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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Good Vibrations – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

 

 

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.

 

These early vibrators looked like excruciating medieval torture devices or something more suitable for use on the kitchen counter or in an automotive garage.

The electric vibrator had its inception in 1869 with the invention of a steam-powered massager, patented by an American doctor. This device was designed as a medical tool for treating “female disorders.” Within 20 years a British doctor followed up with a more portable battery-operated model and by 1900, dozens of styles of electric vibrators were available to the discriminating medical professional.

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In 1899, the vibrator was introduced as a home medical appliance. They were electrified ten years before either the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner. They appeared in magazine advertisements by 1904. Good Housekeeping ran a “tried and tested” on vibrators in 1909, claiming they brought a glow to the face. An ad in a 1918 Sears Roebuck catalog of “aids that every woman appreciates” described a $5.95 portable model as “very useful and satisfactory for home service.”

By the 1920s, doctors had abandoned hands-on physical treatments for hysteria in favor of psychotherapeutic techniques. But vibrators continued to have an active commercial life in which they were marketed as cure-alls for ills ranging from headaches and asthma to “fading beauty” and even tuberculosis!

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The best sex I have ever had was with my vibrator. – Eva Longoria

The ad copy for these vibrators was coy and ambiguous. “Be a glow getter,” one package insert suggests. And who wouldn’t be tempted to experience “that delicious, thrilling health-restoring sensation called vibration,” when assured that “it makes you fairly tingle with the joy of living”? The vibrator’s usefulness for masturbation was never acknowledged; however, as vibrators began appearing in erotic stag films of the 1920s, it became difficult to ignore their sexual function. Probably as a result, advertisements for vibrators gradually disappeared from respectable publications.

To this day, electric vibrators are marketed solely as massagers and manufacturers steadfastly ignore their sexual benefits. Vibrators are now a big business; they are sold through drug stores, department stores and even the Sears catalog. They are also sold at sex shops where they are proudly promoted as the superior sex toys they are.

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Betty Dodson, who is known as the “godmother of the masturbation movement,” recalls how a male lover suggested that they experiment with a barber’s scalp massager. It produced spectacular orgasms that led to a crusade on her part to show women how to use vibrators. Her message was consistent: “Independent orgasm, I guarantee, will lead to independent thoughts.”

A woman with a well-stocked toy drawer isn’t dependent on anyone and is unlikely to hurl herself at a lowlife just for nooky. – Arianne Coheb

*****

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 thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Vibrations – Part 1

posted by Donna Henes

 

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

Susan Aubin, CO

Geri Hearne, IL

Smoky Zeidel, CA

Enjoy!!!

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!)

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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.

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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.

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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™

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***

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Masturbation Queen

posted by Donna Henes

 

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.

 

Betty Dodson, artist, author, and PhD sexologist has been one of the principal voices for women’s sexual pleasure and health for over three decades. She calls herself “A second wave feminist liberating women one orgasm at a time.”

Dodson had her first one-woman show of erotic art in 1968 in New York, followed by three others. She left the art world to teach sex to women and never turned back. She produced and presented the first feminist slide show of vulvas at the 1973 NOW Sexuality Conference in New York where she introduced the electric vibrator as a pleasure device. For 25 years, she ran Bodysex groups where women learned about their bodies and orgasms through the practice of self-stimulation.

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Her first book, Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Selflove (1974) became a feminist classic. Sex for One (1987) sold over a million copies. Orgasms for Two (2002) embraces partner sex. Most recently she released her memoir recounting the feminist movement and all her sexual experiences, Betty Dodson: My Sexual Revolution.

She has authored numerous articles on the subject of women’s sexual pleasure and orgasm. In 1994, she earned a PhD in clinical sexology. Dodson has presented at conferences for sexual scientists, therapists, and psychologists.

She is a founder of the pro-sex feminist movement, having left behind the more traditional feminist movement because she considered it banal, anti-sexual and over-politicized. Dodson considers too much is made of sexual labels and embraces them all by calling herself a heterosexual, bisexual lesbian. She looks forward to the day we can all be just “sexual.”

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I would applaud you, Queen Betty, but my hands are busy.

*****

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 thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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Sex, Sensuality, and the Midlife Single Woman

posted by Donna Henes

 

Congratulations, Queens! This column has reached the milestone of 300 entries. To celebrate, I am giving away an autographed copy of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. to the first three readers who request one by sending an email to me at:  thequeenofmyself@aol.com. That’s right, all you have to do is ask!

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.

Here is a take on sexuality in midlife by a noted sociologist:

 

Sex, Sensuality, and the Midlife Single Woman

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By Kay Trimberger www.kaytrimberger.com

The sexual revolution suggests that if we are single women between ages 45 and 59 – now over 30 percent of all females this age – we can (and should) initiate sexual adventures and seek new romantic/sexual partners. Newspapers, magazines, talk shows and films feature story after story of middle-aged single women blossoming sexually.

This is an important correction to the stereotypes that once prevailed. Women were not expected to enjoy sex, and any female with a strong libido — especially a “middle-aged” women  — was regarded as suspect or even deviant. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. For midlife females who want to remain sexually active, it’s great to have this new cultural validation. But women with less sexual desire or opportunity may feel inferior.

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One of the most difficult tasks for mature single women who don’t have a monogamous sexual partner, is figuring out our sexual desires and how to meet them. A recent AARP survey of U.S. singles between 40 and 59 found that for those without a steady partner, only 4 percent of women and 12 percent of men had weekly sexual intercourse. For those in their 40s, 46 percent of both single women and men had not had sex in the prior six months; while in their 50s, 61 percent of women and 39 percent of men had not made love in the last half-year — and it was not an issue.

In 2004 a random sample of American women and men over age 45, in rating what is important to their quality of life, did not put “a satisfying sexual relationship” high on their list. More important is being in good spirits, being healthy and active, having close ties with friends and family, financial security, personal independence, spiritual well-being, having productive work and contributing to society. Seventy-three percent believe that there is too much emphasis on sex in our culture today.

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These findings point to the need for recognition of individual variation in what we desire as midlife singles. Deciding what kinds (if any) sex one enjoys, feeling positive about it, and acknowledging that one’s sexual desires may change over time is not easy.

Society needs more recognition of the importance of sensuality and nonsexual passion in our lives, what I and others have termed “sensuous celibacy” — part of the sexual spectrum rather than a problem to be overcome. The emphasis on genital sexuality neglects the importance of sensuality, especially that which an individual can realize without a partner, such as the sensuality in food, clothing, art, travel, spiritual rituals, music and dance.

During my research for The New Single Woman, one ever-single woman in her late 40s told me of her love of flamenco dancing, which she finds intensely passionate and sensual. A married colleague in her 50s described e the joy she got from gardening: “I love the touch, the fragrance and the delicacy of flowers; they are definitely charged with passion and sensuality for me.” Other women luxuriate in the aromatic, tactile and sensory stimulation they get while cooking.

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Some single middle-aged women are seeking to make nonmonogamy an acceptable practice. I found that those who had an intense sexual drive and acted on it in a thoughtful way fostered autonomy and a strong sense of self.

For women who love sex, or who long for sex within an affectionate partnership, the sensual pleasures of dancing, gardening or cooking will not be enough. But for others it is not only enough, but preferable. We need to view sex as one, but only one, of the elements that enhance our lives. Let’s recognize that there are many forms of sensuality, and acknowledge the complexity and variety of passion.

*****

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 thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

 

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