to conclude that the sexy toys, which were mostly phallic shaped, were a special preserve for the rich.

Ancient Greece

Out goes strange Chinese sex toys of 2000 years ago and in comes, the more bizarre yet sexy toys of ancient Greece approximately 2000 years ago.

Think of yourself as a sex-starved, horny Greek woman about 1500 years ago. Your husband, a sailor, sets off for the high seas in search of fortune and doesn’t come back for months. You don’t have so many options but you’re smart – you can’t hump your pillow because – no one knows about pillows yet. You can’t get a vibrator because, yeah – what’s that?

No one knows it….but wait a minute! Your bread can make you cum! Yes, as strange as it sounds, the first-ever dildos known to the Greek people were made of bread.

Notably, ancient Greeks didn’t identify as straight, gay, or bisexual. If it felt good, you did it. Bread dildos at the time became popular almost out of nowhere. Everyone made them – men and women in equal share.

And like you may have already guessed, they came in all different designs and sizes – straight, curved, long, short, medium et al…it is also worth noting that the bread dildos were biodegradable.

Ancient Greeks didn’t stop at bread dildos. Greek men designed olisboi which is more or less a dildo, made of soft, polished leather. About that time, olive oil consumption suddenly doubled as cooking oil as well as lube. The story here is strange.

Greeks believed that low sperm count caused hysteria or, worse still, a wandering uterus. Greek men who left their homes for months as they went on wars or high seas for businesses gave their wives olisbos for pretty obvious reasons. It wasn’t long before Greek women used olisboi’s for their own pleasure, even when their partners were around.

American Dildo History | the 1800s

Enter the Americans in the 1800s and the game changed for good! In came what was known then as the Steam Powered Manipulator. Don’t let the name fool you. It was basically a steam-powered vibrator. Note that the vibrator was invented years before electricity – a sure sign that sex was and still is, extremely important to Americans.

The steam-powered manipulator wasn’t really what anyone would describe as aesthetically appealing. It was, however, a game-changer in so many ways. It featured a dildo attached to a powerful steam engine designed to produce vibrations.

Unlike modern-day vibrators, this one was very intentional. One look at it and you immediately knew what it was designed for. A long protruding rod with a dildo at the end. It moved back and forth as it vibrated, guaranteeing extra pleasure.

Note that the machine wasn’t invented with female orgasm in mind. It was all about alleviating hysteria in women. Hysteria back then was a fancy name for sexual frustration. It would decades though because the term would be used again with sexual references.

The 1880s-1900s

The 1800s, mid-1800s to be precise, saw the birth of Macaura’sPulsocon Hand Vibrator. By this time, dildos were already a thing, especially in North America. Automated vibrators at this point in time were not just concepts anymore but a reality. Notably, the automation was in a bid to come up with something better than a vibrator. Something more exciting.

Nevertheless, though, each vibrator that hit the market featured a dildo or something phallic-shaped attached to it. The target market was by then, predominantly women.

Macaura’s Pulsocon Hand Vibrator became an instant hit mostly because of its size. It was somewhat heavier compared to modern vibrators, but still a handheld device. To many people today, it looks like a torture device.

Despite its shortcomings though, it produced more than 5000 vibrations per minute. To make it work, you had to hold one end firmly, then place the other end around your flower. You then had to manually turn the crank handle. It was too much work in comparison to how modern-day vibrators work.

It is actually because of this that vibrators still dominated the market. You knew exactly what to do with your vibrator. And yeah, by the mid-1800s, dildos were already pocket-size devices.

You may have already noted that information on early American dildos is scarce. This has a lot to do with Comstock Laws passed in the 1800s that saw the sale of rubber dilators banned. For those not in the loop yet, rubber dilators may not be dildos per se but the idea, the concept, and even the use is almost identical to that of dildos.

Use of rubber dilators before they were banned actually revolutionized dildo designs. Rubber dilators were small and not so phallic looking. There was therefore demand for something ‘real’ with a good girth.

Not even laws and stigma stopped women from using dildos. They were sold in underground markets where they had a ready market. So much so that in England, men felt threatened by dildos. This went on all the way to the early 1900s.

The 1900s

The print industry was already on its wobbly feet in Europe. Comics were already becoming a thing. It was common at this time to come across comics depicting women using dildos. Make no mistake, though. The industry was male-dominated, and since men loathed the idea of women using dildos, the comics that came out almost always communicated that sex with men was better.

Strangely though, as men focused more on discouraging dildos, vibrators came about, hit the market, and sold well. This was mostly because vibrators, unlike dildos, were always marketed as non-sexual. They were, instead, marketing as part of hysteria treatment for women.

The 1960s

It is hard, almost impossible to talk of the history of dildos without mentioning a thing or two about the sexual revolution of the 1960S. The era opened up the notion that masturbation and other forms of self-pleasure were normal and acceptable. Dildos then took on a new meaning as a tool for women’s sexual liberation.

By 1970, debates were all over on whether women should use dildos. Betty Dodson and Dell Williams were key figures around this time. They asserted that dildos at the time were manufactured by men.

They argued that the manufacturers designed toys to look like penises, which was an anomaly. To change the narrative, they introduced smooth, intricate, designed, and colorful silicone dildos that still rock sex toy markets today.

Then came the AIDs crisis of the 1980s and dildos became more popular than they had ever been before. Dildos were seen at the time as the perfect solution for having intercourse without risking infection. This kind of alternative was however short-lived as the stigma that linked dildo usage to new HIV infections went viral.

Wrap Up

Dildos as we know them today, have come a long way. Nevertheless, inventions around dildos still continue today. Sexologists use dildos for sex studies; artists use them as inspiration for art; and, more importantly, people use them for pleasure. All these would have sounded off a century or two ago.

As fate would have it, though, the dildo was to survive and evolve through generations into what many people consider one of the most notable sex toys of all time.

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