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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(4 star)show all reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2002
for centuries, troubled -- or troubling -- women were diagnosed with "hysteria." the classic treatment for this vague malady was inducement of the "hysteric paroxysm" -- known to us contemporary types as the orgasm. according to rachel maines's wryly hilarious history, the first mechanical vibrators were labor-saving devices for doctors tired of inducing orgasm in their patients manually. who knew? this book is clearly her dissertation & primarily intended for academics, but i found it mind-blowing & frequently quite amusing. i frequently recommend it to friends & colleagues looking for a quick, smart, engaging read.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2014
I had no idea that the vibrator came out of such a history! In this exhaustively researched, superbly organized, and succinct volume, you too can learn about how this tool came to be, and so much more.

For centuries, the treatment for hysteria by physicians subscribed to the idea that "she just needs to get laid..." which isn't entirely wrong, but they went about prescribing a totally androcentric solution. It sheds light on how the attitudes towards women's bodies became attitudes towards women as a group, and how those are then institutionalized in medicine.

This book is really good, and sure to be enjoyed by fellow feminists, sex nerds, and historians. If your interest is particularly in the history of medicine, you have to go read Sander Gilman. I have noticed that several of his books are getting reprinted, which means you can continue exploration with Sexuality: An Illustrated History.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 1999
For her pains (the book took 20 years to research and write), according to Wired magazine, the author was apparently promptly sacked from the faculty of Clarkson U on publication. :( A great pity and another blow for academic freedom on subjects around sexuality.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2010
What an interesting book! It is written in kind of an academic tone and thus it may not be to everyone's liking but I liked it. This was the first book to my knowledge to uncover the interesting history of the vibrator and how midwives and doctors used to use electric virbators to treat so-called hysteria among women.

I also like Sex for One by Betty Dodson which is about the social side of masturbation and women's sexuality. And of course Babeland's Sex Toys 101 which teaches about all the different sex toys (in full color) and Because It Feels Good which teaches how to use them (but doesn't have them in full color).

Great book. I highly recommend The Technology of Orgasm. I think there is even a movie version of this out now but cannot think of the name of it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2008
okay so as a lay person this was a bit of a tough read, however it was worth it. It's not just the history of the vibrator but on how we as a culture have evolved our views on sex, female sexuality and masterbation. Eye opening, it made me examine so of the views I hold and ask why, and thats always good in a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2014
I enjoyed this book. Although it read somewhat like an academic paper, author Rachel P. Maines did write with some lightness. A lot of the discussion in the book was about the androcentricity of sex and hence the need for the devices described in the book. The only shortcoming of the book was the lack of discussion of the evolutionary aspect of female orgasm. Maines explains this by saying that she is a historian doesn’t want to speculate on this subject however I feel that at least a short discussion is warranted for context.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2008
Unbelievable history of the vibrator. Who knew??? It is fascinating and well written. For men and women both. I believe its been made into a documentary and is playing currently at Philadelphia Film Festival. Have fun with this one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2014
Years ago when I first read this book I had to check and recheck whether it was for real or not. It just seemed like a clever little hoax. And then they made a movie about it. How many people knew this orgasm-by-doctor practice once existed. It is actually a part of history. This book documents the practice along with photos of the equipment/machinery, more commonly known now as the vibrator.
Of course I went along to see the movie, which is aptly titled Hysteria, named after the disease they believed women were suffering from when they were admitted to a sanatorium or doctor's room.
Great movie by the way. A real crack up.
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on February 10, 2015
In my generation we didn't know or talk about these things. In reading this I see many of the misconceptions and mistakes I've made or made in my marriage. It would have been soooo helpful to have had this when I was 17.
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8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2001
This is extremely interesting read, often quite hillarious and hard to beleive (or maybe not - not the first and not the last time that medical profession overlooks the obvious and displays extreme ignorance on human, especially female, body). However, I didn't like author's attitude that a woman cannot have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation. This may, unfortunately, be true for some women, but my own experience tells me that this is not entirely true, and that there are many ways to achieve orgasms, and none of them should be considered inferior to other ways.
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