10 Fun Facts About the Vibrator

Rep's In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) runs until April 23.


 

(SPOT.ph) Right after staging convent-set play Agnes of God, Repertory Philippines presents a daring show full of double entendres, moaning, heavy breathing, and yes, multiple orgasms. Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) is exactly about what its name suggests—the vibrator. The production, which is directed by Chris Millado, runs until April 23 at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

 

 

It is based on the actual history of the vibrator, which was invented at the dawn of electricity in the 1880s, and follows the interesting medical procedures of gynecological and hysterical disorder expert Dr. Givings (Joshua Spafford). Other members of the cast are the lonely and unhappy wife of the doctor Catherine Givings (Giannina Ocampo), the anxious and depressed Sabrina Daldry (Caissa Borromeo) and her stiff husband played by Hans Eckstein, the ever-dependable assistant Annie (Tami Monsod), the passionate painter Leo Irving (Jef Flores), and the pitiful wet nurse Elizabeth (Cara Barredo). We don't want to spoil anything, but this hilarious dramedy is definitely a must-watch, especially for all the underlying themes on feminism, motherhood, and marriage subtly injected by the playwright.

 


 

In the meantime, we round up the things about the electromechanical apparatus that we definitely didn’t know prior to watching Ruhl’s masterpiece.

 

Until the 20th Century, men believed that women did not experience sexual desire.

And that it’s the wife’s duty to make their husbands “happy.”

 

Ironically, it was observed that Victorian-era women suffered from "hysteria" (a.k.a. sexual frustration).

This “ailment” even had symptoms: anxiety, sleeplessness, nervousness, erotic fantasies, bloating, and wetness between the legs. Hysteria comes from the Greek word hystera, which means uterus.

 

The prescribed treatment was a "pelvic massage."

This massage was done by Victorian-era doctors to induce "hysterical paroxysm" (a.k.a. orgasm) and supposedly relieve the supposed fluid buildup in the uterus.

 


 

Another treatment was the "hydriatic massage."

Paroxysm was also achieved by spraying water to the pelvic area. This method was used as early as the mid-1700s in bathhouses.

 

This diagnosis goes all the way back to Hippocrates in 450 B.C.

Famed sex historian and author Dr. Rachel Maines traced the history of sexuality through the seminal 1999 book The Technology of Orgasm. This was also the basis of Ruhl's play.

 

Obviously, hysteria treatment was very taxing for doctors.

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Imagine having to manually do "pelvic massage," which according to them would take an hour before reaching this so-called hysterical paroxysm.

 


 

The first model of the vibrator came out in 1734.

It looked like a crank with an egg beater. Definitely not inviting.

 

Then there was the steam-powered vibrator.

Called the Manipulator, it was invented by Dr. George Taylor in 1869. The engine was hidden in another room while a part of the huge machine—as big as a dining table with a vibrating sphere—stuck out of the wall.

 


 

Thank God for Thomas Edison.

When electricity came into the American homes, Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville invented the electromechanical vibrator in the 1880s. It was portable but had a wet cell that weighed about 40 pounds. Still, it reduced the duration of the process from one hour to less than five minutes.

 

By early 20th Century, plug-in and battery-powered vibrators hit the market.

Hysteria treatment was no longer left to doctors, as more women bought their own devices. These were even advertised in magazines as "personal massagers."

 

 

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) runs until April 23 at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Tickets, priced from P600 to P1,000, are available through Ticketworld.

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