Since the 19th century, women have used technology as a way to experience sexual pleasure. Mechanical, hydraulics, steam, and electricity have all powered the “personal massagers” that appeared in the appliance section of department stores and catalogs. Changes in technology create changes in vibrator materials, power-sources and design; vibrators reflect an era’s technology as well as its pop-culture. This is as true today as the past; current vibrators reflect the digital age. Although the appliances photographed are now antiques, they were once an example of that era’s technology.
This project would not have been possible without the generous cooperation of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.