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April 2017
Sexology
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SEX TOYS

SEX TOYS


Introduction

Erotic-sexual experiences cannot be thought of as having one simple 'job' to do that is done regularly, or at least not between a couple, however sexual experiences may fall victim to becoming routine and monotonous very early on between two partners. Male and female sexual behaviour must be looked at in a broader way than just pleasure: sexual activity should lead on to personal satisfaction and orgasm and should be experienced in a fun way. Playing and improvising with fantasy behaviour and exploring one's desires and needs can and should represent a new way to experience erotic-sexual activities. Being able to not get caught up in perverse forms, which inevitably cause couples to adopt unpleasant routines which are sometimes responsible for psychophysical somatizations, is the first element needed to make sure the couple get along well. Given the importance that 'playing' has in the sexual sphere, we need to understand the use of sex toys, which have always aroused curiosity and silly misunderstandings in a society that tends to be hypocritical and bigoted.
Before classifying these special toys precisely, we should remember that the key to a healthy and effective intimate sexual relationship is communicating. In fact, good interaction with your partner is fundamental whether you use sex toys or not!

A look at the history of sex toys

Toys used for sexual pleasure are not new or something related to the business of transgression of recent years, and even though there are no clear testimonies of the use of dildos by women during the Stone Age, there are important documents starting from the Ancient Greek era. In Denmark, at the National Museum of Copenhagen for example, a woman practising self-erotic activities with a dildo is depicted on an Ancient Greek vase. Romans also had these sorts of erotic objects and they used various materials to create them, such as leather, bone and wood. Furthermore, we cannot forget Pompei and the rooms that are decorated with sex scenes: some of them even show erotic games with dildos and other particularly spicy scenes. During the Middle Ages (12th Century) a European bishop tried to severely rebuke women from his religious community for creating objects that were similar looking and a similar size to the male member to satisfy their desires. What made this even more scandalous though was the way in which the object was used: women used it when fornicating with each other! The words of the bishop did not appear to have much effect however, since the use of the dildo continued unquestionably for many centuries after. For example, in 1705, the Duchess of Tanis caused a huge scandal in Germany when she married a woman who was dressed as a man and made love with her with a dildo.

With the Industrial Revolution and the coming of new technology and new materials, the commercialisation of sex toys got the green light. The use of latex meant that the production of dildos could be made out of this material, as well as the first clitoris stimulators. A French company who sold sex toys via the mail thought up 'sheaths' of rubber with small tips on them like a mohican. This 'sheath' could be worn on the finger to self-eroticise or used by a partner. The idea seemed very interesting as it also allowed for double stimulation if worn on the penis during sex. The first dildos combined with a vibrator appeared in 1869 when the American doctor George Taylor patented an object that massaged via vibration provided by a small motor. Unfortunately the materials used were particularly expensive back then and therefore hard to get hold of. This is why the object was only introduced to the market for medical use, and, in fact, the use of vibrators was limited to doctors who used them therapeutically during 'massages' to relieve symptoms of hysteria. 

Ordering objects for sexual activities via the mail was the standard way to sell vibrators in the first half of the 20th Century, but then sales began in small sex shops in the 1960s. Today the growth of sales of sex toys is not only limited to sex shops or erotic boutiques, but also online, and the internet allows for even more anonymity. The newer inventions include radio command clitoris stimulators, electric stimulators and handheld vibrators that make use of the latest technology.
All of this leads on to thinking about how, in the near future, sex toys will be controlled more and more by computers and therefore they will be able to satisfy even more user needs, not to mention toys that, via virtual reality, will take a cue from our deepest fantasies and will satisfy us by making our fantasies become reality.

A possible classification

Humans have always been very aware of the importance of fun during erotic-sexual activities and erotic toys used as a complementary object within a relationship, however it is likely that some psychological, cultural and social impositions have lead people to deny this or rebel against it. During the evolution of an individual and his/her sexual behaviour, the most well-known erotic object is definitely the dildo, and which today also is even more important because of it's vibration function. Many toys have been reproduced not only to let men and women have fun but to let them fulfil erotic fantasies, and we will try and classify these objects in the following paragraphs.

Clothing and accessories

Female lingerie has always been considered arousing and stimulating in male minds. It does not matter what the material is (silk, lace, satin…) because it is all about fantasising about what can be seen and what has to be imagined. Items of lingerie adorned with rhinestones or real precious gems are particularly popular, and more sophisticated items include clothing such as panties, night dresses, corsets, garters and extravagant thongs. Men can also wear special underwear that highlights the genitals when worn. The majority of lingerie items consist of small thongs, usually in a shiny material or an aggressive textile, like leather or cotton in a net style. Another particularly exciting item of lingerie are leather trousers that either totally or partially cover parts of the legs and genitals but leave the buttocks completely uncovered. Even if they belong to a precise fantasy, such as a fetish fantasy, different varieties of heels and types of shoes can be particularly exciting too during erotic games.

As far as accessories are concerned, we can identify some particular ones including the sheep eye, an elastic ring that has soft strands all around it that tickles the female, because it is placed on an erect penis and it stimulates the woman in the external parts of the vagina, including the clitoris, during sex, creating particularly intense sensations. Condoms have also evolved over time so that they are less artificial and more fun during sexual intercourse. In fact, as well as being different colours and flavours, condoms that delay ejaculation and stimulate have been created, as have funny and ironic ones. Piercings are another variant of erotic sex accessories and they are often associated with particular sadomasochist behaviour or, in more superficial cases, with fads and fashion. Both men and women can use piercings as sex toys by piercing their nipples and genitals: women can pierce the large lips of the vagina or the clitoral hood, whilst men can pierce the glans near the urethral orifice (Prince Albert), the frenulum (Frenum) and the crown of the glans (Dydoes). Last, but certainly not least, is the Rosebud, a piercing done in the anal orifice that allows for constant stimulation when the sphincter dilates once this piece of jewellery has been inserted.



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