Reading time: 6 mins
Why, in an age where sex toys are getting smart, are women still using what looks like an ignorant vibrating tennis ball with the handle to seek pleasure?
Haunted by this doubt, I started digging into the past of the object which, in over 40 years of history, managed to bring housewives, feminists and porn actresses together: the wand.
Designed for the sole purpose of relaxing sore muscles and relieving tension, the wand was probably supposed to spend its life locked up in a drawer and get dusted off when needed to bring relief to aching backs and necks.
None of the designers would ever have thought to be working on what would have become ‘the most recognisable sex toy on Earth‘*, able to bring pleasure into thousands of women’s houses. And that would have been featured in several scientific journals, some tv series, countless porn videos and in the hands of Santa Claus.
The wand is a banal electrical, mains powered massager composed of a vibrating rubberized head attached to the main body via a flexible neck, and a single button to select among two vibration frequencies.
The sad medical-inspired design, the rudimentary technology and the crude malfunctions have not been enough to cool off the hot female users.
Apparently, the wand needs less than 60 seconds to warm up the atmosphere, fire up the passion and lead straight to orgasm. Far less than the 20-minutes operating time, after which it overheats and needs a 30-minutes recess to get back up and running. Nothing new under the sheets if you think of it as your vibrating partner’s refractory period.
History of the Magic Wand
The first wand breached the American mass market in the midst of the sexual revolution with no intention of getting involved.
It was 1968 when the Japanese Hitachi listed the device for business in the United States under the illusion of selling an electrical vibrating massager for relieving pressure and loosening tense muscles.
The Hitachi logo and the registered trademark Magic Wand fiercely stood out on the pack.
The Magic breached the female consumers’ heart when the wand was directed to the only part capable of magically relieving the tension of the entire body: the clitoris.
From that moment on, the Magic Wand has become a lot of things but a back massager.
Panacea of pleasure
In the vibrant climate of women’s empowerment, sexologists, sex educators and sex-positive feminists went through extensive research and testing activities to bring to light all the magic wand’s superpowers.
According to several scientific studies and papers, the Magic Wand can do a lot more than just pulling the orgasm out of the hat.
Other than giving multiple orgasms, it seems to be capable of improving female sexual ability and self-esteem; relieving discomfort from menstrual cramps and during childbirth; treating sexual dysfunctions such as chronic anorgasmia and other problems including female sexual arousal disorder.
Staff of Knowledge
The potential of the wand has not been fully exploited until the masturbation master Betty Dodson, American artist and sex educator, has developed a simple magic formula that involves putting a towel over the genital area in order to soften the vibration and prolong the duration of pleasure.
The formula, known as Betty Dodson Method, was applied regularly at the Bodysex Workshop sessions, during which 15 naked women, each equipped with the sceptre of pleasure, were massaging simultaneously following Betty’s instructions to learn the tricks of masturbation and the secrets to orgasm.
Today a different generation of women assemble in Betty Dodson’s apartment on the same grounds, practising with the same wand and a new device, the vaginal barbell.
The (web) story goes that, during a workshop, the Magic Wand would have enchanted the apprentice Dell Williams, American businesswoman and advocate of women’s liberation, sexuality, and sexual health. Going to Macy’s to buy the wand, a ‘pimply twentysomething’ sales clerk embarrassed her asking what she was going to do with it, breaking the magic of the shopping experience. That episode would have inspired Dell to launch, in 1974, the first woman-owned and woman-operated sex store in America. Where every other woman could have bought a Magic Wand without feeling humiliated, to give into self-pleasure without self-loathing.
Master of sales
While the Hitachi staff was developing the instruction manual for the correct use of the massager, the consumers’ word-of-mouth was promoting a satisfactory use, breaking sales record with what had become known as ‘Big Buzzy’ or ‘The Hitachi’.
From 70s onwards, the Magic Wand has been an enduring bestseller in many adult sex toy shops across the USA.
Sin of gluttony
In 1992, in honour of the 15th anniversary of the American sex shop Good Vibrations, the managers commissioned chocolates made in the shape of the Magic Wand to please the guests’ taste buds. On that occasion, Hitachi contributed financing the production and purchasing 500 extra chocolates intended to be given out during the company’s sales conference that year. A sin of gluttony they would probably regret later.
The sales magically rose after the Magic Wand was featured on the small screen. Wingardium Leviosa!
At the dawn of the new millennium, the vibrator showed up in the hands of Samantha Jones in Sex And The City, the series which contributed to setting the trends of a modern lifestyle determining the success of several objects which instantly became the latest must-haves (the rabbit vibrator among them).
Season 4, Episode 8: the Magic Wand (here with the attachment used to stimulate the G-spot) is the last-ditch attempt of Samantha to reach the lost orgasm.
Season 5, Episode 6: Samantha goes to an electronics retailer shop to return her spent wand, similar to the one of Hitachi. She’s welcomed with deep indignation from the sales clerk who proudly states he’s not selling vibrators but neck massagers.
The Magic Wand sold out and disappeared off the shops right after the episode.
In 2004 it materialised again on the telly to launch the fourth season of the comedy series Louie.
In an episode which is also about vibrators and masturbation, the Magic Wand is recommended to Louie as a back pain remedy.
During the first appearance, an elderly woman is rubbing the Magic Wand over her upper and lower back, leaving no doubt about the intended use of the device. In the same way, the final cut to Louie taking his brand new wand out of the pack leaves no doubt about the (less therapeutic) use he intends to make of it.
Since 2012 the Magic Wand vibrates the clit and the vocal cords of the women involved in the video series Histerycal literature by Clayton Cubitt. Every protagonist is seated with a book at the table, filmed while is committed to reading. Meanwhile, under the table, an unseen assistant is committed to distracting her with the vibrator. Needless to say, all the readings end with a happy ending.
For several decades, under the effect of the wand, women arched their back and thrown back their head, bewitched by the orgasm. Until the Hitachi managers decided to turn their head the other way and put every association with the adult toys market behind them.
In 2013, in a prudish attempt to restore virginity and innocence to the brand Hitachi, the company decided to cease production of the Magic Wand. In a desperate bid to preserve its earnings, the distributor company Vibratex persuaded Hitachi to continue manufacturing the device under the new brand ‘Magic Wand Original‘, removing any reference to the company.
Superhero of pleasure
While Hitachi was struggling to return the Magic Wand to its former state of body massager, other companies were trying to transfigure it into a more versatile sex toy manufacturing various attachments to be fitted over the top of the device, capable of multiplying its superpowers.
Since 2015 an artist started photoshopping, in the shadow of anonymity, the great classics of painting by embedding the Magic Wand into the scene, casting light on masturbation, an activity that has been erased from history and pop culture.
That’s how the masterpiece of Hitachi has gone through the hands of Mona Lisa, Napoleon and Santa Claus.
See the whole gallery here: The Magic Wand Throughout Art History
Present and future of the wand
After more than 40 years, the spell of the wand has not yet been broken and is being cast even without the electricity power, thanks to the new rechargeable version.
In the meantime, other sex toy manufacturers have been trying to replicate the formula and the successful sales by copying, changing or reinventing the original wand.
The boldest and most successful attempt is probably the one of the Swedish company LELO, which redesigned the massager aligning design and technology with the modern compact, sinuous and waterproof vibrators. Making the wand smart without losing the Magic.
Goodbye tennis ball. Welcome Smart Wand.
* quotation – Trout, Christopher, “The 46-year-old sex toy Hitachi won’t talk about”, Engadget
 The Magic Wand Original – image via www.magicwandoriginal.com
 Hitachi Magic Wands’ packaging – images via imgur.com – engadget.com – magicwandoriginal.com
 Bodysex Workshop room at Betty Dodson’s apartmente – image via @dodsonandross
 Hitachi Magic Wand instruction manual via manualslib.com
 Magic Wand aftermarket attachments: G Spotter (aliexpress.com) – Flutter Tip (desertcart.ae) – G-Spot and Tri-Spot Embrace (ebay.com)
 Hitachi Magic Wand Original box after its 2013 rebranding- image via engadget.com
 The Magic Wand Throughout Art History – images via http://magicwandarthistory.tumblr.com