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Good Vibrations!

SHE WHO RULES THE VA-JA-JA RULES THE WORLD

 No matter where you stand on feminist issues, we can all agree that men have, historically controlled decisions for women of all colors and ethnicities. When we are born, we have our father’s name and when we get married, we take our husband’s names. At no point are we identified by our female lineage; we always belong to a man. And so goes our socialization. Our legislators right now are voting on bills that affect our bodies, our reproduction and ultimately our health; many times with not one woman at the table or in the lobbying firm to help draft the bill.

Throughout the 1920’s women who were too happy, too sad, too opinionated and too “defiant” were diagnosed by men as having “hysteria”: a catch-all phrase such as “nervous breakdown” that simply described behaviors for which there were no real description. The “cure” for this “hysteria” (ok with the quotes already!), doctors of the time determined, was a good old fashioned orgasm. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that orgasms can be the answer to many things; hysteria is arguably not one of them – in my opinion. However, the deal of the day was getting stimulated to the point of climax by the doctor; some suffering extraordinary conditions that required multiple treatments.

This hysteria reached epidemic levels and doctors’ offices were flooded with new and recurring cases. It became such an epidemic, that doctor’s had to create a tool to relieve the physical wrist and arm stress that they experienced by having to manually manipulate so many vaginas.

And so was born the vibrator. Thanks Dr. Granville.

 Today, Sears (Roebuck) is closing their doors. Many believe that the store is becoming obsolete – that most of what they sell can be found at many other retail chains. But in the Roaring 20’s you could buy a vibrator straight out of the Sears catalog – women’s sexual health was a normal part of our overall general health. When the 20’s ended, however, the subject of sexuality for women in general and self-pleasure in particular became taboo subjects that proper women did not discuss.

Being the social worker that I am, I have always believed that a great part of our society’s issues with women from our female image to our level of sexual oppression, has everything to do with how we are viewed sexually – and that is more often as objects of sexual pleasure for men. However, learning that women were open and accepting of the need for sexual pleasure whether it was from a partner or at their own hands – pun intended – made me smile at the thought that our current women’s revolution is nothing new.

A 2009 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that 52.5 percent of women use a vibrator and 80 percent of those use it with a partner. And like the catalogs of Sears Roebuck, sex toys are as easy to find as going online to your favorite store or walking into Walgreens.

Now arguably, this whole sexual pleasure began as way for men to control undesirable female behavior, but it began a century long mecca to women being able to not only discuss, but take control of and embrace our sexual desires with the understanding that not only is it medically important to our overall health, but that its more than okay to enjoy sexual pleasure. Vibrators and self-pleasure are important to address serious issues such as a partner’s erectile dysfunction, intercourse after surgery or radiation and post-menopausal hormonal changes. It’s also useful for feeling good all by yourself and not having to rely on your partner’s mood or sexual appetite. After all, it’s your Spot and its okay for you to hit it!

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