100 Years of Sex Toys by Glamour

The evolution of sex toys and particularly female sex toys has been an adventurous, fortuitous and eventful journey. Like many other electronic gadgets, we have witnessed a shift from bulky machines to the sleek, pocket-sized, and highly optimized sex toys we see today.

Since the early 20th century, women have used devices to induce pleasure for various reasons. In those early days, it wasn’t as intentional as it is now. Take the eventful journey that led us from the big devices of yesteryears to the small, highly optimized ones women enjoy today.

Polar Cub Electric Vibrator (the 1920s)

During those early decades of the 20th century, vibrators were used as a medical tool meant to induce orgasms in women to treat female hysteria.

The Polar Cub Electric Vibrator was actually marketed as a beauty aid. Needless to say, it was a bulky piece of equipment that was effective at what it was meant to do.
At this juncture, most of the electronic devices were metallic and so was this vibrator.

Magnetic Massage (the 1930s)

The thirties are mostly remembered for the Great Depression because it made life extremely difficult. One of the few positives about it was the development of the Magnetic Massage.

This female sex toy was made of plastic. It symbolized a shift in attitude from using metal to make all electronic devices to the use of plastic. Plastic is better suited to a sex toy because it is lighter, it acts as an insulator, and it isn’t too cold when she first touches it in the morning.

This sex toy went for $2.95 at the time (quite expensive then and now after adjusting for inflation).

Oster Stim-U-Lax (the 1940s)

This device was intended to be used by barbers to offer scalp massages. It is fair to say women got a bit inventive with it for rather naughty reasons.

The handheld tool used a powerful motor to give massages. The caveat was that the user had to be skillful with their hands to use it. You can imagine the lengths to which the first ladies to use it to amuse themselves had to go to.

Wahl Hand-E Vibrator (the 1950s)

The fifties ushered in a period of progress, better standards of living, and generally happier populace considering how the preceding few decades had turned out. For women, it was also a period that introduced a more optimized vibrator.

The Wahl Hand-E Vibrator was quieter and faster than its predecessors. It also had a couple of “vibratodes” custom made for different erogenous parts of the body namely: the face, thighs, neck, and the nether regions.

As much as it was optimized for a pleasurable experience, the outstanding feature of the device was its ability to work its magic QUIETLY. Up until then, the gadgets were very cranky and loud.

Vibra Slim (the 1960s)

The Vibra Slim wasn’t a handheld gadget per se. It was a special cushion fitted with a vibrating mechanism that women could straddle or sit on to receive sensual vibrations.

Niagara Hand Unit (the 1960s)

It was the most advanced female sex toy of its time. It was a device that was designed to be used both externally for clitoral orgasms and internally for vaginal orgasms. It was fitted with a dial to control the speed of the motor and hence the intensity of vibrations.

Hitachi Magic Wand (1970s)

The Hitachi Magic Wand was the most refined vibrator around the time when it was released. It was famously referred to as the “Cadillac of Vibrators”. It was light and its vibrations were soft but highly effective. There was an authentic bit of class about its appearance as well.

Personal Vibrator

The personal Vibrator was among the first cordless vibrators in the market. The patent for a cordless vibrator was filed in 1968. It was the first vibrator to be marketed as a sex toy.

It broke away from the wired vibrators that had to be plugged in. It afforded women more freedom and mobility and was lighter. It helped introduce the world to the new era of highly optimized female sex toys women enjoy today.

Rabbit Habit Deluxe (the 1980s)

The Rabbit Pearl was a pioneer because it was the first female sex toy that allowed women to stimulate both the vagina and the clitoris simultaneously. The latter was achieved using the adorable bunny ears (Fun fact: Japan doesn’t allow sex toys to be marketed as such necessitating the use of animal figures).

The Rabbit made a cameo in an episode of Sex and The City in 1998. Its sales skyrocketed after that so dramatically, it became a bestseller.

Magnum Silicone Dildo (the 1990s)

The Magnum was the first sex toy to use Silicone. This move was revolutionary because silicone is renowned for its flexibility. It also feels much like the human skin.

The dildo was meant for anal and vaginal use because it had a special suction mechanism that allowed the user to plant it onto a smooth surface like a wall or the floor.

The JimmyJane Form 6 Vibe (the 2000s)

The most significant change with the Jimmyjane was its waterproof capability. This meant that it could be enjoyed while having a soothing bath or in the shower.

The Njoy Pure Wand Stainless Steel Dildo

Even though it was made of metal, it was unlike the crude devices of the twenties and thirties because it was so smooth. Its frigid nature enabled women to have more intense ejaculatory, vaginal orgasms.

Womanizer, Crave Vesper, and OhmiBod Club Vibe (the 2010s)

Currently, a lot of thought goes into the aesthetics of the sex toys. They have ended up being sleeker, sexier, and more highly optimized devices capable of giving a wide range of pleasurable experiences.

The rising popularity of smartphones also made it possible to have app-controlled toys that allowed couples to have long-distance sex. Welcome to the age of the teledildonics.


Female sex toys have come a long way. We can only sit back and live through the current age of advanced teledildonics and hope that the future will offer more interesting toys than we have right now. It’s only going to get better.

Venus O’Hara

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