The history of sex toys is somewhat unclear. Although archeologists have found many items that resemble, for instance, dildos, wands, or Yoni eggs dating already between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago, it’s not sure that they were actually used as sex toys.
They may have been phallic symbols such as lingams, used in religious or other spiritual practices, or simply objects used as household items. Nevertheless, various paintings from ancient Egypt about 5,000 years ago depict the use of dildos in a variety of ways, including for sexual purposes. This also counts for ancient Greece, about 2,500 years ago, where the use of dildos is found in visual arts and in writing, even referenced with the use of the word “toy.”
Later on, as from the 15th century, references to dildos start to appear worldwide, in many countries of Europe, and in Asia, for instance, in China and in Japan.
Of Jade Yoni eggs it’s often believed that they were used by Chinese women to enhance their sexuality, maintain youth, achieve longevity, and channel Chi (Qi or Life Force) for a range of health benefits. Yet, whether Jade eggs existed and/or were actually used in ancient China or not — within Taoist sexual practices or otherwise — has not been proven so far.
BDSM practices in which whips or other items were used for sexual pleasure go far back. Evidence hereof is found in periods dating already 3,000 years ago, in Greece and in ancient Rome, but also in India where these practices are described in the Kama Sutra.
Proof of bondage activities with rope for sexual purposes start to appear in the 14th century, a practice later being elevated to an art in Japan — called Kinbaku or Shibari — as from the 17th century.
Travel history records originating in the 16th century give evidence of the use of sex dolls by French, Spanish, and Dutch sailors, who, during their long, lonely journeys, used dolls made of cloth for sexual relief.
The electric vibrator came about in the late 19th century and was used as a medical instrument for pain relief, the treatment of various ailments, and for genital massage on women to cure “female hysteria” by bringing about an orgasm.
In any case, sexual activity is of course as old as mankind itself, and it cannot possibly be otherwise that people have always been using aids and tools (or “toys”) to increase sexual pleasure, as a support to having sex, or for sexual healing purposes, even if we don’t find proof of such practices in the past.
Today, the use of sex toys is more popular and widespread than ever before. The sex toy industry is still growing significantly and rapidly, and in recent years, the variety of available toys and the innovation of the industry has considerably increased, with an enormous amount of different toys available online and in-store, all over the world.