Arts and Culture

Vibrators: A pop-culture history of this buzzed-about device

Like gay marriage, marijuana use and tattoos, public perception of female sex toys is not what it used to be. While male sex toys still weigh heavy on the shame scale, a female pleasure device is mostly seen as a cute novelty. Encountering one while snooping is comparable to finding a rutabaga in the fridge or a Kid 'n Play record on the shelf: more "Oh, that's interesting" than "You filthy slut."

In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, which opens tomorrow at the Bug, takes us back to a time before female sexuality was acknowledged, when the buzzing phallus was used to treat women for "hysteria" -- and once its alternative uses were made known, was vilified as an unmentionable weapon of evil, a disgusting appliance of hell-bound harlots.

In honor of this theatrical monument to the social evolution of female sexuality, we are proud to present this brief pop-culture history of the vibrator:

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Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse