Masturbation seems like something that's been around forever. Probably because it has. Unlike guys, who've always been able to masturbate cheaply and easily (and with far less taboo, I might add), us ladies haven't had it easy. But that hasn't kept a lot of women in history from some good ol' masturbation. Long before the advent of the Rabbit, women have been diddling themselves to get off. Dildos have been around since the days of cavemen, and rumor has it even master seductress Cleopatra had a makeshift vibrator. There are even depictions of masturbation in prehistoric rock paintings. Just goes to show you that just like sex, masturbation never gets old.
However, the methodology hasn't always been the same. From solo activities to group events to homemade dildos, masturbation has been ever-evolving. As per usual, the ancient Greeks were among the most progressive, believing that masturbation was natural and a necessary sexual release. In Greek art, females were even depicted taking care of business. Here's a brief history of (female) masturbation.
Ancient Germany: Dildos
At over 30,000 years old, a dildo found in Germany might be one of the oldest sexual toys ever found. Sure, the Greeks and the French are known for being freaky, but the Germans? Who knew!
Ancient Egypt: Honey Bee vibrators
Cleopatra may have had many suitors, but that didn't stop her from wanting a little solo action. Legend has it that she filled up a gourd with bees and let them do their thing. She supposedly died from a bite from an asp, and snakes were considered makeshift vibrators as well, so maybe she had a whole zoo of vibrators. Good thing PETA wasn't around in ancient Egypt.
Ancient Greece: Masturbation Makes Babies?
In ancient Greece, people believed that both men and women had to ejaculate so that a child could be born. So women were encouraged to finger themselves to keep the race going. They may have been wrong about this basic little scientific fact, but hey at least they were open-minded!
Ancient Middle East: Group Masturbation
Ancient pagan groups in the middle east believed masturbation was a symbol of abundance. So in order to ensure a good harvest, people would masturbate together to get the fertility gods on their side. Because nothing ensures a plentiful harvest like getting off. The goal was to climax all at once, like an orgasmic symphony of sorts. Talk about awkward around the water cooler the next day.
Victorian Era: Pelvic Massage
As repressed as the Victorians were, decrying masturbation as sinful, they were totes cool with a doctor administrating "pelvic massages" to woman to relieve their "hysteria." Is anyone else sensing the absurdity here? Hysteria was seen as a psychological illness that manifested itself in the form of insomnia, nervousness, muscle spasms, and shortness of breath. To solve this make-believe problem that mysteriously affected mostly rich women, doctors would masturbate their female patients to bring them to a state of “hysterical paroxysm” otherwise known as our friend orgasm.
This is the part you've been waiting for, isn't it? Physicians found themselves with sore hands after massaging all these hysterical women. So Dr. George Taylor invented a rather scary-looking steam-powered vibrator called the "Manipulator" to aid doctors in this hard work. But it wasn't until Hamilton Beech made an electric vibrator available for consumer use in 1902 that regular gals were picking up their own vibes. Unfortunately, once the porn industry got wind of this device, it disappeared from the market, due to its sexual connotations.
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