Sex Ed, Sex Toys

History of Rabbit Vibrators

Ancient vibrator and modern rabbit vibrator

The history of anything and everything is fascinating. The sleek laptop, you are probably reading this on, weighs like a feather compared to the first computer, Harvard Mark1 which weighed 5 tons! There’s a higher chance you’re actually reading this on your phone and I bet neither Antonio Meucci nor Alexander Graham Bell would have ever imagined their invention of the telephone would turn into a device that could talk back ( Hello, Siri). The history of sex toys like any other thing has been shaped by technology. Technology has changed everything, from how you work and eat to how you get information. It is only natural that it has changed pleasure as well. And yes, sex toys also have a history, and a juicy one at that. It is not the 20th-century avant-garde invention we presume it to be; many before us have gotten their hands busy.

Vibrators have changed the pleasure game for vulva owners. It is only right to trace their history. I promise you, it’s worth a read.

To trace the history of Rabbit vibrators, let’s begin with the history of vibrators themselves.

69-30 BC: It’s rumored that Cleopatra first tried to create her version of a DIY vibrator by filling an empty gourd with hundreds of bees. ( We don’t recommend you try this at home, trust modern technology with this one) Historian Helen King says that there’s no evidence that this actually happened. But, one can always wonder what even started this rumor.

Cleopatra holding a wand like object

Victorian Era: Doctors were quick to diagnose Victorian-era women with hysteria. The condition was used to describe a multitude of ailments, including aggression, fainting, and mental illness in the Victorian era.  Many associations have been made between vibrators and the diagnosis of hysteria by Victorian Era doctors. It’s said that women were treated with massage, and later with vibrators for various conditions. Interesting, right?

Victorian woman being massaged by an instrument held by another woman

The 1800s—In the 1800s, the industrial revolution transformed many aspects of life including medicine. Later on, the first electric vibrator was invented by Joseph Mortimer Granville in 1883. Before this, the only similar machine that was on the market was Dr. George Taylor’s steam-powered “manipulator table massager” which was already in use in France and the US.

The 1900s—Doctors and medical professionals tried to treat diseases with vibrators but found this unsuccessful. In 1915, the American Medical Association took a stand and called the vibrator industry “a delusion.” Vibrator makers began to change their approach to advertising and started marketing them as “home appliances” for men and women of all ages.

Poster stating “ Hysterical paroxysm, A wonderful healer states here is health through magic power of fine gentle massage” along with image of man with his hands under a woman;s skirt

Ads ran in popular magazines, Christian publications, and the New York Times, making bold claims that vibrators could cure everything from wrinkles to malaria ( Don’t we all wish these orgasm inducers could keep us wrinkle-free and healthy). At the time, masturbation was viewed as shameful or obscene, so this meant that vibrators were not advertised to be associated with sex. Under the 1873 Comstock Act (10,11) “obscene” articles were illegal in the US. To avoid legal troubles, vibrator manufacturers adopted the strategy used by contraceptive companies: they emphasized non-sexual uses and used subtle playful language and imagery to hint at the sexual uses of their products. You gotta do what you got to do.

The 1920s—1950s: In 1954 Alfred Kinsey first published his groundbreaking research on female sexuality. This included results stating that 62% of women surveyed had masturbated, although vibrators weren’t mentioned in his writeup. Women have always known how to show themselves a little love.

Cosmopolitan magazine advert for self massager

1956—The Sears department store produced its own vibrator, which was advertised to give you that “great-to-be-alive feeling.” You know they were not lying when they described orgasms like that.

1970— With the availability of birth control and increasing acceptance of pre-marital sex, attitudes towards masturbation saw a positive change. Sex educator and artist Betty Dodson began teaching women-only masturbation workshops in New York City in the late 1960s In 1974, an article in Ms. Magazine by sex educator Betty Dodson proposed that women masturbate as a way of regaining their own sexual self-knowledge long denied by society. From the mid-1970s Dodson began recommending the Hitachi Magic Wand, helping to make it one of the most popular and well-known vibrators of all time.

Different types of vibrators

The 1980s—In the 1980s, masturbation finally went mainstream. The infamous Rabbit vibrator was created in 1983 by the company Vibratex. The company was the first to bring internal and external components to the US. They were brightly colored and made in animal shapes, in order to get around obscenity laws in Japan. The Beaver, the Kangaroo, and the Turtle were other models that all had internal, penis-like components along with different ticklers for external stimulation.

1984: This year is monumental in the history of female pleasure. After all, it was the year of the rabbit.

The designers at Vibratex had been working on a new vibrator that featured revolutionary rotating pearls in the shaft for added stimulation. They settled on a rabbit as the animal for a toy, since the rabbit is a lucky charm in Japan, and in honor of Martin, who was born in the year of the rabbit on the Chinese calendar.

1997- The popular sex toy store brand Babeland opened its New York City location store and began offering the next model of the toy, the Rabbit Habit, which had its battery pack and controls in the base of the toy, rather than a separate attachment.

1998 —The Rabbit vibrator’s rise to fame can be credited to its guest appearance on “Sex and the City” where Charlotte, the most sexually conservative among her friends becomes a notorious fan of a Rabbit vibrator. Sex and the City normalized exploring pleasure no matter your sexual history or beliefs. The rabbit could stimulate both the clit and penetrate simultaneously which separates it from a wand vibrator or a bullet vibrator. Hello, intense orgasm.

1999– We know sex sells. The Internet and its gift of online shopping significantly helped boost sex toy sales. When Ann Summers went online in 1999, the store sold one million Rabbits in 12 months, and annual sales in the UK continue to outstrip sales of domestic products of washing machines and tumble dryers combined. Inspired by its success, other manufacturers have designed models that pay closer attention to the female anatomy than the male. Everyone wants a piece of the pie.

The 2000s – The popularity of rabbit vibrators gained celebrity apporal with Eva Longoria admitting gifting them to her friends in a 2005 interview. In 2006, Oprah Magazine awarded them the title of “Rolls Royce of sex toys.” Legendary, if you ask me. One special thing about rabbit vibrators has been their constant updates and evolution with new features or styles being added. In 2008, chic sex toy company Jimmyjane added the “Iconic Rabbit” to its lineup of sleek sex toys, though they kept the original Vibratex design, the toy was all in white. By this time, women were aware of what vibrators had to offer. Hence, it is not too surprising that a US academic survey conducted in 20009 found that just over 50% of women had used a vibrator.

Rabbit vibrators

The 2010s– The 2010s saw the rabbit get better than ever. Now, rabbits come at beginner, intermediate, and pro levels. They are more environmentally friendly as well. In 2015, CalExotics revamped the packaging of the Jack Rabbit so users can easily identify the different models. The internet has made it easier for people to buy vibrators without even leaving their homes. There’s even talk about vibrators on daytime TV: on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Laura Berman recommended that mothers give their teenage daughters vibrators so they can learn about sexual pleasure. However, there is continued resistance to the usage of sex toys. In 1998 Alabama legislators passed a law forbidding the sale of any device “designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs,” the penalty was a $10,000 fine and one year in jail. At least two women have been arrested. The Texas anti-vibrator law from 1973 is still in effect, although in 2008 one judge declared it “unconstitutional and unenforceable.” Texas continues to regulate the usage of sex toys. Texas bans the possession of or promoting the use of more than six dildos.

Rabbit vibrators today are more functional and offer greater value for money because of their increased longevity.

Men have historically tried to define and control female pleasure ( Props to the patriarchy !)  but when taking a peek at history women have found ways around it. Sex toys like vibrators have ignited a wave of liberation and in a way empowerment. Women now can charge for their pleasure. Rabbit vibrators have time and again found heightened popularity. It sure does make one wonder, there has got to be something extremely promising about it. The continuous evolution also points out that the sex toy market listens to what works for you and what could be better. Online shopping for sex toys has only made it easier to try celeb and SATC-approved toys. For those curious, you should try the Rabbit Vibrators Manzuri offers. We offer legal, body-safe sex toys delivered discreetly to your doorstep. Go ahead and give your body some love!

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