For those of you reading Pleasure House, you have probably wondered about some of the gadgets and gizmos used throughout the novel. I had one nice reader who believed that for the time frame of the book (set anywhere in the 1920’s through the 1930’s), the items seemed rather “modern.” Yes, I had that concern, too, when I was crafting the book. Because we don’t have asylums anymore, and people can’t just get dumped in a mental institution nowadays, I had to find a timeframe where this unsettling practice still occurred. To complicate matters even more, I had to determine if my gadgets and gizmos would be too advanced for the time period or not–a tricky thing, indeed.
However, after research, I discovered that many of the instruments, toys, and whatnots were actually hundreds to thousands of years old–their creation and use, that is! Believe it or not, we’re not as modern as we like to think we are.
Let’s take the condom, for example: The first condoms were invented 1000BC! Latex condoms were created in the 1880’s. As the years passed, their use became more accepting and widespread.
Women who bore the diagnosis of hysteria were treated with vibrator-type machines, which were actually the forerunner of the modern vibrators we use today. In 1873 the first electromechanical vibrators were used at a French asylum! In 1918 Sears and Roebuck had ads featuring several models of vibrators one could purchase to use in their home. By the way, if you reallywant to know, stories tell that Cleopatra created the first vibrator out of a gourd filled with bees. Their humming and flitting about created a vibration in the gourd. Talk about creativity in a pinch–yikes! Wouldn’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest, but . . .
Dildos have been used since ancient times and the image of the phallus was etched or painted on many items such as jugs, vases–you name it–hence the dildo windchimes mentioned in my book.
Piercings have dated back to ancient times. The most modern piercing is the navel piercing. The well-known “Prince Albert Piercing” was apparently created by Prince Albert in an attempt to keep his equipment aside when wearing tight trousers, the popular male fashion in Victorian times. Women in upper European societies had their nipples pierced and often wore a chain attached to each ring. They wore their bustline so low one could see their ringed nips and the chain too.
As for loudspeakers–okay, I know that’s not sexy, but just so you know–they were created in the 1800’s, with the modern version beginning in the late 1920’s.
There you have it, readers: our contraptions are old! But I must admit, I love our modern versions with their fine materials and wonderful mechanics. Just remember The House is an advanced place devoted to the creation of pleasure toys, and Thomas informs Rose of just this very thing. Pleasure House allows and condones the use of all these items for fun and kinky play. The nice thing about the characters is that they are also well-trained too. Probably the sexiest “mental health” workers you’ll find! *wink*