Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

They Did What?? by Jennifer Jakes (Victorian-era Vibrators!)

Today, I'd like to welcome guest author Jennifer Jakes (and one of my new blog partners at the up and coming History Ink!). Today's post is FABULOUSLY scandolous!!! I can't even tell you how thrilled I was when she offered to write it!  Leave a comment for your chance to win an ecopy of Jennifer's book TWICE IN A LIFETIME (blurb and excerpt below).

by Jennifer Jakes

Have you ever had one of those days – or weeks – where nothing went right? Maybe you’ve been plagued with insomnia, irritability, headaches or melancholy? Never fear, after extensive research I know what is wrong with you. You have Female Hysteria. And the cure? Easy. . .  A doctor manipulated orgasm!

Huh? - you say. Come again? (Pun intended.)

In the Victorian Era – specifically 1837 to 1901 – doctors treated woman by genital stimulation to induce “hysterical paroxysm” or an orgasm. This hysteria was supposed to be a build-up of fluid in the woman’s womb and doctors assumed that since men ejaculated and felt better then it stood to reason ….

But what about the husbands? What did they have to say about this? Well, proper gentlemen of the time were not trained to see to their wives needs – it was not even understood that women had needs. Instead it was much easier to call for the doctor when a woman exhibited symptoms of hysteria. Yes, the doctor could treat the women in their home. The Fainting Couch or Chaise Lounge became popular for the ladies’ comfort during this “treatment”. I wonder what the husband said if a large doctor’s bill arrived each week? But I digress.

Manual stimulation was applied by the doctor simply reaching under the woman’s skirt, but by 1869 a steam-powered vibrator had been invented – no doubt after numerous doctors complained of carpal tunnel! This vibrator’s motor had to be housed in a separate room with the fun part sticking through the wall. By 1889 an electrical vibrator was available – beating out the electric iron and vacuum cleaner by a decade. For years vibrators were used solely by physicians, but as technology improved and the size of vibrators became smaller, they were advertised in such catalogs as Sears and certainly in women’s magazines.

So the next time you hear someone talk about prim and proper Victorians, you can say, “Oh, contraire!”

Be Careful What You Wish For. . .
No-nonsense stuntwoman Isabella Douglas will do anything to stop an unwanted divorce and reclaim the happy life she had, even allow her old friend to concoct a magical spell to turn back time. But when the spell goes awry, Izzy finds herself trapped aboard a 1768 Caribbean pirate ship with a captain who’s a dead ringer for her sexy as sin husband, Ian. Convinced he’s playing a cruel joke, she’s furious – until she realizes he doesn’t know her or believe they’re married.
Captain Ian Douglas does not have time to deal with an insane woman who claims to be his wife; he has to save his kidnapped sister. But as Izzy haunts his dreams and fills him with erotic memories he can’t explain, he’s forced to admit he feels more than lust.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of past mirroring present, Izzy knows they only have days to find Ian’s sister and prevent disaster from striking a second time. If she doesn’t, their marriage will be destroyed again – along with the man she loves.
Her fingers threaded in his thick hair as she traced his mouth with the tip of her tongue. “Kiss me.” 
He hesitated, then groaned and covered her lips in a breath stealing kiss. Hot, wet, silky. Her nipples hardened, ached for his touch, the tug of his fingers, the pull of his mouth.
“Touch me.” She pressed a kiss to his throat, then licked his collarbone. “I need your hands on me.”
He grunted and slid his hands down her back. Rough palms gripped her cheeks, grinding her against his erection. His gaze burned through her as he moved his thigh between her legs.
“Yes. Please.” She tilted her hips, rubbing, needing release more than air. “Oh, God, yes.” Desire roared through her, the ache building. Building. The orgasm so . . .damned. . .close.
A sharp knock sounded at the door. “Captain? The men are ready to go ashore.”
Ian pulled back and swallowed hard, his expression hungry, his heart thumping against her breast.
“Yes. Yes, I’ll be right there.” His heavy lidded gaze skimmed her body. Possessive. Aroused. Regretful as he set her aside.
Her mind crawled to process what was happening while her body was doused with disappointment. “You’re still going?”
He raked through his hair, then nodded. “We need provisions before sailing for Jamaica. I’ll only be a few hours.” He stepped to the door, but turned and pinned her with a hard stare. “But when I return . . .”
“Yes?” Her heart thumped in anticipation of some explicit description of what he would do to her. Oh, but his tongue was naughty in all the right ways.
“. . . I expect an explanation.”
Izzy drooped against the door, her thoughts racing even though her legs collapsed. This was going to be the shortest second chance in history.
About the Author
After trying several careers—everything from a beautician to a dump truck driver—Jennifer finally returned to her first love, writing. Maybe it was all those Clint Eastwood movies she watched growing up, but in her opinion there is no better read than a steamy western historical.
Married to her very own hero, she lives on fifteen acres along with two beautiful daughters, three spoiled cats, three hyper dogs and one fat rabbit.
During the summer she does Civil War re-enacting and has found it a great research tool, not to mention she has continued appreciation for her microwave and hot water heater.
Her debut novel, RAFE’S REDEMPTION, was a RWA Golden Heart Finalist and Won BEST ROMANCE 2011 at DITHR.
Visit Jennifer Jakes at www.jenniferjakes.com


Marin McGinnis said...

Brilliant post! Love the notion of the "fun part" sticking through the wall - one can only imagine the contortions required to make use of it. ;)

Alexandriaweb said...

Good heavens! *fetches the smelling salts*

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Marin-
I might have taken liberties with the word "fun". Not sure anything about the contraption looks fun! LOL
Thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the drawing:)

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Alexandria-
Yes, I can't imagine what the first Victorian lady who tried this "treatment" told her friends. How do politely recommend this to a friend??
Thanks for stopping by! Good luck in the drawing.

Angelique Armae said...

Totally fascinating post, Jennifer. Guess the Victorian's weren't so prim and proper after all!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Oh, I do declare! LOL Literally. The wonder is there wasn't a rash of hysteria going on, or a rush of men wanting to become doctors. Hysterical post, Jen.

And since I already have my copy of Twice In A Lifetime, don't include me. Thanks

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Angelique-
It's just crazy isn't it - what they could convince themselves was "normal" and acceptable???
Thanks so much for stopping by. Good luck in the drawing.

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Mac-
LOL - yeah, really!! Every young man wanted to grow up and attend medical school! LOL
Thanks for stopping by:)

Kitchen Witch of the West said...

reading is so dangerous. They things we learn, especially the things that cause tea to fly every which way.
Cannot wait to share this with friends. Reality is always weirder than fiction, especially in Victorian times.
Is this why everyone's mother wanted them to marry a Doctor?

Jennifer Jakes said...

I know! I about fell over when I found that photo of the big steam powered one. Of course I sat doing the head turned this way - then that way-then this way again, thinking...
Hmmm. I wonder if that's where that old "marry a doctor" did come from?? And here we all thought it was b/c of money! LOL
Thanks for dropping by. Good luck in the drawing:)

Artemis said...

What a great post! I wonder what the husbands said during those days when they went to the post to pick up the Sears catalog order. "Dear, what is this you have here?" Love it!!!

There was a movie made about this very thing, but I don't think it has been released yet it the US. It looks fabulous!


Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Artemis-
Yes, I saw that advertised but I have no idea when it is supposed to come out.
Thanks for stopping by today! Good luck in the drawing:)

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

See? You can't make this stuff up! That's what I love about history. Thanks for a fascinating post.

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Vicky-
I know. It's proof of that old adage Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck in the drawing:)

Nona Raines said...

My gosh, those contraptions look scary! I lol'd when I read that they preceded the electric vacuum cleaner and iron by a decade! Well, we ladies do have our priorities! Thanks for a very enlightening post!

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Nona-
LOL!! Oh, you are so right. Vacuum, smacuum, a lady's got to do what a lady's got to do! ;)
Thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the drawing.

Evangeline Holland said...

Did you know there is a movie being released in May about this invention? It stars Hugh Dancy and Rupert Everett and looks hilarious. Here is the trailer.

Jami Gold said...

Fantastic post! I'd heard most of this before, but the pictures...! The pictures are priceless. :) Thanks to you both!

Noelle Pierce said...

Loved the pictures on this! I always chuckle when I read about something like this, because people seem to think we've got a monopoly on the "modern" stuff. Even the phrases we use are considered "modern"...until we see it in a place like the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. :D Next time I write a historical, I'll have to incorporate this, if only to see how many people tell me they didn't have vibrators back then. LOL

Oh! I just had an idea for a Victorian romance...doctor and patient. Hehe. Thank ya kindly, m'dear.

Jennifer Jakes said...

Thank you all so much, Evangeline, Jami and Noelle. Good luck in the drawing;)

Kellie Kamryn said...

I read a book recently that was based on this very thing - doctor's "seeing" to the needs of women to treat "hysteria". Absurd!

Great post, Jenn, as always! Wishing you all the best!

Eliza Knight said...

Thanks so much for visiting with us Jennifer! A winner has been chosen: Jami Gold! Congrats!

Jami Gold said...

Thank you so much, Eliza and Jennifer!

Not sure how to claim it though. :)

Jami Gold said...

I'll go the "duh" route and post my email. LOL!

contact (at) jamigold (dot) com

Thanks again!!!

Tina B said...

Wow!! I didn't know that about Victorian women. I could not imagine having to go to the doctor for a situation like that. I find it highly amusing though! The story sounds very interesting. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

And perhaps that's where the adage "An apple a day ..." comes from ;)