note: This story contains references to sex and sexual devices
of the Victorian Era. If you are uncomfortable with such subject
matter, please do not read this article.
far as we know, Dr. Swift never practiced at
. The character is based on an poster we once saw in the museum,
however his modality of treatment is well documented.
Finally a doctor who knew what women wanted and needed!
"Give it to me baby," may have been said by many
women in Cerro Gordo in the mid-1800s when Dr. Swift arrived in
their town to offer his magical massage treatment with the promise
to heal sicknesses from neck to knee.
|IT PAID TO
ADVERTISE--Dr. Swift advertised his healing powers with
handbills. Because he had no office, he visited his patients
in their homes.
Women with physical or emotional symptoms such as headaches,
emotional instability, melancholy, aggression, depression, feeling
lower abdominal heaviness, muscle pains and other discomfort might
have sought his treatment as these symptoms were considered to be
linked to women's reproductive system.
Victorian Era (1837-1901) physicians referred to these symptoms as female
hysteria from the Greek idea of a "wandering womb seeking
its proper place." The symptoms, according to their testing,
could treated by the stimulation of the female genitals which
induced “hysterical paroxysm.”
It is nice that men
recognized that women must have orgasms, too. The sad part is that
husbands of that time were not trained for this elementary
So while some big city doctors welcomed women in their office
for treatment, Dr. Swift at Cerro Gordo, who lived in the American
Hotel and had no building on which to hang his shingle, went to his
patients' homes to offer comfort and privacy.
Let me give you my address, doctor.
In a society were good
women were not supposed to have sexual cravings, it was quite
acceptable to visit the doctor or to be visited by the doctor when
bothered by symptoms of hysteria. In those times, manual
manipulation was a customary and accepted medical practice. When
male doctors came up with this great treatment in the 1800's, many
women felt in their every day life as if they were guided by angels.
That is why women love men
so much. (Ha-ha)
As we all know, massages do wonders, but this type of massage
is quite unimaginable in today's society.
Some people think that it isn't "sex" without
penetration and because the doctor assumingly did not penetrate,
this form of treatment was just a routine medical procedure.
Well, let me tell you something, my friend. Most women prefer
to reach orgasm without penetration.
But orgasm, specifically the female orgasm, is more than just
muscle contractions after stimulus. It is hard to explain the
complexity of physical and psychological sensations that go on in
the female body before and during orgasm, but it is even harder to
permit oneself these feelings and enjoy every moment of it as it
rocks body and soul.
Even the Holy Bible contains references to sex and passionate
love. The "Song of Solomon," describes many sensation and
joy of lovemaking: "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of
the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my
beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet
the handles of the lock." (Song of Solomon 5:4-5, King
Well, there you go or
actually come. Did you ever feel your bowels to be moved when
someone touched you?
Signs of arousal to sexual
stimulus involve the whole body. First the lung with heavier
breathing, then the heart starts beating faster and forces faster
blood circulation transferring more oxygen into the body. From the
higher heart rate, the body heats up and the skin pores open up with
sweat to cool the body.
The brain is fully active
with control over the body and mind as it sends messages into the
muscles to respond generating repeated muscle contractions and in
the same time come up with the next move and/or fantasy.
Even in modern medicine, it
is well known that increased oxygen level is not only make us feel
energized, but it also helps the internal organs and muscle
structure function at their highest potential.
Sweating also considered a
healthy body response to release excessive heat, stress, and other
It seems only normal then,
that people who limit themselves from reaching orgasm will not only
miss out on the fun stuff, but can also experience stress and
painful muscle cramps.
Even men can get irritated
and agitated and/or aggressive in case they get aroused, but for
some reason, not able to ejaculate. Complaints of physical
discomfort and pain aren't rare either if orgasm isn't completed.
In this respect, women are
not any different. Those who did not experience orgasm after arousal
might feel confusion and disappointment, even lower abdominal pain.
But why, then do only women need to be treated by a doctor?
Because men are not ashamed to seek self-release of built up
tension. Also, there are plenty of females who will perform this
very special treatment for compensation or even free of charge.
We do not know how much Dr.
Swift charged for his house calls, but it is almost certain that he
was very busy even in a small mining town like
, 8,500 ft high up in the
with several thousand people, and only a small percentage of women.
Dr. Swift didn't hide the fact that he reached under women's
skirts to heal hysteria through
the magical power of his fine and gentle massage.
He didn't have to. For
during the Victorian Era, when a good woman was not supposed to have
sexual cravings, this form of treatment was well accepted.
What a treatment!
In the mid-1800s, when Dr.
Swift practiced, he was limited to the use of his hands. This was
time consuming work. Because of this, by the time he made his rounds
treating the hysterical females in
, he found that the patients at the beginning of his list needed
However, other doctors of
the time felt they couldn't handle the demand by manual methods
Were women really so sick
It seems they were both.
Business was so good that doctors had more patients than they could
handle. In 1883 a British physician, Dr. J.M. Granville, developed
the perceteur or mechanical vibrator.
The vibrator eventually
became one of the earliest devices to be converted to electricity. First
was the sewing machine in 1889, followed by the fan and toaster.
Electrification of the vibrator beat out the iron and vacuum cleaner
by a decade.
Early electric vibrators
were strictly for professional use in the doctor's office, but as
technology improved and the size of the vibrator got smaller, the
devices were sold by retailers such as Sears, Roebuck and Co. and
discretely advertised in women's magazines of the time.
But if treatment was so
simple, why does not the husband do it? Where were the husbands?
They were standing right
where they supposed to, behind the closed bedroom doors with their
open wallet to pay for the treatment.
Orgasm should be part of the wedding vows where men promise
to their future wives that "I will make you come at least once
a week for the rest of my life."
At least then, husbands would not have to spend money on
doctors or medical equipment like vibrators. And women would not
have to take valuable time away from their housewives' duties like
cleaning and cooking in order to heal themselves.
In fact, we can conclude
that masturbation is nothing less than natural healing for hysteria
recommended by physicians. Hysteria was not officially removed as a
disease by the American Psychiatric Association until 1952.
So ladies, don't complain
of pain when the treatment is in your hand.
Dr. Swift and his satisfied
"Love Machines-The Secret History of a Mass-Market
Magazine, Issue 7.01, January 1999
again? In pursuit of orgasms by artificial means..."
Karen Poetker, Roving Reporter
Technology of Orgasm: Hysteria, the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual
Rachael P. Maines