Please Release Me
That’s what they called it in the Victorian Era. It was the made-up term by male physicians of the time to describe the symptoms of anxiety, “faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and ‘a tendency to cause trouble’,” among others. (Wikipedia) Pretty much anything afflicting a female patient could fall under the heading of “Hysteria” if needed.
And this “affliction” was relieved by “pelvic massage” until the patient experienced “hysterical paroxysm,” better known today as an orgasm. Sometimes this “pelvic massage” was manual stimulation with a doctors hands, via water massage, or with the help of some new technology. My short story “Zeppelin Dreams” is about the latter.
The first steam-powered vibrator to aid in Hysteria relief was made in 1869 by George Taylor, M. D. which was basically a table with a hole in the appropriate place. Fun moving parts came out of the hole and stimulated the patient in the most delightful way.
There is some controversy as to whether the image pictured left is a hoax created by Playboy Magazine in the 70’s or an actual early vibrator. Supposedly, this is also a design of George Taylor’s first clitoris clouter.
With all those moving parts, I’d be a bit nervous about getting too intimate with that thing.
Read more at Her Private Pleasures, quite an interesting site to say the least.
Although “Hysteria” is dripping with misogynistic overtones, the need for sexual release is real. It’s biological, as I’ve discussed in previous posts.
This article says that the physical need for release is much stronger in men because of sperm buildup, but since I’m not a man, I can’t speak to that. As a woman, I do know that we also have a biological need for release. Perhaps it’s a hormonal need, but I know that when I have regular sexual activity, my mood tends to be more balanced overall. I remember back in my late 20s, after I had become comfortable in my sexuality, I told my BF at the time that I needed sex at least 3x a week. If I didn’t get it, my mood definitely suffered. Now each wo/man is an individual and their needs differ in this, and all, matters.
Masturbation, whereas considered “evil” or at best “wrong” in some circles, is in fact quite healthy and often necessary. Unfortunately for my sexuality, I was raised Catholic. It took me the better part of my twenties to get over the dogma surrounding sexuality, especially female sexuality. But I did, and am I everso glad I did! Although masturbation can provide a needed release, it most certainly doesn’t replace human touch and intimacy, both emotional and sexual, with another person. But, in the times you don’t have a lover or perhaps your sex drive is higher than that of your lover’s, masturbation is a wonderful way to get the release you need. It also helps one develop their sexuality by allowing them to learn to let go and just feel, experience, enjoy the sensations of sexual pleasure.
Although I write steamy Steampunk and love the Victorian era as well as the aesthetic and possibilities of Steampunk, I am really glad to live in the 21st century where women’s sexuality is more open and societally accepted than at probably any other time in history. I love sex. Really, really love sex. And I’m thrilled that I can be open about my sexuality and express myself accordingly.
A delightful new movie called “Hysteria” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this year, and I cannot wait until it is released in the States. Watch the trailer below and squeal for joy.
Read more on the History of the Vibrator.
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~ by omgrey on September 28, 2011.
Posted in Romance & Relationships
Tags: author, climax, george taylor, hysteria, love, masturbation, misogyny, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, open, open marriage, orgasm, passion, postaweek2011, romance, sex, sexual release, short story, steampunk, victorian