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The Hysterical Duchess

aaaHippocrates_rubensWomen have wandering wombs. Or at least that’s what doctors used to think – for a really, really long time.

Hippocrates was the first to come up with the concept of the wandering womb and stated all female ailments could be traced back to this “animal within an animal” (how’s that for flattery, ladies?) whether it be gout or a migraine. In addition to the placement of said womb, the moisture level also impacted the woman and it was oftentimes suggested that an ailment was due to a dry womb (which obviously made it lighter and easier to ‘float’ around the body). Pregnancy was thought to be a good means of moistening it and weighing it back down to its correct position.

This train of thought was taught in medical schools until the 16th century when advancements in medical science proved that the uterus did not, in fact, move throughout the body. The pragmatist in me wonders if any autopsies done prior in those two thousand years would have disproved such a ridiculous notion…

However, all that medical science still did not prove the theory of hysteria – a condition afflictaaahysteriaing the woman’s emotions, caused by a disturbance in the uterus. Only one real method of treatment existed for such a condition and it kept the doctors busy for quite some time. Pelvic massage. Or at least that’s what they were calling it in those days. Really, it was clitoral stimulation, initially done via a doctor’s hands, until the woman was brought to orgasm.

This lead to several problems with local doctors – some expressed frustration with the difficulty in finding the right spot and the length of time it took to bring the woman to relief where other doctors had problems with too many hysteria-suffering patients needing their ministrations and not enough time to make them all better. Granted this service was more often given to single ladies and widows as married women should have had their relief brought to by their husbands (this duchess agrees on this particular matter).aaavibr

After a while came the vibrator. The original invention was actually a steam-powered vibrating apparatus referred to as the “Manipulator” and was such a hit that the vibrator was not only one of the first five home-use items to go electronic, but it was also advertised in the Sears catalog next to all the other electronic home good items that made life a little easier, like toasters and irons. It’s all about priorities really.

So, the next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, blame it on a wandering womb, feign a bit of hysteria and see a doctor (hot, preferably) stat for some relief. Much better relief than two aspirin and call me in the morning if you ask this duchess…  aaaorgasm

13 Responses to “The Hysterical Duchess”

  • Duchess Ashlyn:

    Part of me is sad some of these “hysterical” ladies didn’t discover the magic of their own fingers. No wonder their “wombs” were dry… Oh my, did I say that?

    The pragmatist in me wonders if any autopsies done prior in those two thousand years would have disproved such a ridiculous notion…

    Did they do routine autopsies during those 2000 years? And as far as anatomy students go, it wouldn’t shock me at all if they prioritized learning the male body over the female.

    • Madeline Martin:

      LOL! Indeed you DID say that (and it’s one of the many things I love about you) ;) And I agree, I’m sure then there was more focus on the men than the women. But at least the ladies got some solid benefits from it toward the end. Hehehe

  • Wandering womb! That’s both hilarious and sad. A couple of years ago they made a movie, “Hysteria,” about the first vibrators. I never saw the movie but the trailer was priceless.

  • The first vibrator was steam powered? Ouch!

    J’adore this post, your grace.

  • I saw the movie Hysteria. Actually, it was a decent movie. Yes, a steam powered vibrator. Whew!

    • Madeline Martin:

      Second person to mention this – I think I see a movie I’ll need to be checking out. LOL ;)

  • Jennifer McQuiston:

    Loved the post Madeline! In the Sears catalog, no less.
    Who says the Victorian were prudes???

    • Madeline Martin:

      I know!! LOL Vibrators were made electric even before vacuum cleaners! I have this picture in my head of a woman shopping with her kids getting a toaster and a vibrator and when the kids ask about it, she says, “Oh, it’s just a little something for my hysteria is all.”

  • Leigh LaValle:

    Vibrators before vacuum cleaners. Now, someone has their priorities straight.

  • Her Grace Joanna:

    Loved this post, Madeline! Steam around the lady bits? Makes you thankful for batteries!

  • Alyn:

    Now this was a fun read. It sure made my night.