The Evolution of Pleasure Tools Throughout Human History
While we know that humans have been having sex since the dawn of time — we wouldn’t be here otherwise — there’s been a lot of resistance to acknowledging the sexual predilections of our ancient ancestors, and especially women.
On one hand it makes sense, as scientists want to avoid projecting modern desires and making assumptions about how early humans interacted with sex. On the other hand, it seems disingenuous to dance around the fact that prehistoric people had the same anatomy as modern vagina owners of today, meaning that they share a sexual organ that’s only purpose is to produce pleasure and it’s likely that they experimented with it just as we do.
Archeological evidence also supports this way of thought. In 2005, a sculpted and polished stone phallus believed to be more than 30,000 year old was found in Hohle Fels Cave in Southwestern Germany. Almost eight inches long, this prehistoric tool was thought to be a pleasure aid for Ice Age era humans.
Other ancient pleasure tools include a carved stag antler that was found in Sweden and is believed to date back to between 4,000 and 6,000 BC. Carved ivory phallus from the Neolithic period have also been found in France.
Ancient Greeks found sexual inspiration in the kitchen and used dildo-shaped baguettes, or olisbokollikes, to reach ecstasy, although it’s believed that these doughy objects were also used for ritualistic purposes.
In Ancient China, members of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) believed that they would maintain the same status in death and were buried in elaborate tombs with their most prized possessions — some of which intricate bronze pleasure wands. The Han regarded sex as a spiritual experience that could help balance yin and yang energies and it was believed that including these objects in their tombs would ensure a balanced and peaceful afterlife.
In Renaissance era Italy, sex toys were called “dilettos” and made of materials that included leather, stone, ivory, and wood. One Italian author Pietro Aretino reported that nuns used phallic objects to “quell the gnawing of the flesh.”
The first dildos appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1500s and by the mid-17th century, pleasure tools were fairly accessible by the wealthy. Less-fortunate English women even began making their own! The first vibrator was born during the Victorian Era; it was a steam-powered apparatus used to treat hysteria in women.
Around the same time in Edo era Japan, images of people purchasing and enjoying dildos appeared in erotic books called “shunga.” Women were often depicted as the aggressors in these comics and shungas continued to be popular even after they were outlawed in 1722.
All of this confirms that our human pursuit of pleasure has existed as long as we have roamed the earth. Although early humans might not have had the tools to carve and polish crystals for intimate use, their dildos were not unlike Chakrubs, which are also made from stones (or in the case of The Forest Line, wood), many of which were significant in different ways to the ancient cultures mentioned above. One could say that by using Chakrubs we are coming full circle in our pleasure practices.
BBC: Ancient Phallas Unearthed in Cave
ati: The 30,000 Year History of The Dildo
HuffPost: The History of Female Sex Toys: From Early Dildos to Rampant Rabbits
Feature Image from All That Is Interesting via European Association Of Urology