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The 18th century sex toy unearthed in the Polish latrine. Credit: Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments.

Archaeologists unearth 18th Century Sex Toy in Ancient Latrine in Poland

Archaeologists excavating an ancient latrine in the Baltic city of Gdańsk in Poland made an unexpected discovery when they unearthed a 250-year-old sex toy. The construction of the object and the location in which it was found suggests the phallic object was used for personal pleasure rather than for religious ritual.

Discovery News reports that the relic dates from the second half of the 1700s. It measures eight inches and was made of leather, filled with bristles, and constructed with a wooden tip.

The Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments in Gdansk said in a press release that the object was “preserved in excellent condition”.

Dlugie Pobrzeze St., Gdansk, Poland Żuraw (CC BY SA 3.0)

Dlugie Pobrzeze St., Gdansk, Poland Żuraw ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

According to MailOnline, the finding was made in the latrine of an old school of swordsmanship. Previous discoveries at the site included numerous wooden swords, which would have been used for training. In the latest excavation, researchers also uncovered fragments of pottery and jewelry.

Archaeologists have only been left to speculate as to what the phallic object was doing in the latrine.  Marcin Tymiński, a spokesman from the Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments said,whether the sex toy had been dropped “by accident or on purpose is anyone’s guess”.

"It was certainly expensive. Cleaning revealed it was made of high quality leather," said Tymiński. "This is an extraordinary find for people researching the history of erotica," he added.

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Physical representations of the phallus have been around for thousands of years.  The oldest ever recovered dates to the Paleolithic era. Made of siltstone and polished to a high gloss, the phallic object was found in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in Germany and has been dated to about 28,000 years.

Debate rages on about whether its primary purpose was for religious ritual or personal pleasure. Those in favor of the latter, argue that the fact that it is ‘life size’ and polished to a high degree indicates it was used as a sex toy.  

The 28,000-year-old siltstone phallus found in the Hohle Fels Cave.

The 28,000-year-old siltstone phallus found in the Hohle Fels Cave.  Credit: J. Liptak

Historical references to the use of sexual aids date back millennia.  It is known that both male and female Romans and Greeks used phallic objects for pleasure. In Aristophanes’  anti-war comedy "Lysistrata" (411 BC), which tells of one woman’s mission to end the Peloponnesian war, women discuss using sex toys in order to withhold sex from their husbands in an effort to stop the war.

In the Middle East, historical reports refer to Egyptians using camel dung coated in resin as sexual aids.

In the famous collection of folk tales, "One Thousand and One Arabian Nights," which traces its roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature, dildos are discussed as being made from gold, silver, or intricately carved ivory.

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The Greeks are believed to be the first to use leather or animal intestine to cover a carved penis, adding a more natural feel.

Phallic objects were not just used for sexual pleasure however. In ancient Greece, ‘hysteria’ was believed to be a medical condition caused by a meandering and misbehaving uterus caused by a lack of “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasm).  Famous physician Hippocrates believed the condition caused all manner of symptoms, including insomnia, emotional instability, headaches, and general ill health.  Women were instructed to use ‘olisbos’ (stone or wood sex toys) to prevent the onset of hysteria.  

The belief that women could suffer ‘hysteria’ from a lack of sex continued all the way into the early 20 th century with Medieval and Renaissance physicians carrying out ‘genital massage’ of their patients to cure them of their woes.  

For further reading:

Amos, J. (2005). Ancient phallus unearthed in cave. BBC. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4713323.stm

Friday, W. L. (2013). The Long, Strange History of Sex Toys. Alternet. Available from: http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/sex-toy

Woollaston, V. (2015). The sex toys dating back 28,000 years: Ancient phalluses made from stone and dried camel dung started trend for sex aids. MailOnline. Available here.

Image: The 18th century sex toy unearthed in the Polish latrine. Credit: Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments.

By April Holloway

Comments

Logically this is about the most useless shape to enable a woman an orgasm, apart from having to be warmed up firstly.

I strongly suggest that it is a facsimile for other purposes, perhaps just art. Only a person not understanding the female anatomy could come to the conclusion that this is for orgasmic entertainment.

 

 

Not really, it's a penis shape. I have made women orgasm with mine, I'm not the only one... If you need special shaped toys to give a woman an orgasm there is something wrong with you.

So this was found in a school of swordsmanship? How many women swordsmen did they have in the 1700's? Not many I'm guessing.

Moonsong's picture

‘Hysteria’ continued to be diagnosed as a ‘female affliction’ for hundreds of years, up to the 19th century actually. Common methods used to alleviate it included the physician or doctor ‘massaging’ a woman’s private parts to relieve her of the ‘stress’.

- Moonsong
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A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world ~ Oscar Wilde

rbflooringinstall's picture

I would imagine if its smoothed down, its definitely meant for pleasure.

 

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

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