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

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JHU Press, Mar 1, 2001 - Medical - 181 pages
93 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  - Mike Hankins - Goodreads

This book is more about the history of "hysteria" as a disease and the intellectual history of how what is considered "normal" sexual behavior for women evolved over the years. Part of this is the ... 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  - Fred - Goodreads

I really like the idea of the microhistory genre, where someone grasps that there is a history of *everything* and seeks to tell that tale. I know its been a trend for a few years, but since this book ... 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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