For as long as man has had a sex drive, he (or she) has
enjoyed the practice of penetrating orifices with things – be they fleshy body
parts or man-made items of approximately the right size and shape. Sexual
pleasure is a simple desire and a very strong one and indulging it is something
that we have been doing for millennia – since prehistory, even.
Within the last year or so, archaeologists have uncovered a most unusual artefact that is thought to be the oldest sex toy still in existence. It is a stone dildo that is thought to be up to thirty thousand years old! Traditionally, even though phallus-shaped items have been found before, archaeologists were always wary about labelling them as sex toys. However, modern technology and careful reconstruction methods have revealed detailed carving that leaves no doubt as to what is being portrayed and very little doubt as to the purpose of the dildo.
Early dildoes were made from a variety of materials, from durable stone to warm, but potentially problematic wood, to shaped leather and even bread. The bread dildo may be a factual account, it may be a metaphorical statement, and it may be a smutty joke based upon the appearance of the average loaf of bread. The ancient Greek word ‘olisbokollix’ which translates into the word ‘olisbo’ (meaning dildo) and ‘kollix’ (meaning bread) only appears in text once. Now this could mean that it was quite a rude word, so used rarely in writing, and all the other written mentions of the word may have been destroyed over time. Either way, there are a number of suggestive images of women and men holding phallic-shaped bread in ways that does not suggest a cosy session with toast and tea… Lashings of olive oil and naked wrestling is more the theme on these vases…
Throughout the 1500 and 1600s, there are many mentions of dildoes. It is usually as something used by ‘low women’ or as the belongings of a foreigner, introducing saucy perversions to modest society, but it is fairly prevalent in the works of many writers and playwrights, which would give plausible rise to the belief that sex toys were available and in regular use, even if not in polite company!
Even the modest and repressed Victorians have a dildo tale or two to tell. There was one man who had a replica of his weiner made from ivory so that his wife wouldn’t miss him too much when he went off – as he did fairly regularly, for lengthy periods of time – to attend to business elsewhere. The toy was beautifully preserved and came to auction recently, which is how the story is now in the public domain. It is thought that the husband acquired a tusk in India – perhaps on a hunt on which he shot the elephant himself, in the days before this blood-thirstiness was frowned upon – which he then took to China, where the detailed and – one assumes – highly accurate carving was done. The Chinese were masters of ivory carving in the 1840s, and the replica is so very detailed that it must have been crafted by a master of the art. Romantically, there is a heart carved where the lady’s finger would rest while the ‘ladies companion’ was being employed, and there was also a small compartment for a lock of his hair, presumably to add greater intimacy to the moment.Dildoes are still the most popular sex toy, but the vibrator has joined the ranks of knicker-drawer must-haves. Check out the next blog post for information about the energetic younger cousin of the dildo!