• In the “Maintenance Phase” podcast, author Aubrey Gordon and journalist Michael Hobbes debunked the popularized story of the vibrator.
  • Gordon said history has led people to mistakenly believe that doctors invented vibrators only to give women orgasms and treat their “hysteria.”
  • In reality, vibrators were used to give men erections. They were also used to treat muscle pain, constipation, and diabetes.

The very first vibrators, created in the 1880s, were used to help men achieve erections.

In the episode “Vibrators” of the health-demystifying “Maintenance Phase” podcast, hosts Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes discussed the much-contested history of the vibrator.

Gordon said the vibrator was originally a multi-functional wellness tool, used for erectile dysfunction, constipation,


, and muscle pain.

She went on to explain how Hallie Lieberman, sex and gender historian at the Georgia Institute of Technology, refuted the well-known story of doctors using vibrators for the sole purpose of giving women orgasms, a cure for the invented condition. “hysteria.”

“This is where we learn the story of doctors using their hands for genital massage, their hands contracting, and vibrators becoming a labor-saving device,” Gordon said during the episode.

But in 2017, Lieberman said he verified the original story and found no evidence of its veracity, Gordon said.

By then, the 2001 book that popularized the story, Rachel Maines’ Orgasm Technology, had been turned into a movie, cementing the not-so-true story.

Doctors have used vibrators for a variety of conditions, including erectile dysfunction

Doctors, including vibrator creator Joseph Mortimer Granville, have used the device to treat diabetes, constipation, aches and pains, Gordon said. They were also used for men’s sexual health.

Lieberman, the researcher, found that vibrators “were used and applied to the perineum of men, to restore sexual vigor. So, not only were they not used to give pleasure to women, but they were used to give guys basically boners, ”Gordon said.

Advertisements at the time said things like “Relax, get a massage” and “A pleasant and useful way to slim down hips, slim waist, flat abdomen, shapely legs, a streamlined figure and body. physical well-being, ”said Gordon. .