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Timeline of Sex Toys

Sometimes it seems like sex toys were invented in 2002. In fact, they’ve been around for millennia. From carved dildos decorating the streets of Pompeii to the first strap-on to hand-crank vibrators, here are the sex toys that will make you glad you just have to sit back, relax, and select priority shipping.


J. Liptak


26000 BCE


In 2015, a 28,000-year-old siltstone phallus from the ice age was discovered in Germany. Nicholas Conrad, lead investigator at the site, suggested that it was symbolic of male genitalia (based on markings) but also could have been used for knapping flints. It is currently the oldest known potential sex toy in human history. Archaeologists cannot definitively effort that went into finely polishing this tool shows that it was definitely loved. In The Prehistory of Sex, Timothy L. Taylor states that some ice age batons had explicit symbols carved into them.


1900 BCE


Ancient Greece had well-documented uses of dildos and other sex toys (most famously, probably the olisbo-kollix) for any gender’s pleasure. Carved stone phalluses decorating the streets were immortalized in Pompeii in what researchers suspect was an ancient advertisement.


500 BCE


According to Woman by Herman Heinrich Ploss, Max Bartels, and Paul Bartels, the Araucanian people in South America would strap a small bundle of horsehair to stimulate their partner’s clitoris during sex. This bundle was called a geskel and was crafted by the women in the tribe, showing that sexual pleasure was not only talked about, but prioritized.


200 BCE