“Hysteria” was released in Los Angeles and NYC this weekend.

“What's 'Hysteria?'” you ask? Well it's a movie about the history of the vibrator, a film featuring real actors — including Maggie Gyllenhaal, everyone's favorite “Secretary” — and, surprisingly, void of the expected B.S. that would accompany a motion picture delving into a topic still too taboo for Oprah.

There are many of you out there who aren't obsessed with sex toys and the amazing sounds/fluids/emotions they evoke, and therefore probably don't give a fuck about where they came from.

But wait — what if I told you vibrators were invented as a medical treatment for a health epidemic that once swept the nation? Interesting, right? Keep reading.

In the late 19th century women around the country were coming down with what doctors deemed hysteria, a malady affecting women's state of mind and ability to function in society, and there was only one method of treatment:


Women turned to their doctors to manually stimulate their clitoris until they reached orgasm, which would result in a sudden calm, satiated, rational female patient. It wasn't considered a sexual or pleasurable act at the time — women entering the clinic showing symptoms of hysteria would leave feeling relaxed and cheerful. It was only logical to believe that an orgasmic release was the remedy!

So doctors patted themselves on the back for their accomplishments while women lay back and pondered how soon they should decide to feel “ill” again.

This is her fourth visit this week.

This is her fourth visit this week.

And these male doctors were working hard and working frequently, leading to pain and fatigue in their hands. Treating multiple women in an afternoon can take a lot out of a medical professional, so one man decided to develop a mechanical stimulation device that would take place of their index fingers — and the vibrator was born!

One of the first was steam-powered (HA!) and after many other versions were released into the medical community, the first electric vibrator made for retail sale (!!!) debuted in 1902. By Hamilton Beach, not Hitachi.

And women's (and, in turn, men's) lives were changed forever.

Now you can walk into any adult store, even Brookstone, and find the latest and greatest (and sometimes lamest) vibrators on the market. And though they aren't billed as medical treatments, these sex toys can — and do — “fix” many women's presumed sexual dysfunctions.

Good for your health.

Good for your health.

Many women have their first orgasms ever — even after decades of sexual experience — with help from a motorized sex device.

“Hysteria” movie posters currently are strewn about Los Angeles and NYC with a corresponding promotional campaign making the rounds online. And if you bring your ticket stub to The Pleasure Chest you can get a 15 percent discount off of your sex-related purchase.

So what are you waiting for? Start feeling faint, anxious, tense and in need of treatment. Going to the “doctor” has never been this satisfying!

LA Weekly