Hot History Facts and Hot Fiction

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Sexual Side of Female Hysteria

Have you heard of the medical condition female hysteria? It was a medical condition that many women loved to have... at least in the Victorian Era.

While the supposed female medical condition hysteria has roots in Ancient Greece or Egypt it became very common in the Victorian Era. It was estimated at that time that 75% of women suffered from hysteria. It was the catch all diagnosis. Women considered to be suffering from it exhibited a wide array of symptoms ranging from nervousness to muscle spasms. It is interesting that loss of appetite for sex and the complete opposite increased sexual desire were both symptoms for female hysteria. Also, the tendency to cause trouble is among the extensive list of symptoms.

The treatment for female hysteria was to give the woman an orgasm.  Yep. That's right. Of course, this was done by a trained physician. Because of the private nature of this treatment doctors often treated the women at home perhaps on a settee in the parlor. Common treatments included manual stimulation and hydrotherapy (shooting a jet of water at the vagina, or the use of dildoes. Electric-powered vibrators were patented in the 1870s for use in doctors' offices to make it easier for women to reach the state of "hysterical paroxysm" the technical term they used for orgasm.
illustration of French pelvic douche device of about 1860. This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

Some physicians realized these treatments gave women sexual pleasure and refused to treat cases or hysteria, but many more doctors made a lot of money fulfilling this need. It is not hard to believe that these treatments also stimulated the doctor as well!

As the medical diagnosis for hysteria became more scientific the vast symptoms were narrowed down until WWI when the malady was no longer considered a medical condition.

No comments:

Post a Comment