A vibrator is a mechanical device that is designed to generate vibrations.
There are many different types of vibrator, but the most common are vibrating devices intended to touch the body (including insertion in a body cavity), thereby stimulating the nerves and giving a pleasurable and possibly erotic feeling.
Industrial uses of vibrators include:
- In construction industries, high-powered industrial vibrators are used to remove air bubbles from freshly poured concrete. Another type of vibrator can be used to drive piles into the ground.
- Small printing firms will use vibrator tables to square-up a pile of pages after they have been printed.
- In the aerospace and miltary electronics industries, engineers often test electronic circuit cards both individually and in their equipment boxes whilst mounted on a flat vibrating table. The table is driven from a large motor similar to a moving-coil loudspeaker. The frequency of vibration can be random, or specific frequencies can be used to detect and permit the assessment of resonances.
- As the mechanism for a conveyor belt. Basically the belt jerks down and then back whilst not in contact with the objects being moved. Then the belt rises to recontact the object and moves forward, advancing the object. This technique is most commonly used with small particles. A similar technique can be used to achieve a vertical conveyor system using a multitude of tiny suitably-shaped buckets.
In mobile telephones, a vibrator is mechanical device that produces vibratory motion to notice a call, see vibrating alert.
Vibrators for body stimulation
Vibrator advertisement, c. 1910. "The secret of the ages has been discovered in Vibration. Great scientists tell us that we owe not only our health but even our life strength to this wonderful force. Vibration promotes life and vigor, strength and beauty. ... Vibrate Your Body and Make It Well. YOU Have No Right to Be Sick."
According to recent research, it turns out that the electrically-powered vibrator was invented in the 1880s by doctors, who had been ostensibly treating women for "hysteria" for centuries by performing what we would now recognise as masturbating those women to orgasm. At the time, however, not only did doctors regard the "vulvular stimulation" required as having nothing to do with sex, they reportedly found it time-consuming and hard work. The vibrator got the job done more quickly and without such efforts, and as such was extremely popular with doctors. Home version began to appear soon after and became equally popular, only to disappear in the 1920s. It is believed that their appearance in pornography made it no longer tenable for polite society to avoid the sexual connotations of the devices.
In their more common guise as "body massagers", millions of vibrators have been sold to both men and women. Many of these men and women, it should be noted, never use their purchases for anything other than relief from muscular tension or aches and pains. However, the vast majority of vibrator owners use them to attain sexual release through their use, primarily in masturbation, a form of autoeroticism. Vibrators are also used by couples as an enhancement to the pleasure of one or both partners, and are often recommended by sex therapists to women who have difficulty reaching orgasm by other means.
Although many women who use a vibrator express concern over "vibrator addiction", the inability to achieve orgasm without the use of a vibrator, it must be stressed that this effect is entirely psychological; even long term vibrator use does not lead to any decrease in sensitivity of the sexual nervous system.
The sale of vibrators and similar "novelty items" is forbidden in several states in the Bible Belt in the southern USA. In the state of Texas, the sale of devices for sexual stimulation such as vibrators and dildos are technically illegal, but many stores will sell such items provided that the customer sign a statement that the device will be used only for educational purposes.
Types of vibrators
- traditional - Long, straight, and thin, with a plastic coating. Can be in many different colors
- waterproof - Can be used under water
- eroscillator - Oscillating vibrator for stimulation of the clitoris and labia
- jackrabbit - Two pronged for stimulation of both the vagina and the clitoris
- g-spot - Similar to the traditional vibrator but with a curve and often a soft jelly like coating
- egg (also known as the pocket rocket) - Egg shaped vibrator which can be used for stimulation of the clitoris or insertion into the vagina
- plug-in - Unlike most vibrators which use internal batteries, this type has a power cord and must be plugged into a wall power socket to work
- Rachel P. Maines: The Technology of Orgasm, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
- Joani Blank, Ann Whidden. Good Vibrations: The New Complete Guide to Vibrators Down There Press, 2000. ISBN 0940208261.