Mad, Beautiful Ideas
A History of Dildos

This was taken from an e-mail forwarded into my E-Mail account. It is from a Newsletter for an online sex-shop called A Woman's Touch. No, I'm not fully sure how I got on their list. Still, this is funny, and interesting, and I figured I'd post it.

Did you know that the dildo is the oldest known sex toy? For thousands of years, phallic objects have been used for a variety of purposes in many parts of the world. Recent excavations have uncovered dildos in China, dating from as many as 12,000 years ago. They were most likely used by aristocratic women who were "sexually deprived" for any number of reasons. Dildos were also used in fertility rites in some pagan cultures, as female orgasm was considered an offering to the gods and goddesses that would increase the fertility of the crops. Women in some cultures used dildos to penetrate their hymens prior to intercourse with their new husbands, to make their first sexual experience with their new husband less painful.

The history of the dildo in the Western world has its roots in ancient Greece. Traders in the coastal city of Miletus made and sold objects called "olisbos", which were intended to be used for sexual penetration by widows, or women whose husbands were away fighting in a war. A third-century B.C. Greek play features a character who asks to borrow her friend's olisbo, only to be crestfallen when she finds her friend has already lent it to someone else!

Dildos were also used in Renaissance Italy, where they were called "dilettos", from the Italian word for "to delight". In both Greece and Italy, dildos were made from wood or leather, and were used with olive oil for lubrication. Other ancient dildos were made of a range of materials, including bronze, ivory, and jade. Some Africans made dildos out of camel dung combined with resin, then dried in the desert air. Though many early dildos resembled penises, many were also quite artistic and ornate; some were even designed to double as statues in people's homes.

Dildos disappeared from popular culture for a long time, and didn't truly emerge for sexual pleasure again until the first erotic movies were made in the 1930s and 1940s. The electromechanical vibrator was very popular in the early part of the 20th century, but was designated for use only externally, and only for the treatment of "hysteria" in women. To suggest using a vibrator for penetration would have been considered far too risqué and overtly sexual.

The rubber and silicone dildos we have today didn't emerge until the 1960s and 1970s, when they were used in erotic movies. Today, dildos are available in a wide range of materials, sizes, and shapes.