The Queen of My Self


Congratulations to the three winners of  The Queen of My Self book giveaway:

Susan Aubin, CO

Geri Hearne, IL

Smoky Zeidel, CA


It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.


Since antiquity, medical writings have recognized a woman’s complaint characterized by nervousness, fluid retention, insomnia and lack of appetite. A female display of distress and unmanageable emotional excess was behavior considered to be a disease in need of treatment. Hippocrates dubbed this condition “hysteria” or “womb furie.” (Oh, I could show him some womb fury!)

Galen, a Greek physician, claimed it was caused by the womb’s revolt against sexual deprivation, particularly in passionate women, and was noted in nuns, virgins, widows and occasionally in married women whose husbands were not up to the job.

From the beginning, physicians treated hysteria with genital massage in order to induce “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasm) in the patient.

“Arising from the touch of the genital organs required by the treatment, there follows twitchings accompanied at the same time by pain and pleasure…from that time she is free of all the evil she felt,” proclaimed Galen.

An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away. – Mae West 

Such treatment demanded both manual dexterity and a fair amount of time, And, significantly, because it took so long, it wasn’t lucrative enough for doctors who needed to see many patients to achieve a reasonable income.

However the simple solution of masturbation was regarded as wrong. It was not only a moral affront, but something that was thought of as constitutionally dangerous, enfeebling mind and body. “Women [with hysteria] should not resort to rubbing,” said Avicenna, the Muslim scholar and founder of early modern medicine. It was, he advised, “a man’s job, suitable only for husbands and doctors.”

Given that many in the medical profession thought that as many as 75%  of the female population were “hysterical” and that it was a chronic disease which could be relieved but not cured, there was a pressing need for cheaper, less cumbersome means of treatment. And here we have the birth of the vibrator.

In the early 1860s a scary French pelvic douche was invented to do the trick. It involved what looks like a high-pressure fire hose, trained on the clitoris and claimed to induce paroxysm in less than four minutes.

By the mid-1870s, steam power had been explored. “The Manipulator” was a table with a cutout area for the woman’s pelvis. A vibrating sphere driven by a steam engine then did the business. But like the hydrotherapies, it was not suitable for the doctor’s treatment room.

If you use the electric vibrator near water, you will come and go at the same time. 

Louise Sammons

Tomorrow: Good Vibrations – Part 2



Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™


The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to













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