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Why Is Sex Fun? And did those Victorian docs really use vibrators on their patients?

The Discovery Channel is just ran an episode of Curiosty called "Why is Sex Fun?" The website has several clips from the show about brain activity during orgasm, intercourse as seen on a sonogram and the giant swath of genital real estate known as the clitoris. They're pretty interesting, although I could do without the intense rumbling 'orgasm' music and the soft-focus camera work. The 3-D graphics blow our junior high health class films out of the water, though. In a bit of genius synergy, the show is hosted by smart/sassy/sexy Maggie Gyllenhaal. Aside from her excellent sex-on-film credentials, she's starring in a new movie called "Hysteria," about the early days of the vibrator-as-medical-tool. It's a subject she also covers in one of the videos here: the practice of Victorian physicians curing their female patients of 'hysteria' by bringing them to orgasm with one of these gizmos.

As popular as this idea has become, even in this very blog, its veracity is under some serious dispute by sex historians. For one thing, it was hard to imagine this took place in a climate where doctors were extremely nervous about being accused of sexual impropriety with their patients. Do check out this article from Cory Silverberg, and a fascinating collection of Victorian sex myths and facts.