History of the Rabbit — Who Invented the Rabbit Vibrator

While sex toys might still generally be kinda taboo in popular culture at large, the Rabbit vibrator is one of the few recognizable sex toys out there, along with probs one other classic: the Magic Wand.

Popularized in mainstream culture with Sex and the City, Rabbit vibrators describe a category of sex toy that has two parts: an internal shaft for vaginal stimulation, and an external set of Rabbit-ears (though more modern design sometimes goes with a singular, wider, clitoral stimulator fin) that stimulate your clitoris. The original Rabbits also boasted a rotating base filled with “pearls” aka beads that added even more stimulation to the opening of your vagina.

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Curious about the history of the Rabbit? SAME. Here’s all the info we could find on the iconic sex toy.

1983: The Advent of Animal Vibrators

Beaver/Kangaroo

Vibratex.com

Sex toy company Vibratex becomes the first to bring dual-action vibrators (with internal and external components) to the U.S, says the company’s owner, Shay Martin. Because the toys were made in Japan, the devices were shaped to look like animals and came in bright colors as to circumvent the country’s laws surrounding “obscenity.” (Other companies made their products in China, which didn’t have the same restrictions, making these happier, friendlier alternatives to the standard vein-y penis dildo appealing to the ladies.)

Martin believes the cute factor of the Rabbit Pearl to be one of the reasons for its eventual success. Prior to Vibratex’s many pink toys, most sex toys came from China and had “the unappetizing color of uncooked hotdogs.”

In ’83, the Beaver, the Kangaroo, and the Turtle (now defunct) debuted, and they all had an internal, penis-like component, along with different types of ticklers for external stimulation.

Interestingly enough, Martin notes that during this time, a now defunct company called Ben Wa allegedly knocked off some of Vibratex’s dual action vibrators, but not the Rabbit Pearl. Instead, Ben Wa focused their efforts on copying the Beaver vibrator, thinking that would’ve been the better seller. Little did they know, the one item they didn’t try to knock off would wind up being such a household name.

While the following toys aren’t made by Vibratex, here are some examples of what beaver, kangaroo, and turtle toys look like:

Beaver Vibe

Pipedream
pinkcherry.com

$29.95

Kangaroovibes.com

1984: The Rabbit Debuts

The Rabbit

Vibratex.com

The designers at Vibratex had been working on a new vibrator that featured revolutionary rotating pearls in the shaft for added stimulation. They settled on a rabbit as the animal for toy, since the rabbit is a lucky charm in Japan, and in honor of Martin, who was born in the year of the rabbit on the Chinese calendar. Sales of the toy were strong when it debuted, but the Rabbit Pearl—the very first rabbit vibrator—didn’t have widespread notoriety…yet.

Soon after, Susan Colvin and her team at adult magazine and novelty distribution company CPLC developed their version of the toy called the Jack Rabbit.

The first ever Jack Rabbit in the 80s

Courtesy of CalExotics

1993: Early Adopters and Innovations

Famed sex shop Babeland opened its doors in Seattle this year and began selling the Rabbit Pearl from the very beginning, says store co-founder Claire Cavanah. In 1997, the store opened its New York City location and began offering the next model of the toy, the Rabbit Habit, which had its battery pack and controls in the base of the toy, rather than a separate attachment. This was kind of a big deal when you think about how annoying it would be to have a cord flapping around—and potentially getting tangled—while you’re trying to get yourself off.

Rabbit Pearl Classic Vibrator

Vibratex
goodvibes.com

$89.99

1994: Rabbit Fever

When CPLC disbanded in 1994, Susan Colvin purchased a small portion of the company called Swedish Erotica and renamed it as CalExotics. Susan brought the design of their Jack Rabbit toy to CalExotics.

1998: Rabbit, Meet Charlotte

Wanting to tie-in some kind of vibrator in an upcoming episode of Sex and the City, representatives from HBO visited The Pleasure Chest in New York City to find out what the store’s best-selling vibrator was. They were told, the Rabbit Pearl, obviously, and soon the teams at HBO and Vibratex connected. HBO sent Vibratex the script for the episode to make sure the toy was depicted properly. In “The Turtle and the Hare,” which first aired on August 2, Miranda lends Charlotte her Rabbit, rendering Charlotte unwilling to leave the house. And thus, the Rabbit Pearl became as coveted as Carrie’s Manolos.

Martin says they received a letter from HBO asking if they could use their Rabbit Pearl in a scene and reassured them that the show would not use the Rabbit Pearl in a way that would reflect poorly on the product. Since Martin and her husband did not have HBO at the time, they didn’t even see it when they aired. It wasn’t until a retailer of theirs sent them a VHS tape of the episode so they could watch the famous episode.

Rabbit Habit Deluxe

Vibratex
babeland.com

$99.99


1999: Sex Toys Go Viral

Adam and Eve

AdamandEve.com

Copycat rabbits started cropping up immediately as sex companies rushed to capitalize on the buzz (heh) surrounding the Sex and the City episode, creating toys with the same dual-action innovation and recognizable bunny-eared shape. But the Rabbit’s crazy success can also be attributed to the beginning of online shopping, which completely changed the sex toy industry by making vibrator buying discreet. Sales soared for sexy products overall, but UK-based adult toy store Ann Summers reported that it sold one million Rabbits in just 12 months when it started its dot com.

2005: A-List Endorsement

Getty ImagesGetty Images

Then-Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria further upped the Rabbit’s cred by mentioning her love for the toy in a 2005 interview with SELF. “I give Rabbit vibrators to all my girlfriends,” she had said. “They scream when they unwrap it. The best gift I can give them is an orgasm.” (Her praise for the device boosted Babeland’s sales of the toy alone 30 percent.)

2006: The Big O

ABC

In June 2006, the Rabbit Habit got the magic fairy dust of solidified success (i.e. Oprah’s stamp of approval) when it was billed in O, the Oprah Magazine as the “Rolls Royce of sex toys.” Baller.

2006: Need a Hand?

This 124-page guide—which helpfully came with free lube—was designed to inspire women to get the most out of their Rabbits with tips on finding your “blended orgasm,” using the vibe for nipple-play, and introducing your toy to your partner.

2006: The (Pseudo) Hollywood Treatment

Rabbit Fever, a little-known UK mockumentary, “followed” the lives of so-called Rabbit Addicts, as in women who found the world’s best-selling vibe so addictive that they literally couldn’t stop using it. Unfortunately, The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw gave the film one out of five stars, calling it “tacky and depressing,” while the BBC found the depictions of female masturbation “embarrassingly inadequate.” What a buzz kill, man.

2008: A Chic Makeover

Stylish sex toy company Jimmyjane added the “Iconic Rabbit” to its lineup of sleek sex toys, borrowing the original Vibratex design but manufacturing the toy all in white. This shiny new Rabbit became part of the company’s “Usual Suspects” line, which features the best of the best from other sex companies but with Jimmyjane’s elegant spin.

2008: Kill the Rabbit

Alabama Attorney General Troy King announced that he was going to single-handedly enforce his state’s “official” sex toy ban, which no doubt would have affected the Rabbit, the top-selling toy of the time. King, who’s a Republican (surprise, surprise…), believed that sex toys were immoral and it was his duty to arrest—yes, really—anyone who used them. In response, former Alabama gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall started a counter-campaign called Toys for Troy, which encouraged women to mail their vibrators and dildos directly to the attorney general’s office. In. Yo. Face.

2009: Take Your Rabbit To-Go

Savvy, jet-setting types could finally take their solo sex acts on the road with the new Rabbit Dancer, a mini version of the original rabbit that comes with a detachable rabbit for compact storage. Though, its small size doesn’t mean some clueless TSA agent won’t fish it out of your bag for further examination.

2015: Different Levels of Rabbit

In 2015, CalExotics revamps the packaging of the Jack Rabbit so users can easily identify the different models. There were starter, immediate, advanced, and pro levels.

Starter Level Jack Rabbit

CalExotics
pinkcherry.com

$44.95

Intermediate Waterproof Jack Rabbit Vibe

CalExotics
pinkcherry.com

$59.95

Amazon

Advanced Thrusting Jack Rabbit Vibrator

CalExotics
adameve.com

$89.95

2017: Bigger Changes for the Rabbit

Lisa Finn, Brand Manager for Babeland, says that the biggest updates she’s seen to the Rabbit in the last five years can be seen through the materials and motor. It’s becoming more and more common to see Rabbits coated in non-porous silky silicone. Newer rechargeable Rabbits are not only better for the environment and longevity of the toy, but also allow more functionality with the motor through thrusting, and G-spot “rocking” motions.

Silicone Thrusting Vibe

CalExotics
pinkcherry.com

$129.95

Greedy Girl Thrusting G-Spot Rabbit Vibrator

Fifty Shades Of Grey
babeland.com

$149.90

The classic Rabbit ears for clitoral stimulation have been worked into design elements in other toys like penis rings, bullet vibrators, and even attachments for other popular toys:

Rechargeable Rabbit Love Ring

Lovehoney
lovehoney.com

$59.99

Rabbit Bullet Vibe

Je Joue
babeland.com

$59.00

Rabbit Wand Attachment

Bodywand
lovehoney.com

$29.99

This article was originally published in 2013 and has since been updated.


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