The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction

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JHU Press, Mar 1, 2001 - Medical - 181 pages
23 Reviews

From the time of Hippocrates until the 1920s, massaging female patients to orgasm was a staple of medical practice among Western physicians in the treatment of "hysteria," an ailment once considered both common and chronic in women. Doctors loathed this time-consuming procedure and for centuries relied on midwives. Later, they substituted the efficiency of mechanical devices, including the electric vibrator, invented in the 1880s. In The Technology of Orgasm, Rachel Maines offers readers a stimulating, surprising, and often humorous account of hysteria and its treatment throughout the ages, focusing on the development, use, and fall into disrepute of the vibrator as a legitimate medical device.

  

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Review: The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology)

User Review  - james - Goodreads

Content-wise this book deserves a 5. But the writing style drastically brings it down. Published in 1999, it reads like an unedited 1980s history textbook. It jumps around and at times has very ... Read full review

Review: The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology)

User Review  - Kristian Bjørkelo - Goodreads

My only gripe with this short and concise work is its feminist perspective. While understandable, I actually believe there are different ways of interpreting these. Love the book, and I use it frequently in my lectures on the subject. Read full review

Contents

THE JOB NOBODY WANTED
1
The Androcentric Model of Sexuality
5
Hysteria as a Disease Paradigm
7
The Evolution of the Technology
11
FEMALE SEXUALITY AS HYSTERICAL PATHOLOGY
21
Hysteria in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
22
Hysteria in Renaissance Medicine
26
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
32
What Ought to Be and What Wed Like to Believe
65
INVITING THE JUICES DOWNWARD
67
Hydropathy and Hydrotherapy
72
Electrotherapeutics
82
Mechanical Massagers and Vibrators
89
Instrumental Prestige in the Vibratory Operating Room
93
Consumer Purchase of Vibrators after 1900
100
REVISING THE ANDROCENTRIC MODEL
111

The Freudian Revolution and Its Aftermath
42
MY GOD WHAT DOES SHE WANT?
48
Physicians and the Female Orgasm
50
Masturbation
56
Frigidity and Anorgasmia
59
Female Orgasm in the PostFreudian World
62
The Androcentric Model in Heterosexual Relationships
114
The Vibrator as Technology and Totem
121
Notes
125
Note on Sources
171
Index
175
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Rachel P. Maines is an independent scholar and a technical processing assistant at Cornell University's Hotel School Library. She is also the author of numerous articles in scholarly and popular publications.

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