The History of Dildos
Dildos predate recorded history, so no one knows for sure how long they’ve have been around. Archaeologists have discovered thousands of phallic-shaped stone objects called “Ice Age Batons” all over the world, with the oldest known one dating back to 28,000 BC. It measures about 7.5 inches long by 1 inch wide, making it about the same size of many modern dildos.
Dildos first appear in the historical record in ancient Greece, where they proved to be incredibly popular. Greek merchants from Miletus, a port city in what is now modern-day Turkey, became famous for selling high-quality dildos all over the Mediterranean. These early sex toy salesmen helped develop the trading routes that turned the region into the crossroads of civilization. Pottery from 600 BC shows couples using dildos during sex. The Greeks even wrote entire plays about dildos. Herodas’s play Mime VI is a short comedy based on a young woman named Metro running all around town trying to find a dildo she can borrow.
The term “dildo” itself came into use during the Renaissance. It’s unknown exactly whether the term came from the Latin word “dilatare” which means open wide or the Italian word “diletto” which means delight. Of course, it might have come from a blending of the two. After all, “open wide with delight” pretty much sums up the entire purpose of a dildo!
Dildos continued to be popular fodder for writers throughout the years, appearing in a number of scandalous poems and plays in the 1500s and 1600s deemed too obscene to print. Of course that didn’t stop people from sharing them anyway. And several writers – including noted playwright Thomas Nashe – became notorious for their dirty verses. Shakespeare himself jumped on the trend in The Winter’s Tale, joking about dildos as things that keep thumping without ever finding an end. Dildos even worked their way into English politics in the form of an infamous satire called Signor Dildo about a proposed marriage between the heir of the throne and an Italian princess.
Dildos today have been mostly upstaged by vibrators. And dildos are more likely to appear as jokes on late-night TV then respected literature. But you can still find them if you know where to look. William S. Burroughs wrote about a dildo nicknamed “Steely Dan III from Yokohama” in The Naked Lunch. The rock band Steely Dan used it as inspiration for their name.
Dildo History Sources
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