As we've already covered, sex toys are really mainstream. No longer something you can only find in creepy back alley joints usually run by even creepier men, sex toys can now be found sitting pretty next to the condoms and lube in your favorite drug store. Not too shabby, eh?
But now with 3D printing on the horizon (I know; it's news to me, too), if you can print your own sex toy at home, will that be the end to an industry? And more importantly would you even print your own sex toy?
Before we totally jump the gun on this, and start imagining the perfect vibrator that we'd create and print out, let's take a look at a brief history of sex toys. You might as well educate yourself on all those goodies you have tucked away in your "special" drawer.
1. Dildos have been around for a LONG time.
But how long? 23,000BC! Really! That;s the year that the oldest-known dildo is from, but we’re not looking at the type of materials to be used in dildos today. Instead, we’re looking at stone, tar and wood. Two words: ouch and splinters.
2. Cleopatra had one.
We already know that Cleopatra really knew how to over-indulge in everything, and apparently that goes for fancy sex toys, too. According to history (or rumor?), Julius Caesar gave his beloved a solid gold dildo. It’s definitely a step up from wood.
3. Olive oil was the first lube.
As far back as 350BC, people were using olive oil not just to cook, but also to keep things nice and slippery in the bedroom. It was a staple in not just the kitchen, but on the nightstand. I actually dated a guy who swore by olive oil for lube, but the smell always made me hungry instead of horny.
4. Sex toy stores popped up in the 1400s.
Although the invention of the first vibrator was still a few hundred years away, you could easily pick up a dildo at your favorite dildo-making store, at least that was the case in Italy. Those Europeans, man; always ahead of us on the sex acceptance thing.
5. The first vibrator was a medical instrument.
Ever heard of "female hysteria?" Basically, it was women — gasp! — were "crazy" because of sexual desires and oh, I don't know, because they're human. As a means to put an end to this "craziness," the first-ever vibrator powered by steam was created by Dr. George Taylor. It gave women an orgasm and their sanity back.
6. Sex dolls were major assets during wars.
In 1904, the very first rubber blow-up doll was advertised. Once WWII rolled around sex dolls were used to "counterbalance tension felt amongst the troops." Anyone who's ever seen Lars and the Real Girl knows that sex dolls really can do wonders for dudes.
7. Sex toys took center stage in the 1980's.
What lovely little device was introduced to the world in 1983? The Rabbit. (Yeah!) In 1998, Charlotte on Sex and the City couldn’t leave her apartment because of her addiction to the Rabbit Pearl, and by 2006 Oprah Magazine declared it the "Rolls Royce of sex toys." The Rabbit was THE sex toy that not only changed the sex toy industry forever, but became an icon at the same time.
Now with 3D printing becoming a reality, what does that mean for you and the sex industry as a whole? Well, you or you partner could have your penises scanned and made into dildos, as was the case at New York's 3DEA store in December 2012. How do you feel about that? And, if you don't find that disturbing enough, two of the many custom vibrator designs out there for 3D printing are Justin Bieber and Hello Kitty, because of course.
While it may appear, to some, that such technology could put the sex toy industry out of the business, there are downsides to the whole concept, especially when it comes to cleanliness. Not to mention the embarrassment that may come with scanning a photo of your junk to a store to have it created for either your sex life, or maybe just to have it … on the mantle, perhaps. It’s great that the world is changing and evolving technologically speaking, but at some point it just gets to be even too strange to fathom. This might be one of those cases.
So, who out there is down with printing their own sex toys?
Learn more about sex toys below in this infrographic from Pinkrocket.