Early coded ad for anal vibrator

This 1943 Amazing Stories ad for an anally inserted vibrator "to treat prostatitis" is the male equivalent of those coded ads for phallic "neck massagers" that ran around the same time and later, gracing the pages of the Sears Catalog and others.

Amazing Stories, February, 1943


  1. I am most concerned with the 30 day free trial. I dont want to be on the “wrong end” of that deal by getting a refurbished unit…..

  2. I assume the “interesting booklet on protatitis” is so you sound convincing when challenged on what the hell you were doing with that thing up your arse.
    Also “30-day free trial”. I’d hate to have been the guy at Dila-therm checking the returns…

  3. Man, hat brings back a memory!

    I was about 6 years old and was thumbing through the Lillian Vernon insert in the Parade magazine in the Sunday paper, when I spied a corn cob with an electrical cord for sale. I thought that it was so weird and cool that I cut out the item and taped it up on my bedroom door.

    My parents acted very strangely about that little item. It was many years before I understood why.

  4. Sometimes a cigar…

    Urology. 2002 Dec;60(6 Suppl):38-40; discussion 41.
    Heat therapy in the treatment of prostatitis.
    Zeitlin SI.

    Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA. szeitlin@ucla.edu

    There is a dearth of literature on heat therapy and prostatitis. The therapies used different energy sources, including interstitial heat and microwaves, and were delivered both transrectally and transurethrally. Most data precede our present system of nomenclature and therefore are difficult to compare, even with the literature of their day. Validated instruments were rarely used to determine efficacy, and most outcome measures were subjective. We will need well-designed prospective clinical trials using objective outcome measures and validated symptom indexes. Until then the use of heat therapy for prostatitis should be considered experimental.


      1. Please, it’s been 72 years now. No more misattributions of quotations commonly misattributed to Sigmund Freud!

  5. I like that it is specifically aimed at men. For the anus. HAHAHAHA. That said, plug in vibrators are good for the environment, none of those wasted batteries! And it give you the strongest vibrations ever. CVS and Walgreens now sell vibrators in the condom section. Some people just need a little more to get off!

    1. It replaced the gasoline powered ones, the pneumatic version, while effective lacked the infrastructure in american homes to support it.

  6. Rachel Maines has written a really good article on the advertising history of these envigorating medical wonders. The article is titled “Socially Camouflaged Technologies: The Case of the Electromechanical Vibrator,” and can be downloaded from the interwebs for free by googling the title.

    There’s even mention of a steampunky “coal-fired steam-powered device invented by a Dr. George Taylor, called the ‘Manipulator.'” Wait until Skynet gets control of that.

    1. What I find disturbing is that women went to doctors for this hysteria (or their husbands sent them) and the doctor basically had to give ladies a hand job. I’m pretty sure even though the abstract says that it was tedious, some doctors were incredibly aroused by giving their female patients handies. I’m more than sure this led to some rape cases and possible extra-marital affairs. WTF history? Just admit you like orgasms. I can’t even imagine getting off by one of my doctors. No thanks!

      1. Maybe you just need a better doctor then?

        Perhaps it was a good thing that women whose husbands were incapable of and/or uninterested in giving them orgasms had a way to achieve release that was reasonably sanitary and socially acceptable.

        Presumably, many of them immediately figured out “Hey, I could do this myself, at home” or even “I could get my husband to do this!”. Just because they were prevented from receiving sex education doesn’t mean they were helpless idiots, unable to connect cause and effect after things were physically demonstrated to them.

      2. for a fun movie, watch “Welcome to Wellville”, where this is portrayed among other health fads of the time.


        The protagonist also gets a gift in the form of an electric excercise belt, “invented by the germans, like everything about sex these days”, a masturbatory aid. Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Kellog, (apparently) health-obsessed real life brother of the cornflakes-magnate.

        1. Hah, I read the wiki. I like all the actors in the movie… It sounds a little crazy and all over the place, but still sounds worth a shot. I like terrible movies and apparently rotten tomatoes didn’t think it was so fresh.

          1. I saw it on TV years ago, and rewatched it a few months ago. It’s a very entertaining TV movie or rental, but I wouldn’t pay cinema money for it, thats for certain. You will see a few familiar faces, and I like a good setting in a film, which this one definately does have.

            Certainly nothing worldchanging in it, but well worth a viewing. BTW, while the plot has its issues, the wikipedia-summary makes it sound far more disjointed that it is…

    2. She also has a book published: The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction … easily available.

  7. “Dildation.” Today’s word of the day.

    Adj. -The feeling produced by using a dildo, often in the anus.

  8. Well, I for one would really love to read their “Interesting booklet on prostatitis.” I mean, how interesting can it be, really?

    (And, in case Cory reads comments, hi from the mom of the baby who refused to play peekaboo with you at the book signing yesterday.)

  9. the phallic looking female neck and shoulder massager is still being marketed/sold today… saw an early morning infomercial for the vmassager last week… and they have a website http://www.vmassager.com (Moderator note: this is one of those pages that talks at you and doesn’t want to let you leave without clicking things.) with lots of videos and animations of women massaging away their stress by rubbing it on their necks and feet and calves… and its cordless and waterproof!

  10. What bothers me is that this was in February 1943. There was a war on! Shouldn’t the electro-dildo factories have been retooled for the war effort?!

    Also, did all men’s magazines have these, or were they being targeted at the nerdy, 4F readership of AMAZING STORIES?

    1. As Corporal Jones would say, “They don’t like it up ’em!”

      Seriously, prostatis is an s.o.b.

    2. Lotta unserviced wives of servicemen stuck at home. While there were still a lot of men in the US who were denied entry to the services because of their race. Hmm. That there potential purchase could get a mighty quick OK from a GI far away from home. Especially under the auspices of a future therapeutic gift for her war-torn GI.

      On a different note, no wonder scientific panels are STILL fumbling to locate the G-spot. That thing needs at least a 130° angle to start gettin’ there.

  11. While these were likely used for some for non-medical usage, prostatic massage is still used by some docs and PT’s for chronic (presumably non bacterial) prostatitis and some other conditions.

    Most studies are equivocal for benefit, this one endorsed it for five patients, with no control:

    Also remember back then the meds were likely less effective than what we had today. So even if minimally effective, it may have been better for nothing. Male pelvic pain of no known etiology is not that unusal today, was worse back then.

    A lot of references on pubmed for “prostatic massage” are more diagnostic than therapeutic.

  12. Considering how a male anal vibrator is pretty niche when compared to a female vaginal vibrator, I’m pretty sure this was a “dual-use” technology marketed towards men for a specific medical issue but most commonly used by women.

  13. I like the “Liberal terms” line in the ad.
    If you can produce a pay stub you can drive it off the lot!

  14. C’mon Cory — you too were intrigued by the “Consumers Distributing” catalogues!

    The “personal massager” was a steal at $20!

  15. “retooled for the war effort”


    This is quite fertile ground for punmanship. Any suggestions as to how this particular device could be weaponized? I’d love to close my eyes and imagine it.

  16. Prostatitis is the worst. It hurts to sit for more than 5 minutes and it last for months and months. Prostatitis is a real condition

  17. German Officer: “What he did not realize was that, in this country, we use 220 volt current. He was found impaled upon a large electrical device. Our surgeons did what they could, but it took them two hours just to remove the smile from his face.”

  18. “30-day free trial”

    I don’t know if i could keep that in my but for a whole month no matter how good it felt.

  19. According to the on-line Vibrator Museum, the electro-voltaic vibrator was the fifth home appliance to be electrified. First used in medical practice in 1878, it was available as a consumer product by 1900.

    A. C. Gilbert, familiar to Americans as the inventor of Erector sets and the American Flyer line of S-gauge model trains, patented and marketed several models of electric “massagers”. More information abpout Gilbert’s contributions to medical science and domestic tranquility may be found at http://www.jitterbuzz.com. The patent may be viewed online.

    The above was presented solely in the interests of historical accuracy and makes no attempt to appeal to prurient interests.

  20. Where can I get one?

    I’ve had hard luck for quite a while now, and anything which may provide some relief would be so gratefully accepted.

    I could even drive up to South Bend and pick one up if the mail won’t accept such a device! What an opportunity!

  21. Sounds solid. Why should it be a sexual device?

    It might sound strange to all desktop jockeys, sitting comfortable behind their desks, or other people who spend most of their time in a nice temperate indoor climate, but there is a lot of men who have to work in cold and damp places and if you work in cold and damp places and are equipped with a prostate, you are doomed to get prostatitis after a few years. If it gets bad enough you have to get your prostate popped regularly, it is kind of like many dogs need to have their anal glands popped. I’ve got prostatitis from working in freezers and coolers, but my prostate have never gotten that bad that it need popping, just that I go somewhere warm for ten minutes when it start acting up, or change clothes if I’ve gotten soaked with water (you don’t want to be soaking wet in -35 ℃ anyhow). But I have many coworkers who have to go to a nurse and pop the prostate regularly. They say it is an really horrible experience. First some kind of heating device is inserted into your anus, so that the fluids get easier to pop, then some stranger insert three fingers into your anus and squeeze and massage until your prostate is emptied. As I’m told it feels like someone popping a really sore pimple, but it is in your anus and by a stranger who is simultaneously expanding your ass to its limits, so that hurts like hell too.

    This device sound like it at least could be used in an early stage when you start to need popping your prostate and then perhaps prevent that it progress to a state where you have to have your ass invaded by a stranger. The vibrating probably empties the fluids from the prostate and warming the prostate make it hurt less (I place a heating pad behind my legs (not in my ass, though), when my prostate hurts badly, it is the only thing that can offer some relief from the pain, I sure as hell don’t get any sexual arousal by doing that).

    1. Not that I doubt the pain of prostatitis and all, but three fingers does not equate to “expanding your ass to the limits.”

  22. ARRGGGHH!!! Damn you Boing Boing!!! Because of this article, I started recalling when I was young lad and would go into my mom’s bedroom to use her “massager” on my stiff neck!!!! Until I read this article I still had never put two and two together to realize just why my mom had kept her “massager” in her nightstand, away from where anyone else in the family who had a stiff neck could use it! NOOOOOOOooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

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