Historical story

Erotic toys in pre-war Poland [18+]

"What was this not already found in the vagina, urethra, and even the bladder? Pencils, candles, thread spools, carrots, pins of all kinds, corks, glasses, toothbrushes, ”Dr. Paweł Klinger mentioned in the tone of an expert. For readers who found the list more like a general store assortment than a collection of sex toys, it had a brief explanation. When it comes to masturbation, anything is possible.

“Among the female sex there was and is widespread use of foreign objects for masturbation purposes, most often imitating the male sexual organ (...). Hirschfeld even describes the case of a bottle that was stuck in the vagina of a masturbator, which the doctor managed to remove from there with great effort, ”continued the author of the book Vita Sexualis, published in 1930. The truth about human sex life . For him, it was a curiosity in the field of sexology. For masturbation busters - the real problem.

“Onanism, as well as sexual abuse in general, is associated with consequences in women as dangerous as in men. And some doctors say that it is even more harmful for women " - emphasized the German pseudo-experts Jonathan Braun and Beniamin Rosenblum. Their Polish colleague August Czarnowski even knew the solution to this puzzle. Quite simply, "women who masturbate are usually less ashamed than men." As a result, they let go of any moral brakes and they quickly slide to the bottom of the onanistic abyss.

"Read". Illustration from the pre-war erotic magazine "New Decameron".

Editor of the brochure Marnopłcenie - Onanizm he was deeply convinced that the average female masturbator was not satisfied with her own fingers. The girls succumbed to an addiction appropriate to their gender - TOOL CHANGE . According to the classification created by Hermann Rohleder, it was one of the four varieties of onania - next to self-smear, mutual stain and spiritual stain. Women took a liking to her as a result of "the very structure of female sex tools". To satisfy their urge, they grabbed "all sorts of handy items."

Another moralist, an anonymous author of the book Sins of Youth , published in 1928 , mentioned the use of, inter alia, "wrenches, sticks and the like, which makes the consequences of their recklessness even more disgusting and terrible" . If all this was still not enough, the onanists would, for example, do… tailoring corrections. And it was not about driving away dirty thoughts. Czarnowski explained that "with the intention of masturbating, the female sex often deliberately stepped on a sewing machine with her feet and rides on a wheel." Carousels ("turnstiles") and artificial mounts were supposed to work similarly.

"Pochwidła" cultural and improvised

In fact, few women have had as much imagination as eminent (otherwise) masturbation theorists. A horse, a rocking horse from a tree - was just not enough for her. If, however, she wanted more sophisticated sex toys, she had to work a bit.

Artificial penises were nothing new. Their availability is already confirmed by medieval church legislation. In the 11th century, a woman faced a three-year penance for using a dildos (read more about it in a separate article). One thousand years later, in Poland, similar items were considered… exotic exhibits. Paweł Klinger wrote about an artificial member like the Holy Grail. "I myself had the opportunity to see this type of camera at an optician (!) In the provinces," he boasted to his readers.

Perhaps he would have come across more sex toys if he knew where to find them. Instead of seeing an optometrist, he should go to the nearest condom dealer and ask for something special.

"Act of a Sitting Woman." Erotic postcard from the collection of the National Library.

“Characteristically, a whole range of 'secret agents' advertised as preventing conception are actually used for the purposes of ipsation (onania),” explained Magnus Hirschfeld and Ryszard Linsert, authors of Prevention of Pregnancy, published in 1933. Means and methods . Although their book dealt with the situation in Germany, it had to be similar in Poland. The following wrote about one of the discovered devices:

We have been reported on many sites about mysterious knobs that are inserted into the vagina when immersed in an acidic liquid. However, more detailed research has shown that these are masturbation knobs, widespread in the East, known to every ethnologist (...). When inserted into the vagina, they hit one another, causing shock and therefore exciting.

The anti-stress effect - if it was possible to speak of it at all - was nothing more than the icing on the cake. A similar camouflage, of course, made it easier to reach clients. The cultured housewife was sooner ready to ask the seller for an unusual contraceptive than for a fancy sex toy. However, that was only a side argument.

Woman in the Rain. Illustration from "New Decameron", 1924.

First of all, the sale of any sexual accessories was strictly forbidden in Germany. It was treated in exactly the same way as distributing pornography. Point 3, Paragraph 184, of the Criminal Code of the German Reich of 1871 provided:

Whoever displays objects for illicit use in places accessible to the public or announces or praises such items to the public (...) will be imprisoned for up to one year and a fine to thousand brands.

The regulations did not specify exactly what "prostitution" is and what items it covers. In the case of masturbation balls, the investigating authorities would have no doubts whatsoever. But they were ready to turn a blind eye to contraceptives. As long as nobody advertised them in the press or on posters. Paragraph 184 also applied to Poles. For almost fourteen years after regaining independence, Bismarck's code was the basis of the legal system in Greater Poland and Upper Silesia.

Temptations of loneliness ... "Światowid", 1929.

Finally, in 1932 it was replaced with a new, nationwide penal code. Much has changed in it, but not the sex toy regulations. You could still be jailed for selling artificial members - even for two years. Nevertheless, there were many willing to take the risk.

Jewish dildos in Polish hands

Stanisław Trzeciak, the author of the brochure Pornography, a tool of foreign agents, published in 1938, listed examples. Jakób Dobrzyński ran an ordinary business:"he sent catalogs with books and toys of a pornographic nature - he was punished by a court for this". The unknown merchant Modzelewski went one step further. He made the way of advertising out of the distribution of sexual accessories: “In a toy store for children and magic arts (...) so-called toys were found. pornographic pranks that the owner gave away as bonuses to buyers. ”

For fear of demoralizing the readers, the author did not provide details and did not explain exactly what items were in the hands of the police. Michał Misiewicz turned out to be a bit more outspoken. In the margins of his anti-arthritis guide, he warned the audience against "putting rubber rings on the root of the penis in order to maintain longer tension" . He also opposed the use of "toothed collars to increase vaginal irritation" . Apparently, both of these funds were on sale in Poland at the end of the 19th century.

It seems that they were mainly imported from Germany. This would be evidenced by the terminology provided by Stanisław Kurkiewicz's sexology from Krakow. In 1906, he wrote that the trade in "irritants, for example, with rubber fingers with a comb around (" Reizringe ") was flourishing. He also mentioned a toy sold under the name "Reizfinger" or "thimble with a circular rubber spur".

He did not think much of this accessory. "I think it takes a woman with a completely blunt affection in the vulva to endure this nasty brushing," he said . It is possible that he was based on an opinion taken from his patients. But it is just as likely that this particular toy just did not fit into his overall concept.

He argued that "a refined (elegant) irritant" is only "imitation (imitation) of a sag:so. priapus, phallus, vagus ”. Although he also mentioned how to create an imitation of ... this imitation:"Rural women and girls sometimes have a stick with a rag knob on the front (free) end." The author also knew the versions intended for lesbian sex. "The rarer method is that between both sexes there is an Intermediary in the form of a long sampler," he explained, "like a flexible candle, for example, with each of its two ends stuck in one of the two sheaths."

When writing about sex toys before the war, one cannot forget about vibrators. But that is a topic for a separate text. The photo shows an operational "Vibrofix" from the 1920s. Device from Kamil Janicki's collection.

A pre-war Polish woman could have made a dildo for herself. Have you bought sex toys gained more popularity then? Hard to say. Trials against traffickers have been far too rare to draw general conclusions from. The fact that the "collars" and "wedding rings" are mentioned in a critical tone also means little. Authors of brochures on masturbation specialized in making up threats and creating panic. They frequently mixed common phenomena with completely sporadic ones. Also, no one conducted surveys on sex toys in the interwar period. And even more so - he did not rummage through hundreds of women in drawers for oblong and smooth items.

Read also about MALE sex toys from before a century!


The article was based on the literature and materials collected by the author during the work on the book The age of hypocrisy. Sex and erotica in pre-war Poland . This book was published as the first book under the brand of "Curiosities of history".