The Technology of Orgasm

The Technology of Orgasm : "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction

3.97 (727 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From the time of Hippocrates until the 1920s, massaging female patients to orgasm was a staple of medical practice among Western physicians in the treatment of "hysteria," an ailment once considered both common and chronic in women. Doctors loathed this time-consuming procedure and for centuries relied on midwives. Later, they substituted the efficiency of mechanical devices, including the electric vibrator, invented in the 1880s. In The Technology of Orgasm, Rachel Maines offers readers a stimulating, surprising, and often humorous account of hysteria and its treatment throughout the ages, focusing on the development, use, and fall into disrepute of the vibrator as a legitimate medical device.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 11mm | 249g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 26 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0801866464
  • 9780801866463
  • 212,596

Table of contents

Contents:

Preface
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1 THE JOB NOBODY WANTED
The Androcentric Model of Sexuality
Hysteria as a Disease Paradigm
The Evolution of the Technology
Chapter 2 FEMALE SEXUALITY AS HYSTERICAL PATHOLOGY
Hysteria in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Hysteria in Renaissance Medicine
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
The Freudian Revolution and Its Aftermath
Chapter 3 "MY GOD, WHAT DOES SHE WANT?"
Physicians and the Female Orgasm
Masturbation
"Frigidity" and Anorgasmia
Female Orgasm in the Post-Freudian World
What Ought to Be, and What We'd Like to Believe
Chapter 4 "INVITING THE JUICES DOWNWARD"
Hydropathy and Hydrotherapy
Electrotherapeutics
Mechanical Massagers and Vibrators
Instrumental Prestige in the Vibratory Operating Room
Consumer Purchase of Vibrators after 1900
Chapter 5 REVISING THE ANDROCENTRIC MODEL
Orgasmic Treatment in the Practice of Western Medicine
The Androcentric Model in Heterosexual Relationships
The Vibrator as Technology and Totem

Notes
Notes on Sources
Index
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Review quote

A titillating and often hilarious account of the rise and fall (as it were) of the vibrator as a medical tool for the treatment of hysteria... A book that can delight as well as enlighten. * Journal of the American Medical Association * Exhaustively researched... decidedly offbeat. -- Natalie Angier * New York Times * Feminist scholarship exactly as it should be: a work that not only illuminates an astonishing bit of herstory, but does so with a neat balance of anger, wit and humor... A wonderful book. -- Carol Lynn Mithers * L.A. Weekly * Here's a provocative history with a chip on its shoulder and a buzz under its skirt... Exhumes startling facts from the underground sexual history of the early twentieth century. -- Will Blythe * Mirabella * Maines has produced an exhaustive and deliciously savage history of the vibrator-as-sex-aid... This fascinating and exquisitely referenced true story reads like twisted science fiction. * Library Journal * Full of wonderful descriptions of the 'job nobody wanted,' including photographs of early vibrators and vaginal electrodes. -- Jeanette Winterson * Times (London) * Thorough, original, and surprising. -- Sarah Boxer * New York Times Book Review * Rachel Maines offers readers a stimulating, surprising, and often humorous account of hysteria and its treatment throughout the ages. * Birdbooker Report *
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About Rachel P. Maines

Rachel P. Maines is an independent scholar and a technical processing assistant at Cornell University's Hotel School Library. She is also the author of numerous articles in scholarly and popular publications.
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Rating details

727 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 35% (251)
4 38% (275)
3 21% (151)
2 5% (35)
1 2% (15)
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