Adult toys have been around since the tenth century, if not before. In ancient Greece and Rome, dildos were carved out of everything people could get their hands on from wood, glass, leather, gold, silver, and even animal horns. In China during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644, penis rings were made out of jade and ivory and in Japan the first Ben-Wa Balls were made out of lead and mercury. Archeologists are always pulling up sex toys that are buried all over the world!
In 1949 Alfred Kinsey reported that 20% of women used some kind of object for sexual insertion: cucumbers, bananas, candles, and so on. Anything you use at home to enhance your lovemaking is a sex toy. Whether it’s a scarf to blindfold or restrain your lover with, an ice cube to rub on the inside of your lover’s thigh, some whipped cream on the nipples, or a spatula for a little light spanking.
The great explosion for the sex industry came in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, but most dildos were too hard and made of materials such as metal and hard plastic. By the 1980’s, sex toy technology produced new softer plastics.
Today you can get sex toys made out of realistic jelly rubber, silicone and elastomer, a hypoallergenic material most suitable for people with allergic reactions or chemical sensitivities. Most sex toys are porous so you should clean them properly with mild soap and water after each use. It is possible to transmit infections on sex toys so never share them with anyone unless they use a condom on the toy. And never use a toy anally and then vaginally without using a condom to prevent transmission of bacteria.
I believe that sex toys have therapeutic value because they can add variety to a relationship, take the pressure off performance (for the man), add an element of fantasy and fun, and result in some great orgasms. Some of my favorite sex toys of our era are the innovative Revel Body, the couples-friendly WeVibe and the orgasmic G-spot toy, Silky G.
Photo courtesy of Lourraine Chituyi