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Sent: 18 August 2011 21:02 Thanks for the citation, Hera! One element in people believing that electrotherapeutic devices of the late C19th and early 20th 'must have' been sex toys is that in the ads, women are holding them up and looking ecstatic. However, I think this should be contextualised within the iconography of adverts for both other electrotherapeutic devices (e.g. women brushing their hair with 'electric hairbrushes' and looking blissed out) and for patent medicines generally (e.g. the happy, happy person who has taken someone's laxative pills). I'd also point out that most quack electrotherapeutic devices didn't actually do anything except presumably activate a placebo response to the supposedly magical curative powers of electricity - I direct attention to the cover of my book /Hidden Anxieties/ with its illustration taken from an ad for electrical belts for men to cure the debility caused by self-abuse (this was an entirely distinct phenomenon from anti-masturbation/spermatorrhoea devices using electricity). I concur with Hera that the presumption that women would not have known what the doctors were up to, they were just that naive about sex, is very problematic. I recently tracked to source a warning by the eminent pharmacologist Sir T Lauder Brunton never to administer chlorofom to a female patient without another person in the room, lest they hallucinate molestation and it turns into a case for the General Medical Council. One might also invoke the furore that attended the introduction of the speculum into the armamentarium of the gynaecologist. Lesley Hall firstname.lastname@example.org www.lesleyahall.net lesleyahall.blogspot.com