Playing with "Real Women"

21 Oct, 2022

Playing with "Real Women"

Our alum Bo Ruberg published the article "Playing with "Real Women - A Sexual Prehistory of Realism in Video Games" on ROMchip, a journal of game histories.

From the introduction:

“Woman’s Stomach with Artificial Vagina” reads the bold-face headline of a full-page advertisement produced in roughly 1908. Part of a collection of erotic ephemera that was previously housed in the infamous Private Case at the British Museum, the text survives today in the archives of the British Library, though the advertisement itself is written in French.

While no information about the particular seller who produced the ad remains, research for my book Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies tells me that it was most likely published and mailed by a manufacturer of “rubber goods” (a euphemism for sex-related items made of vulcanized rubber) based in Paris, where many such businesses operated between the 1850s and 1920s. For a small fee, interested customers could write to these businesses to request illustrated catalogs of “special apparatuses for intimate and secret usage by men and women”—as one seller, advertising in the pages of a Parisian newspaper in 1895, described their offerings. Depending on the company in question, these goods could include anything from contraceptive devices like condoms and cervical caps to items clearly designed for sexual pleasure, like dildos, anal toys, and—as evidenced in this advertisement and elsewhere—artificial vaginas.

To read the full article, please check it out here.