University Studies on Vibrators for female Orgasm

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Review


Psycho-Sensory Comparative Testing of Three Different Types of Vibrators (Hitachi Wand, Prelude and Eroscillator used as Sensual Massagers).

Louis Lieberman, Ph.D.
Mary Cuadrado, M.P.A.
City University of New York

"The suggestion of a sex therapist to a client to "use a vibrator" should be made with an awareness of the relative efficiency of the three main types available for use in the treatment of orgasmic dysfunction in women."

INTRODUCTION

The use of vibrators and massagers as a source of sexual stimulation appears to have existed at least as long as men and women were exposed to their stimulating properties through legitimate professional massaging session and in barber shops where "Swedish" type massager (one that is strapped on to the back of the hand) was used for neck and facial massage. This type and others similar to it can be traced back to the early twentieth century. The phallic shaped, battery operated cylinders appeared in the 1950s, seemingly designed to be inserted into the vagina as a penis substitute. No instructions for their use, however, came with the machine but itís limitation at first to sex shops and sex publications left little doubt as to itís primary function. 

Other types began to appear in the early 1960s ostensibly for scalp and facial and "spot" massaging, but again, their advertisements for sale by mail through sex magazines defined their more pertinent usage. By then, writers of popular sex manuals were already suggesting the use of vibrators for women who were having troubles with orgasmic response. For example, as early as 1949, Clark recommended its use in the Employment of Love in Marriage (Clark, L. The Enjoyment of Love in Marriage, New York : Crest Books, 1949) as did Kelly in Sex Manual (Kelly, G.K., Sex Manual, 8th ed. August, Georgia : Southern Medical Supply Co., 1959) and Albert Ellis in The Art and Science of Love (Ellis, A., The Art and Science of Love, New York :Lyle Stuart, 1960). 

It was not until April 1966 that the mention of the use of vibrators moved out of the sub-rosa press and the literature of "do-it-yourself" sex manuals, where its function was primarily as a sexual novelty. In the latter 1960s vibrators became associated with the scientific study of sexual functioning carried out by Masters and Johnson and reported in their book : Human Sexual Response

At about the same time, January, 1966, Mary Jane Sherfey, M.D., a traditionally trained psychoanalyst reported, in an article in the Journal of The American Psychoanalytic Association and later in her book The Nature and Evolution of Female Sexuality (Sherfey, Mary J., M.D. The Nature and Evolution of Female Sexuality, New York : Random House, 1972, p. 110) that :

" In clinical practice, a number of married and single women using the electric vibrator have come to my attention. From the standpoint of normal physiological functioning, these women exhibit a healthy, uninhibited sexuality Ė and the number of orgasms attained, a measure of the human femaleís orgasmic potentiality". 

The very influential work of the renowned sex therapist and educator, Helen Singer Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., then Head of the Sex Therapy and Education Program, Payne Whitney Clinic of the New York Hospital, also suggested the use of vibrators in the treatment of nonorgasmic females. 

In her book, The New Sex Therapy : Active Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction (Kaplan, Helen S., The New Sex Therapy : Active Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction, New York : Brunner/Mazel, 1974), Dr. Kaplan notes several ways in which a vibrator may be used as an aid in the treatment of orgasmic dysfunction. For one, she suggests a variant of combined penile insertion and vibrator assisted clitoral stimulation because : "Some women who are highly resistant to coital orgasm are able to climax when they are stimulated with a vibrator during coitus." (p.407) She also suggests that for those women who have never had an orgasm (primary absolute orgasmic dysfunction), should the manual masturbation not be of sufficient intensity to elicit the orgasmic response, then a vibrator is indicated. "The vibrator provides the strongest, most intense stimulation known." (p. 388) 

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