The adult entertainment industry is dynamic and multifaceted. Included in that market diversity is the pleasure products and sex toys segment. Sex toys, now more than ever, are keystones in cultural conversations surrounding sexual wellness, pornography, and sex in general. But how did we get here? Like the history of pornography and the internet, the history of sex toys is one that is not only interesting but still impacts the present-day pleasure product retail market. In this blog post, Adult Site Broker will take you on a quick journey through the history of sex toys and why it matters today. We are particularly proud of this blog post because Adult Site Broker has dealt with a variety of adult retailers, including sex toy ecommerce shops and dropshipping.
The history of sex toys dates back thousands of years, with evidence of their existence found in ancient civilizations. Ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans were well-known to use various objects for sexual pleasure. For example, the ancient Egyptians crafted dildos from stone, wood, and other materials that were readily available. These early sex toys were often designed to resemble the phallus (penis), symbolizing fertility and sexual virility.
In ancient Greece, the use of dildos and other sex toys was common, and they were often made from leather, wood, or even bread dough. These particular toys were depicted in artwork and were believed to be used by both men and women for sexual pleasure. During the Middle Ages, sex toys became less prevalent as the influence of the Roman Catholic Church grew stronger.
The Church considered sexual pleasure outside of certain marital arrangements, even sex with a spouse for pleasure, to be sinful. Priests openly discouraged any form of sexual activity that did not serve the purpose of procreation and the growth of a family. As a result, the use of sex toys was largely condemned, and their production and distribution were limited. By the early 18th century, attitudes toward sex and sexuality began to shift. The Enlightenment brought a much more libertine approach to sexual pleasure due to a greater focus on the individual. This newfound openness led to a resurgence in the use of sex toys. During the industrial revolution in the 19th century, sex toys were able to be produced on a much larger scale than before. This development led to the growth of the so-called “medical devices” market. Victorian England, for instance, saw a growing discreet market related to this. Sex toys were prescribed by physicians at the time to treat “female hysteria.” Some of these early vibrators were mechanical but often powered by steam or a hand-cranking function. Electricity eventually developed products more.
The early 20th century saw further developments in sex toy technology, like electric vibrators, which became popular, high-dollar household items. Early electric vibrators were advertised as massagers and devices that relieved a variety of ailments, like fatigue and anxiety. This type of marketing was emblematic of old snake-oil salesmanship, but it was functional for the catharsis associated with orgasms and sexual pleasure. Despite this “covert” marketing, it was an open secret that people were using “personal massagers” for much more than medical treatments.
In the United States particularly, the development of sex toys and pleasure products persisted despite laws and socio-cultural characteristics that ruled certain items obscene and illegal.
The Comstock Act of 1873 was enacted by the U.S. Congress to suppress the distribution through the mail materials that the government at the time considered obscene, including information on contraceptives and birth control. This was eventually expanded to cover reproductive health and education pamphlets, sex toy catalogs, porn videos, and sex toys.
Luckily, the federal Comstock Act and other federal and state laws like it were rendered illegal by the Supreme Court. Sexual liberation and the feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s brought about a brand new wave of openness and acceptance of sexuality in cultural conversations.
Changes like these led to a growth in the sex toy market ultimately catering to different sexual preferences, kinks, genders, and identifications. With the growth of the pornography film segment, the sex toy market saw a rate of growth over the following decades that would be even more blown up by the internet.
The early and modern internet changed the game for everyone.
E-commerce has made it easier for people to access a vast array of sex toys discreetly and from the comfort of their own homes. This led to a surge in the popularity and availability of sex toys, with an ever-increasing range of products designed for different purposes and preferences.
The sex toy and retail space is now growing, with countless options available to suit every taste and desire. The industry continues to innovate, with advancements in materials, design, and technology. For example, teledildonics and the internet of things are considered the new frontier.
We’ve written on these topics in the past but smart sex toys are so advanced and intuitive that they integrate seamlessly with cam sites, NSFW sex games, and the integration of virtual and augmented reality devices to them.
One of the most interesting developments in the space of smart sex toys is the ability to control mainstream video games with readily affordable smart sex toy devices. We mentioned a while ago that there are people developing open-source software development kits that integrate operating systems in smart sex toy devices with PCs, Macs, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles. Using the muscles and biofeedback of the anus or the vagina, gamers looking for a unique experience connected to sexual pleasure can play games, control their characters, fight, and feel the haptic feedback.
The history of sex toys is a testament to the human desire for sexual pleasure. From ancient civilizations to the postmodern era, sex toys have evolved and adapted to societal norms and technological advancements, providing individuals with new ways to explore and enjoy their sexuality. Developments are now in augmented and virtual reality, paving the way for innovation.
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