PompeiiOnce upon a time, human beings were enjoying an unprecedented rise in the advancement of their civilization during the period of the Roman Empire. One day, Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the vibrant, port city of Pompeii and all its inhabitants in ash, preserving a remarkable record of ancient life. A religion called Christianity came along, defined in part by an influential figure called St. Augustine who wrote about his own self-loathing guilt and prudery, and the Roman Empire ended.

Hundreds and hundreds of years later, some people started digging around looking for the ancient city of Pompeii, and were excited to find it, and thousands of its remains. Each item they gleefully uncovered gave them a better idea of life within the Roman Empire. Then something happened that wiped the smiles off their sober faces. They began finding erotic objects, paintings and art, brothels, bathhouses and such. On and on it went, phallus after phallus, to such an extent that the people were embarrassed and hid away much of what they found out of the prudishness they owe to Augustine’s Christianity. It was hard for them to avoid the conclusion that the Romans were a bunch of horn-dogs.

Since then, a free speech revolution and a sexual revolution have liberated society somewhat, and the Secret Cabinet holding the sexy items found at Pompeii has been opened to the public in Naples, Italy where the recovering puritans of our society can see what an unrepressed sexual culture looked like.

PhilipsIt seems that some of the remaining prudery in our society may also be disappearing. In the latest sign that we are becoming again more comfortable with our sexuality, consumer electronics giant Philips announced today that they’re introducing a range of sex toys, starting with this ‘Intimate Massager’, a “foreplay product for couples”. Philips is going where no other mainstream electronics corporation has dared to go – into the ever-enduring market for human sexuality:

The company says it believes the European market for sex toys is 280 million ($390 million) per year and growing rapidly. The “Intimate Massager” resembles a vibrator but is oblong and crafted to fit easily in the palm of a hand.

Take that, Augustine! No longer are we pretending that people don’t have sexual urges, or that their desires are wrong, or that human sexuality should be pushed down, hidden, or supressed. Could it be that many other mainstream electronics companies will follow suit, and help to make sex toys as ubiquitous in our society as phallic wind chimes were in Pompeii? Sex toys have joined washing machines, microwaves, computers, cameras and light bulbs as the ordinary products found in households across the free world (except in Alabama). Now, they’ve gone mainstream. Like the inhabitants of the ancient world – as exhibited so lucidly in Pompeii – we will now have sexual objects lying around in droves, someday to be discovered by some future society who will learn much about us by digging up traces of our sex lives.

How much fun to be there when they dig up our Philips. Bzzzzzzz.