For many years, centuries really, women diagnosed with “hysteria”–a disease thought to result from a lack of sexual intercourse or gratification–were treated by massaging their genitals in order to induce “paroxysm.”
Male physicians considered the practice drudgery, and sought various ways of avoiding the task, often foisting it off on midwives. In the late 19th century, physicians turned to mechanical devices. Some devices were manual, some were steam driven and once electricity became available, the devices became electronic.
Some of theses devices, like the Chattanooga stood almost 6 feet tall. In 1900 the Chattanooga sold for $200 to physicians. A tidy sum. That is equivalent to $4,651.00 in 2015 dollars.
Eventually, these devices became available for purchase and home use; Hamilton Beach, a major home appliance manufacturer, made one of the first handheld vibrators that could be used for pleasure instead of just medical use. One such “portable vibrator” was advertised in the 1918 Sears, Roebuck catalog as an “aid that every woman appreciates.”
You would think that in over 125 years, with the Suffragette and the Feminist movements, society’s views regarding female sexuality would have changed. However, the attitude toward women’s sexuality in the medical and psychological professions continue to reflect the ancient biases. Women’s sexuality is still perceived as an unapproachable subject in some quarters.
Why is that?
Will coming to In the Next Room, or the vibrator play change society’s view of female sexuality? Will it change your view? The former, maybe, the latter certainty.
Plus there are is very lovely love story wrapped around this discussion of female sexuality.
The show opens February 12, 2016, just in time for Valentine’s Day. TICKETS