A vibrator’s basic job is really quite simple, so long as you’re using it as a sex toy instead of unclenching a charley horse or working out some lower back pain. Vibrators are supposed to rapidly stimulate sexually sensitive sensory neurons. That’s it. They could look like anything. But until recently, they often looked like a garish dick.
In an article at Fusion last week, Hannah Smothers writes about the history of vibrator design and the thinking that has moved a new generation of high-end sex toys away from mimicking male and female anatomy and toward more abstract designs.
From the article:
But why—if women and couples are looking for something more than their own, very real human parts—would they want a plastic knock-off of those same parts in bed? Just as some people argue that retaining archaic, physical traits of notepads on our iPhones is unnecessary, companies like JimmyJane and LELO saw retaining the original design of human organs as unnecessary and outdated.
Of course, there will probably always be a market for straight-up dildos—which are different from vibrators—and which, by nature of their intended internal purpose, must resemble a human penis. But female-oriented vibrators allow more room for innovation.
That last round of innovation, and a focus on effective function rather than exaggerated anatomical form, has led to machines that look like a tiny surfboard, a lemon with a belly button, and a legless Mike Wazowski. And for a lot of people–single and couples both–some fantastic orgasms.
Image of the Cone vibrator via Amazon
This post originally appeared on Throb, Gizmodo's blog for all things sex