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History of an Icon: The Magic Wand

By: Lisa Finn & Carol Queen, PhD


This Masturbation Month, we’re highlighting a best-selling and well-loved sex toy with a badass feminist backstory. When it comes to sex toys, there are a few popular names out there, but none that have been so prominent in popular culture as the Magic Wand – in fact, it’s commonly referred to as “the Cadillac of vibrators.” The iconic silhouette of the toy is instantly recognizable: it’s hit the mainstream with appearances on TV shows and movies, on your social media feeds, in porn. It’s had a Twitter account since 2009! Plus, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the story of someone finding it in their mom / aunt / even grandma’s bedside drawer and not realizing what it was until they were old enough for that ahaaa! moment, because – yes – it’s been around for a long time.

So, let’s start there and rewind to the late ‘60s. A Japanese-based corporation named Hitachi that now makes everything from cyberware to industrial equipment (yes, that Hitachi that you’ve seen on the side of cranes and forklifts) releases a microphone shaped massage tool with a long plastic handle and a rounded vibrating vinyl head. Designed and marketed as a “personal massager” for sore muscles in the neck and back, the Magic Wand and (a few years later) the redesigned “Workout” massager, looking pretty similar to the one we know today, hit shelves of department stores and pharmacies in the American market.

wandAnd that’s where New York-based artist and sex-positive pioneer, Betty Dodson, got her hands on it – and made the Magic Wand quickly gain popularity for uses other than “sore muscles.” From the early ‘70s and into the 21st century, Dodson hosted a series of interactive classes called Bodysex Workshops, where women were encouraged to explore their pleasure through learning all about masturbation in a hands-on (pun intended) way – with the Magic Wand playing a prominent role in helping these attendees discover the wonders of clitoral stimulation.

JoaniWhen Good Vibrations opened its doors in March 1977, becoming only the second woman-owned sex toy shop in the US (alongside Eve’s Garden), founder Joani Blank championed the Magic Wand. Though the store carried a few other vibrators, the Magic Wand was a customer favorite—as it is to this day. When Joani couldn’t wait for the next shipment of wands because she was running out of stock, she’d hit up shops in San Francisco’s Japantown and extend her inventory that way. When Good Vibes had grown large enough to print a mail order catalog—they knew it was needed because they got so many phone calls from tourists who’d returned home and wanted to buy a Magic Wand by mail—the cover art was a sweet drawing with an overall-clad person holding a Hitachi behind their back like a surprise bouquet of flowers.


In 1999, the Hitachi Magic Wand left the market – leading to price gouging on eBay (which was just starting up at the time), retailers driving across state lines to try and find any stock they could, and a lot of frustrated fans of the toy. So, in 2000 Vibratex, a sex toy company with Japanese roots - also applauded for bringing the first rabbit vibrator to the US market years before - took over distribution.

In 2013, the “Hitachi” name was officially dropped from the toy, and with added improvements to the motor, components, and durability of the toy, the name officially was changed to simply be the Magic Wand – the #TrueMagicWand – that we know and love today.

Since then, though the original design is still available (and is just as popular as ever), Vibratex took to making new versions of the toy, though each stayed true to the original concept: a long plastic handle topped with a rounded head, and a powerful rumbly vibration that continues to earn it a cult following.

In 2015 came the Magic Wand Rechargeable, solving the often pointed out dilemma facing anyone that didn’t have an easily accessible outlet near their bed. With easy-to-use inset buttons, two additional intensity settings (4 in total), an added 4 vibration patterns, and – of course – the ability to use it either cordless or while it’s plugged in, the Magic Wand Rechargeable quickly skyrocketed to the best-sellers list at Good Vibes and has not left it since.


A bit later, in 2019, came the Magic Wand Plus – a sort of hybrid between the Original and Rechargeable, offering the softer silicone head and multiple intensity settings like the Rechargeable, and the powerful plug-in power source like the Original – the Magic Wand Plus is a bit of the best of both worlds.
Then in 2022 came the Magic Wand Mini – a compact version of this beloved toy. This rechargeable 3-setting wand delighted both first-time vibe shoppers and Magic Wand enthusiasts alike, since the smaller size and lighter frame makes it easier to take on-the-go, can be a bit easier to wield, and doesn’t compromise on power.

When it comes to the Magic Wand’s iconic shape and power, there have been many dupes and fakes littered around the internet – but there is only one #TrueMagicWand brand, and we’re proud to be able to bring you the incredible pleasure and sensation that only the real thing can provide.

So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try and see (and feel!) for yourself just why this toy is deserving of all of its praise, and experience a #True piece of sex toy history.