Hysteria: Origins of vibrating aids...

Oct 07, 2022 12:04 pm


Happy October!

First of all, thank you all who responded to my previous email with the audiobook ARC requests. Those codes flew away in 5 seconds... I am sorry if I haven't replied to all of you, but I have your emails, and I will keep you in mind when my next book comes out if I get more codes!

I am working on book 5 in The Shadows series and I am excited to tell you that the book is coming along well. I am having fun torturing my characters as I always do.

In my free time from writing, I watch TV shows and movies, read books, and scroll through social media, as we all are known to do... And usually, those shows, movies, books, and even random social media posts give me book ideas.

This time, there was this bit of information that just kept jumping out at me, so to speak.


It stated that in the Victorian era doctors prescribed "Pelvic massage" to female patients to cure hysteria. And that because of high demand, the doctors were so tired and their hands were shaking that they started using and prescribing female patients vibrating aids.

This was a hilarious bit of information! I don't write Victorian romances (yet), but understandably it caught my attention. For one thing, it sounds funny and gives me many story ideas. But for another thing... it sounds ridiculous and completely false!

I mean, as a historical romance author, I immediately call bull**** when people talk about the complete cluelessness of Victorian people when it comes to sex. Yes, they were puritans (for the most part). But to be completely clueless about female pleasure AND at the same time letting doctors perform "pelvic massage?" Common!

But as a serious historical romance author, I could not dismiss this idea out of hand. I needed to find out whether there is any merit to this information. Because if there was any merit... hello fun book, right?

Anyway, I went down the rabbit hole of articles, and here's the gist of it...

First of all, the idea that hysteria was a female affliction has very misogynistic roots. I won't bore you with details, but first, Hippocrates thought it was the illness of a wandering womb (no comment on that one.) Then doctors started thinking that it was because females could not handle complex intelligent thoughts (I mean, wow.)

However, in the 18th century they already agreed that this illness affected both male and female patients. Different methods were used to try and treat hysteria, like bloodletting, bed rest, massage with oils (mostly head and neck massage, no evidence of pelvic one), and animal magnetism.

Now, animal magnetism is something Doctor Anton Mesmer used to treat vapors and the spleen. He used electrically charged metal rods to "transfer" energy to his patients. And this is probably the closest description to vibrating aids I've seen, except he wasn't massaging anyone... there.

Even so, because there was touching involved and he provided one on one sessions, his method was deemed too sexual, and sooner or later he was discredited.

Unfortunately, I haven't found any proof that this was the origin of vibrators. Although in the late 19th century doctors would use vibrating aids to massage head and neck, and I presume, women were innovative enough to use those aids for their own benefit.

So... vibrating aids in the late 19th century? Completely possible. Were they prescribed to women who had hysteria? Very unlikely. Can that be used as a hilarious plot point? Tell me if there are books that do this!

If you want more info, you're free to google around to find proof or disproof of these claims. Of all the articles I've read, this one proved the most informative, and entertaining: Hysteria. And this one: The origin of the myth. But if you're curious, you can always google for yourself, and we can debate the merits of these claims.

Anyway.... now that we got that out of the way... BOOKS!

Have you pre-ordered Taming His Wicked Duchess?


Pre-Order now!

As usual I have some recommendations from my friends.

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