Ever since sex entered the realm of morality,
Sex is about so much more than lust and pleasure
The New York City government recently posted online its "Guidelines for Sex during the Pandemic," a thoughtful call to strike a balance between letting go of lust and guarding against the virus. "The safest sex partner is yourself," reads the headline.
Forbes and Wired reported last month that online sales of some sex toy brands have doubled to 20 percent over the same period, with demand for popular styles in short supply.
Some believe that around 28,000 BC, humans were making sexual objects, such as stone sculptures of male genitals made of siltstone; Later came handicrafts made of ivory, bone, stone and even teeth in the shape of genitals. But these objects are not exactly equivalent to the sex toys we use on our bodies today. Some of them, it now seems, are at best works of reproduction and sex worship, rather than self-pleasing objects.
1980s Vintage Plaster Male Torso Statue
The origins of the first true "sex toys" are, of course, elusive, and vary from culture to culture: the ancient Greeks made artificial toys made of leather called "olisbos"; The Romans called it scorteum fascinum, or leather Dildo; In ancient China, there were tools with similar functions. Together with erotic paintings and erotic novels, they became a kind of similar enlightenment and sex education. But one thing is almost certain: in ancient times, whether in the West or the East, "owning sex toys" was a privilege, and ordinary people did not have much need or opportunity to explore "sex" in depth.
Behind the birth of sex toys is the spread of sexual shame. Almost the entire human civilization has been de-animalizing, and the essence of modern civilization is to control primitive instincts as much as possible. In the History of Sexuality, Foucault believed that in the classical world represented by Greek civilization, sex became the object of moral anxiety and questioning, not because of the questioning of sex itself, but because of the questioning of sexual pleasure, precisely the resistance to excessive sexual pleasure. The sexual morality of ancient Greece was not the regulation for all citizens of the polis, but the expectation for the excellent members of the polis. To be able to achieve sexual abstinence was the embodiment of personal virtue. Abandoning physical pleasure meant that the time could be more focused on wisdom and truth, and the people had more character and were more likely to become the leaders of the polis.
In other words, classical sexual morality is concerned with the consequences of unrestrained sex. The core of Christian sexual morality, which later became the mainstream, lies in its focus on desire itself. In its view, the desire behind pleasure is evil, whether it is abstinence or not. Nietzsche summed up the transformation of this sexual concept as: the history from classical to Christian is the degenerate history from master morality to slave morality.
The one-to-one marriage system caused by the private ownership of property makes the outlet of sexual desire more narrow, and sexual desire is only moral in the marriage relationship. Even today, more than half a century after the sexual revolution, the link between sex and morality is still so strong that anyone who thinks sex is immoral is immediately branded as a scum who cheates on a man who plays with women's affections.
Moreover, in this age of "you have the right to have fun and you should have fun", sadomasochism, cross-dressing and fetishism, which are increasingly accepted as sexual activities, are still classified as eccentric and eccentric because they are not for reproduction purposes.
Ever since sex entered the realm of morality, it has been about much more than desire and pleasure.
Sex Education Classroom (1929)
With the advent of modern medicine, people's sexual needs began to be formally studied, although sex was still generally considered "unhealthy." But not in a very direct way: vibrators were invented in the 1880s to better free doctors' hands when it came to treating women's "hysteria" with what's known as vulva therapy.
At the same time, some technologies have also been used in the development of vibrators, medical mechanical vibrators, steam vibrators, electric vibrators have emerged. In the technological revolution that followed, the spread of electricity led to the availability of "vibrators" in the true sense of the word, the earliest form of the sex toys we use today.
Early in the last century, the electric sex toys are packaged into "beauty instrument" feminine care products (yes, these two products look like is not without reason, both of its origin from then began), vibrators stared at "massager" brand on the "women's family friend" good housekeeping "such high-end life magazine, Words like "throb," "joy," and "new experience" were used to lure women to buy them, even in the New York Times.
Other broadly defined sex toys (including airplane cups and inflatable dolls) were invented around the 1950s, while the more sophisticated concept of "remote-controlled" sex toys emerged in the 1990s. Decades on, they continue to enhance the human sexual experience, even as online communication becomes routine and long-distance intimacy becomes more common.
It's worth noting that sex toys have long been targeted at women. Under the patriarchal society, women have always been passive objects in sexual relations. Women under moral discipline feel more sexual shame and are less likely than men to pursue, talk to or visit brothels because of their sexual needs. In a sense of chastity, rather than seeking sexual catharsis from men, most women prefer to hide or secretly use sex toys. With the advancement of women's status as a result of feminist thought, men's demand for "conquering women sexually to demonstrate their masculinity" weakened, and the number of sex toys targeted at men began to increase in modern times.
In addition, classical morality refers to the self, and a virtuous person has to restrain his desires. Unlike classical morality, today's morality is about other people, and the prevailing principle is that "as long as you do not interfere with others, you should not criticize them on a moral level." As a result, the psychological burden on the ego level is removed, and people gradually lose their moral anxiety when using sex toys.
On the other hand, people around the world are having less sex at a time when sexual freedom is one of the highest in human history. According to an article in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, americans are having sex from 62 times a year to 53 times a year (nearly once a week) in the early 2010s, a 15 percent drop since the 1990s. Australia's 2014 National Life Survey found heterosexuals had sex an average of 1.4 times a week, down from 1.8 times a decade ago. In a 2014 survey by the Japan Family Planning Association, 46 percent of women and 25 percent of men aged 16 to 25 despised "sexual contact."
"High cost of sex, low mating rates for sexual addiction, increased LGBTQIA self-identity, high work load, fast pace of life, fixed 9-to-5 social circle, increase in erotic videos and games, habituation to being alone and pleasure substitution" are all affecting people's sexual activity. But the frequency with which people masturbate has only increased, meaning that more people are choosing toys over other people for sexual pleasure.
You can certainly imagine that if bionic technology gets a little more advanced, the next generation of sex toys could be the virtual love robots from The movie Her -- sex toys have never disappeared in human history and will not disappear in the future.
'It doesn't look anything like a sex toy'
In addition, sex toy manufacturers are trying to shake off the "low and dirty" image of sex toys. If someone asks you, "What's a sex toy you've ever seen/used?" and all you can think of is a big, garish pink/purple stick designed in the most mindless way possible, it's a bit behind The Times: In 2020, when cutting-edge design styles can also take their place, the design of sex toys will inevitably change.
The most obvious change in appearance is that sex toys are becoming "sexless" - since the proliferation of "minimalist" design styles, sex toys are no longer "intensely uncomfortable" in colour and shape, or even "sexy" at all.
The problem of "how to hide" is a common problem for beginners who buy sex toys. When friends or parents come to the house, or are accidentally seen in the dormitory or sharing a house, it will become an embarrassment. Due to such considerations, now the basic sex toys can be basically not so "straightforward".
Companies such as Tenga, Japan's leading adult toy maker, Dame Products and Lora DiCarlo, the vibrator brands founded by women, are all embracing this minimalist new style. Looking at the pictures of the products, you could hardly imagine that they were sex toys. Instead, they looked more like tiny cosmetic pads, face washers or trinkets.
on the other hand, the spread of knowledge also inspired a sex toy design new: when people realize that the shape and size are not the key to the fun "after sex toys have stopped" than the length of this kind of boring game, "is no longer a simple simulation of men/women's genitals so simple, but from the traditional" bionic "shape to jewelry. Some manufacturers are starting to create pieces that can be worn and worn as accessories, such as rings and bracelets, and some are encrusted with gems.
The Palma, for example, is a so-called 'sex ring' designed by New York-based women's team Unbound. According to its description, the Palma has a jewel-like shape, vibrates at different frequencies when tilted or pressed, and is waterproof, meaning users can wear it for any occasion. Polly Rodriguez, founder of Unbound, said: "Trying to reproduce genitals is a stupid design. Sex toys complement, not replace, genitalia."
Gradually, the sex toy question changed from "how to hide" to "it doesn't matter if you don't have to hide." In addition to realizing the function of interest, people also pay attention to the appearance design. The transformation of this design concept is undoubtedly a face up to and progress on sex.
Sex is not reproduction, it's fun
The use and popularity of sex toys can be traced back to the 1960s sexual liberation, feminism and the gay movement in the United States, if we really want to talk about the origin. According to Thomas Rachor's Sex Alone: A Cultural History of Masturbation, from this period self-love was no longer seen as a morbid desire; Orgasms are no longer something that men and women have to do together. This basically separates "sexual pleasure" from reproduction. Compared to unpredictable humans, sex toys are a great way to enjoy and relax without having to worry about unwanted pregnancy or infectious disease.
In addition, sex toys also carry part of the function of sex education, helping people to better understand their own bodies. Vibrators are common (almost half of adults have used them at some point) and have been linked to beneficial sexual functions such as libido and orgasm, as well as helping users check in with their bodies during the experience, Livescience reported.
Earlier this year, Taiwanese designer CobyHuang designed a set of sex toys, called "Rituals of Sexual Pleasure," that offered a kit of different materials for users to "explore their body's pleasures," as opposed to biology books, Knowing yourself only from a reproductive point of view -- after all, the complexity of each person's body is not a matter of designing a few vibratory gears.
Sex toys are also reflected in the practical function, it is no longer a can stimulate the body parts of objects, the climax of a ruthless tool, but as interpersonal interaction, provide a more like "fun" ceremony, a daily available sexual interest in senses: you can customize according to his be fond of smells and music, make their own toys; There are also "atmosphere" sex toys that simulate the breath and whisper of lovers,sex machine and even "furniture" sex toys made of small chairs and lamps. No longer limited to cookie-cutter eggs, high-end sex toys can be made into anything you want
The customization trend also means it can be applied to minority populations, such as Ripple, a sex toy set for the disabled, Pulse III Solo for men, and Buck Off for transgender people.
Backoff for transgender people
As Tanga president Koichi Matsumoto put it, "Sexuality, like appetite, should be a generous thing for everyone to enjoy, not obscene." The history of sex toys is also a history of changing ideas about sex, and there's nothing stopping us from using them except ideas -- sex and toy are two of the most interesting words ever put together, and they're meant to be pretty and fun, right?