Back in the day, sex toys weren’t as “sexy” as they are now. In fact, archeologists recently uncovered a bunch of phallic-inspired items that were fashioned out of things like rock, chalk and (brace yourself) camel dung. Apparently, mankind has been desperate for a decent nut for much longer than we all realized.
The oldest known “marital aid” dates back to more than 28,000 years ago according to secular researchers. It measures about 7.5 inches in length, is a little over 1 inch in diameter, and is made from fragments of flintstone (go figure). Discovered in Germany, the peculiar phallus is but one of many dildo-like objects found buried in the ground. Among the heap of hedonistic sculptures include items made from wood, leather, tar and even dried fecal matter.
And while you might assume that these discoveries are rare, it turns out that they’re not, nor are they limited to Germanic territories. Enough of these old-fashioned fuck sticks have been uncovered that there’s now a museum to display them all. The Wellcome Collection in London features a vast array of sexual artifacts as part of their controversial yet celebratory “Institute of Sexology” exhibition.
But why has mankind been so fascinated by dicks for so long? Is this something that truly deserves its own exhibit in a public museum? Well, since it’s a major part of human history (and kind of hilarious too), curators believe it should be shared to promote cultural understanding and incite conversation among diverse groups of people. Whatever. It’s just a bunch of stone cocks, right? Wrong.
Dicks and Devils
Based on what we can tell so far, men and women have been using homemade phallic objects for thousands of years and for a wide variety of fascinating reasons, such as:
1. For personal sexual gratification (of course)
2. To alleviate various medical conditions
3. As a symbol of strength and virility
4. As a symbol of wealth and dominance
5. For a fertility boost
6. To ward off evil spirits (I swear to God)
I don’t know about you, but a rock-hard cock always makes me feel safer. However, if I find out that my dildo has supernatural abilities, I may never leave the house again. Fortunately, those wives’ tales and superstitions have been replaced by solid evidence and medical research.
Still, it’s difficult for archeologists to pinpoint the intended purposes of every synthetic dick they dig up. Still, the relative size of each item is taken into careful consideration. According to researchers, it’s commonly accepted that the larger phalluses were used for sexual pleasure while the smaller ones were most likely used for ceremonial or social reasons.
On the contrary, it seems as though the lines between pomp and pleasure were blurred at some point. In ancient pagan practices, a woman’s orgasm was sent up to the gods of fertility as an offering during occult ceremonies – begging the question as to whether a small phallus could do the trick. Alternatively, other cultures have harnessed the power of the penis in more esoteric ways.
In particular, statues of various well-hung deities have been “erected” all over the world and placed in gardens or around fields to help crops grow. In Greek mythology, for example, the god Priapus is always depicted as having a huge dong and permanent chubby, indicating eternal masculinity and power. Remnants of his likeness have been found virtually everywhere, not just in Greece and not just around crops.
Ironically, this ancient “god’s” influence has permeated modern society. His name is where we get the word for the medical condition priapism – a prolonged and often painful erection that seems like it will never go away. So, does Priapus bring good luck or bad luck? The world may never know. What we can all agree on is that dicks, no matter what they’re made out of, will always be welcome in our society (hopefully).
So Many Dildos, So Little Time
Curators now have way too many dicks in their hands and aren’t sure what to do with them all. Phallic symbols and inspired objects have been unearthed all over the planet at this point, an only a small percentage of them have made it into the annuls of the Wellcome Collection.
Below are the 5 most curious finds thus far:
1 Fascinum, or phallic charms, were discovered in fragments around the ruins of Pompeii.
2 Sculptures of various sex organs used by ancient Anatolians were found in Turkey dating back to the 6th century BC. Apparently, locals thought they had special powers (besides making them cum).
3 Phallic-inspired objects called “olisbos” were a big part of the Grecian economy. Made by skilled artisans, these high-quality dildos were sold to women for sexual gratification while their husbands were away on military campaigns.
4 Renaissance Italy rendered marital aids made from various types of leather. Researchers believe olive oil was used as lube. Yummy.
5 Dick-shaped objects measuring about 4 inches in length and made out of chalk were discovered during excavations at the Neolithic site, Membury Rings, in Dorset.
Research also shows that high-class members of various ancient societies were extremely proud of their cock collections (who wouldn’t be?). Some would even show off their toys to visitors who would then fawn over the high-dollar silver, gold and/or ivory sculptures. However, those items were said to be extremely difficult to use and thus, their popularity eventually waned as people began spending their hard-earned money on less important things.
The Future of Phalluses
Like priapism, there’s some serious staying power when it comes to rock-hard cocks. While their popularity as a status symbol or crop protector may have disappeared over time, mankind has not forgotten the value. After a while, we begin to see a re-emergence of dildos – this time marketed as medical devices and martial aids.
The first modern-day dildo didn’t arrive on the scene until the 1500s, a few hundred years after the common misconception about a woman’s lack of libido was finally debunked. Fortunately, Victorian era doctors gave new legitimacy to female orgasm when they started prescribing dildos for various health problems. Seriously, women were given doctors’ orders to masturbate with a sex toy to cure things like anxiety, depression and even hysteria. It must have been an interesting time to be a pharmacist.
By the 18th century, our selection of sex toys had become pretty impressive. In France, the first vibrator was invented. Dubbed “the Tremoussoir,” it was handheld and generated its power through a wind-up gear on the side. Designed by physicians, the Tremoussoir eventually became the standard by which all subsequent vibes were designed.
For example, an American physician named George Taylor created a steam-powered version of the Tremoussoir in 1869. He called it “the Manipulator” and marketed it towards bored housewives who were sexually frustrated. Meanwhile, an electromechanical vibrator was later developed by Dr. Joseph Granville in 1880. I wonder if those boys realized that they would go down in history as the innovators of a new type of “internal medicine.”
Either way, the first flexible dildo wasn’t invented until around 1850. However, the wonderful world of perverts didn’t catch wind about it until much later. Regardless, rubber dongs were being featured in movies and theatrical productions around the world by the 1930s and 1940s. Inexpensive self-driven models started getting introduced, include one dildo that operated like an egg beater for those who didn’t yet have electricity. Fast-forward a decade or two and we see water-powered dildos that attach directly to the kitchen sink.
These days, we have dildos and vibrators in every shape and size, many of which derive their power from rechargeable batteries that utilize USB ports and support high-tech features such as Bluetooth, automatic driveshafts, and pre-programmed settings. In other words, we’ve come a long way since the days of camel dung dildos and golden phallic bragging rights.
Where Do We Go from Here?
At the turn of the century, doctors hated the idea that consumers could purchase a dildo without a prescription. Modern-day sex toy manufacturers flew in the face of medicine by offering men and women more convenient and less sterile options. Thus, the vibrator market was (and still is in many ways) split into separate product lines. However, some of the more innovative sex toy makers are working on combining the two.
Understanding the value and importance of phalluses requires an open mind and open eyes. While many may believe sex toys to be sinful, it’s obviously that they serve a real purpose in society. To get a better sense of the ever-evolving sexual identity of mankind, one need only visit the Wellcome Collection’s provocative exhibit, which includes rare archival material such as:
* Medical artifacts
The collection combines the diversity of data, art, talisman and testimony to challenge preconceived notions about human sexuality. By respectfully highlighting the profound effects that sex toys have had on humanity, curators fro