SAN FRANCISCO — Several vibrators from Good Vibrations’ Antique Vibrator Museum will be featured in an upcoming mainstream film.
The movie, “Hysteria,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rupert Everett premieres Sept. 15 at the Toronto Film Festival.
Good Vibrations said the history of vibrators will get a popular culture boost with the anticipated release of the film, a Victorian-era romantic comedy set around the creation of the vibrator.
Company founder, Joani Blank, collected antique vibrators for over 20 years. The largest collection of her treasures is now displayed at the Good Vibrations Polk Street store, with smaller collections in other San Francisco, Berkeley, and Brookline stores and images online. The vibrators in that collection date from the late 1800’s up through the 1970’s.
Good Vibrations said the electric vibrator was first used as a medical tool designed to treat "female disorders" including so-called “hysteria” by inducing orgasms — thus the film’s title.
Although the psychiatric community debunked the perceived malady in 1952, the vibrator was thought to be a reliable instrument.
"In light of hysteria's historical legacy, we can see that classifying hysteria as a disease was a refusal to acknowledge female sexuality as a human trait on par with male sexual functioning, as well as a refusal to recognize orgasm as a normal function of female sexuality," Good Vibrations said.
By 1900, dozens of styles of electric vibrators emerged and were available to the discriminating medical professional.
Good Vibrations said, "The staff dreams of the day when all vibrators are proudly promoted as the superior sex toys they are. After all, as a vintage advertisement claims, 'almost like a miracle is the miraculous healing force of massage when rightly applied.'"