The EDGE Blog

Hot Sex Toys From History


Let’s be honest: things from the past are usually a bit rubbish. Cave paintings might be pretty cool when you consider the rudimentary tools with which they were painted, but they aren’t a patch on Netflix. Likewise with sex toys: despite the Herculean efforts of people from the past to create hot sex toys with which to tease and excite their partners, the outcomes were often disappointing. Occasionally downright dangerous. Still, like cave paintings and ancient sculptures, they’re pretty fascinating to look at. So let’s have a quick peek at some hot sex toys from history…

Stone dildo

Naturally one of the earliest sex toys was one of the simplest: the dildo. Fashioned out of stone, one of the earliest examples was discovered in 2005. Researchers dug up a 20cm long phallus, carved to look fairly realistic. It’s worn with age, which is understandable, given that it’s estimated to be over 28,000 years old.

Goat eyelid cock ring

Hat tip to for this weird and wonderful example – which you might not want to read if you’re eating your lunch or prone to feeling squeamish. In their article on the history of cock rings they explained that in ancient China examples have been found of cock rings made from goat eyelids. Probably a bit of a misnomer for us to include this in the ‘hot sex toys from history’ article, but seeing as we’re not planning a ‘grossest sex toys from history’ article any time soon, here’s as good a place as any.

Steam powered sex machines (AKA literally hot sex toys)

Moving on to a more literal interpretation, let’s check out a couple of steam-powered gadgets and gizmos that (perhaps unintentionally) raised the bedroom temperature in more ways than one. Thanks to Gizmodo for the examples, which range from the pretty awesome (the Oster Stim-U-Lax is a vibrator that you strap to your hand) to the slightly terrifying (a steam-powered thrusting machine, which dates from 1891, and is literally named ‘the Manipulator’).

Visual aids

These days we probably wouldn’t put porn into the same category as the hot sex toys that live in our bedside drawers. But some of the erotic objects created in the past are so beautifully tactile that they should definitely fall under the ‘toy’ rather than ‘picture’ category. Some of the most fascinating examples of these are found at the Wellcome Collection, which ran its Institute of Sexology throughout 2015, and showcased some really cool things. Check out their image gallery, in which you can see some examples of erotic art including a delicate and detailed shell carving of female genitalia.

Sex dolls

Naturally sex dolls feature heavily in the history of hot sex toys: the Atlantic reports that in Japan sex dolls are still often known as ‘Dutch wives’ – “A reference to the hand-sewn masturbation puppets made by the 17th-century Dutch sailors who traded with the Japanese.” Apparently they weren’t the first, though. Others credit the invention of the modern sex doll (a doll which looks vaguely like a partner, and is at least roughly the same size as a human) to French sailors creating what they called a ‘Dame de voyage’ – basically a lady who could partner you on your travels. She was made out of rags, which sounds a bit of a shame, but luckily these days we have much more satisfying materials – not to mention technology – at our disposal.

Hot sex toys from the future

We’re literally in the future now – we’ve gone past the date that Marty McFly went back to in Back to the Future II. Although we don’t have self-lacing shoes yet, and our hoverboard technology is still lacking, what we do have are sex toys that do things our ancestors couldn’t even have dreamed of. Amazing couples sex toys that stimulate two people at once, PulsePlate™ technology that sends deep, oscillating vibrations through the penis: the hot sex toys of the present are pretty incredible things. If you fancy picking something up that beats anything your great-great-grandparents could have used, check out PULSE II DUO or PULSE II SOLO, and thank your lucky stars that these days we have silicone, rechargeable batteries, and other technological improvements to enhance our sex lives.

More from The Edge

Get Under the Sheets with us

Subscribe to our newsletter