Dildos have been used by people in various cultures throughout history. The word "dildo" is of unknown origin, but it is believed to be derived from the Latin word "dilatare," which means "to open wide." The first known use of the word was in 15th-century English. Dildos have been found in various cultures and civilizations, including ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
We don’t know for sure when the word dildo was first used. What we do know is that dildos have been around for a long, long time. The ancient Greeks and Romans also had dildos. The Romans, in particular, were quite fond of them. They used them for solo play, foreplay, and for intercourse. In fact, one Roman historian described the dildo as “an instrument for sexual intercourse in cases where the real thing is not available.”
The use of dildos continued throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In Europe, they were often used by prostitutes to satisfy their clients. In China, they were used by courtesans to pleasurable effect. Dildos were made of various materials, including wood, stone, leather, and glass. They came in all shapes and sizes, from small and discreet to large and showy. Some were even designed to be attached to furniture or other objects. So yeah, dildos have been around since time immemorial, used by males and females alike.
You may not want to think of your grandparents and forefathers (and mothers) using dildos. But homo sapiens have been using dildos, natural or man-made, since forever. This article provides a brief history of dildos.
What are dildos?
Before we discuss the history of dildos, it’s important to classify what they are. Dildos are sex toys used to stimulate the vagina or anus. They are typically made of silicone, latex, or jelly and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Dildos can be used for solo play or with a partner. They have been around since ancient times, with many different cultures creating their own versions. Today, dildos come in all shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials.
When discussing the subject of dildos, we must distinguish between dildos and vibrators. Dildos are usually phallic objects that can be inserted into the vagina or anus for sexual pleasure. They’re completely stationary and don’t contain motors. Vibrators, in comparison, are modern inventions that come with motors. As the name suggests, vibrators can vibrate, thus helping you achieve even deeper sensations. Unlike dildos, vibrators don’t have to be phallic shaped — Biird’s Namii and Evii vibrators look nothing like traditional dildos and can even be placed in your living room mantlepiece!
Now that you understand what dildos are and how they’re different from vibrators, let’s take a brief look at the history of dildos, from ancient civilizations to modern times.
Dildos in ancient civilizations
It is well known that the ancient Greeks were open about their sexuality, and this is reflected in their art and literature. It is also clear that they were quite comfortable with the idea of using dildos for sexual pleasure, especially since there have been indications of bread-like objects used for phallic pleasure in Greek plays. It is also worth noting that the ancient Greeks were not the only culture to use dildos.
The ancient Egyptians also had a type of dildo that was made from leather and filled with beeswax, used by both men and women. The ancient Romans were also known to use dildos made of wood, bone, or ivory. In fact, one of the most famous Roman erotic poems, "The Priapeia," includes several mentions of dildos. In one section, there’s mention of a dildo made from wood with a head shaped like a penis.
Dildos in the middle ages and the renaissance
Dildos were likely used throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance for sexual pleasure, though there is less documentation of their use during these periods. In the Middle Ages, dildos were made of leather, ivory, and wood. Dildos became more popular in the Renaissance when they were made of glass, metal, or wood. Dildos were also used in ancient China, where they were made of jade or other stone.
Dildos in the 18th and 19th centuries
Dildos became increasingly popular in Europe and North America during the Victorian era as women's sexual liberation began to grow. In the early 19th century, there was a surge in the production of "marital aids" or "procurement devices," as they were euphemistically called. These devices were designed to help women achieve orgasms through clitoral stimulation.
During this period, the American physician George Taylor also came up with a terrifying design for a steam-powered Manipulator. This device consisted of a dildo attached to a steam engine. When activated, the dildo could be thrust in and out. Even though this device could induce female sexual pleasure, it was originally designed as a treatment for hysteria, a catch-all term for any number of problems that were seen as originating from the womb, including everything from anxiety to sexual desire.
Dildos in the modern age
Dildos made of leather, rubber, and silicone became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. These materials allowed for more realistic phallic shapes and were more comfortable to use than stone or wood. In the late 19th century, vibrating dildos were invented, which added another level of stimulation.
Dildos have continued to evolve in the 20th and 21st centuries with the introduction of new materials and technologies. Today, dildos come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be used for a variety of purposes, from solo masturbation to partner sex. In addition to dildos, you can also get clitoral stimulators, clitoral suckers, and other types of sex toys.
Thanks to our more enlightened views of sexuality, we now also understand that dildos have numerous psychological benefits and can improve self-esteem and confidence. While dildos are available in numerous materials, you should generally look for body-safe and nonporous dildos, such as silicone, glass, or metal.
No matter what your preferences are, there’s a dildo or sex toy out there that’s perfect for you.