Magazine article Psychology Today

A Brief History of Good Vibrations

Magazine article Psychology Today

A Brief History of Good Vibrations

Article excerpt

SEX TOYS ARE as old as sin, but in America, they have gone from the underground to the mainstream in a matter of decades. In her new book Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy, historian Hallie Lieberman recounts how disparate forces, including feminism, entrepreneurship, and entrenched conservatism, converged to shape the modem dildos and vibrators that many proudly use today. Here are a few highlights. -£A

[1960s] In the late '60s, the Supreme Court revised obscenity rules, making it easier to buy pom. Yet sex toys remained controversial-and manufacturers still risked prosecution-so they were widely branded as novelties or medical devices. Even as experts like pioneering psychologist Albert Ellis protested that masturbation was benign, Lieberman explains, "dildos were sold as 'impotence devices,' as opposed to things that allowed women to have orgasms."

[1970s] Before Duane Colglazier and Bill Rifkin opened the first Pleasure Chest in Manhattan in 1971, sex toys were mostly sold in seamy adult stores and through mailorder catalogues. …

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