History of the Sex Industry: the old times

20 December 2008

Ancient Origins
500 B.C.: Traders from Greek port of Miletus sold olisbos, an early version of the dildo.
350 B.C.: First mention of olive oil as a sexual enhancement, mainly to encourage contraception.
0 to 400 A.D.: The Roman Empire had a lascivious edge–little wonder the very word “sex” comes from the Latin “sexus.” Written and artistic histories include numerous references to simple sex toy innovations.

300 A.D.: The Kama Sutra, the classic Indian sex manual, suggests crafting penis-extenders from wood, leather, buffalo horn, copper and gold.
500 A.D.: Men use Ben Wa balls to enhance pleasure (some had clappers that made a ringing sound during intercourse); women use them to increase the strength of their pelvic floor muscles, much like modern Kegel exercises.

The Middle Ages
476 to 1453: The Roman Catholic Church looked askance at sexual expression–to put it mildly–and some prominent offenders were burned at the stake. Mens’ and womens’ clothing covered neck to toe. In 12th century Europe, female chastity belts–secured with padlocks to which only husbands had the key–ensured fidelity. China, meanwhile, devised penis rings from the eyelids of goats (with eyelashes intact), said to enhance pleasure during intercourse.

The Renaissance
1400 to 1700: In Renaissance Italy, the Greek olisbo became “dildo” (possibly from the Latin dilatare, “to open wide,” or the Italian diletto, “to delight”). Italian versions were made of wood or leather and required liberal lubrication.

1791: Marquis de Sade–from whom the term “sadism” is derived–publishes the erotic Justine. While his controversial writings would eventually land him in jail, they also sparked interest in an array of sexual accessories and devices.

The Victorian Era
1869: A primitive vibrator makes its debut. Developed by American physician George Taylor, it was a large, cumbersome, steam-powered apparatus. Taylor recommended it for treatment of an illness known at the time as “female hysteria”–otherwise known as sexual arousal.

History of sex industry

© The Gallery Collection/Corbis

Extract from Forbes

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