Hush-Hush take a look at the history of sex toys.

Before the onset of the Internet, the task of buying sex toys was fraught with stress, anxiety and embarrassment.

In the UK, the only places you could buy a sex toy was either via an advertisement in the back of the daily tabloid newspaper, or via a discreet, and ultimately nerve wracking, visit to the local sex shop.

Unfortunately, sex shops were obliged to black out their windows, because people in the UK didn’t have sex, evidently, and anything that purported to show anything resembling even a pair of frilly knickers was taboo.

I seem to remember discreet ‘body massagers’ being advertised, quite legitimately in women’s magazines, although I suspect everyone knew exactly what they could be used for. The UK must have an epidemic of sore shoulders, judging by the amount of these that were sold!

The arrival of the Internet heralded a new era in not only the huge rise in pornography, but the availability of sex toys. Although in the early days, banks were too scared to offer a payment facility for such products, these days sex shops are prevalent online.

This got us to wondering where sex toys first originated. Here’s what we think.

A brief history of sex toys

You would have to go back to the Paleolithic era, where paleontologists have discovered the first known dildo. Polished to a high gloss and made of siltstone, nobodys can agree on whether its primary purpose was forpersonal pleasure or religious ritual. However, dildos made of bone or carved stone were discovered among artifacts like combs and sewing needles.

History of sex toys – Ancient sex toy
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Ancient sex toy. Image credit:

Leave it to the Greeks and Romans to take the next leap forward. We now know that Romans and Greeks of both sexes used dildos for pleasure. In Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” women discuss using and sharing dildos while withholding sex from their partners in an effort to stop the war.

Men going off to war gave their wives “olisbos” to prevent “hysteria,” which was then thought to be caused by lack of sperm. That’s a good excuse if ever I heard one.

Romans were thought to have invented double dildos, primarily for use in ceremony. To add a more natural feel and texture, it is thought the Greeks are responsible for the use of animal intestine or leather to cover a carved penis.

Some people even say that it was Cleopatra who invented the first  vibrator. Rather than being carved from wood or rock, this one was a gourd hollowed out and filled with angry bees. ANGRY BEES!!

Whatever you think of that story, it’s more likely that Cleopatra used lacquered wood or stone dildos as the other ladies of that time. Julius Caesar i son record for giving Cleopatra an elaborately carved, gold inlaid penis “sculpture.”

History of sex toys – Ancient Chinese Sex Aides
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Ancient Chinese Sex Aides

Other great innovators in female masturbation were the Chinese. In the distant past, wealthy Chinese men quite often had too many wives for them to service regularly.

Therefore, what better way to prevent them from resorting to lesbianism (we kid you not!) by creating penis substitutes that would keep their wives faithful. Ancient Chinese dildos have been discovered that were cast of bronze and other metals.

Some were hollow and allowed liquid to be released at the appropriate time.

Moving on, in the story “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” dildos are discussed as intricately carved and inlaid ivory, or being made from gold or silver.

The use of dildos remained more or less the same for a long portion of history. Dildos of the Renaissance era were ornate, inspired and appreciated for their artistic merit.

The word dildo comes from the Italian “diletto,”meaning “delight.”

Even as Christianity came around, substitute penises were still an active industry. They still, after all, had to deal with the menace of “feminine hysteria.”

10 Sex Toys With Ridiculously Ancient Origins

Thankfully, it’s a little easier to get your hands on the latest sex toys and vibrators these days. But knowing who to trust when purchasing adult products online is a big concern to many customers.

Hush-Hush has been online since 1998, in the early days of the Internet. Offering reviews of the best sex shops to buy sex toys and a whole range of adult products, gives independent reviews and rate each sex shop for price, quality and, above all else, reliability.

View the best online sex shops to buy your sex toys here.