A bedroom appliance that can whip up instant orgasms at half the price of a decent food processor doesn’t just sell itself, so naturally Church & Dwight, the company that manufacturers Trojan-brand vibrators — has created a commercial to hype its latest innovation, the Tri-Phoria Personal Massager. Last year, when Church & Dwight wanted to spread the word about a similar item, the Trojan Vibrating Mini Personal Massager, it met with limited success. According to the New York Times, some TV networks agreed to air the ad, but only between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., when the audience pretty much consists of depressed insomniac beagles whose owners keep the TV on all night to mitigate their howling. This time around, network executives have been more accommodating. Comedy Central, Spike, and VH1 have all aired Church & Dwight’s latest ad in… More…

Since the 1960s, the history of sex has transformed from sleazy sideline to respectable subject of academic study. The following is a timeline of the lesser-known scholarly discoveries that inform our erotic thinking today.

 

c. 1700: Sex “invented.”

“Some time in the 18th century, sex as we know it was invented,” writes Berkeley historian Thomas W. Laqueur. Before that time, Laqueur argues, most anatomists accepted the ancient idea expressed by the Greek doctor Galen that there was really only one gender: Women’s sexual organs were essentially the same as men’s, except they were inverted due to a lack of “vital heat.” The vagina was matched by penis, the ovaries by the testicles (“stones of women”), the labia by the foreskin, the uterus by the scrotum. This appealed to classical notions of cosmic harmony, and allowed doctors to argue… More…