People in history – they liked sex. Imagine that. However, sex leads to kids and not everyone wants kids, or mass quantities of them at least. As controversial as birth control is today, the concept has been around since before the Bible.
Speaking of the Bible, there are multiple references to the use of coitus interruptus as a means of contraception. But that’s not really why you’re reading my blog post. You want to know about the nasty, crazy stuff. (Can’t say I blame you…) I will not disappoint. J
In ancient Egypt, they had several interesting methods to keep from becoming pregnant. A gummy substance was applied to the cervix to prevent sperm from getting in. One of the ingredients for this substance…crocodile dung. I can’t but wonder what that would do to a woman’s delicate pH balance downstairs. Yikes.
But women weren’t alone in subjecting their naughty bits to bad stuff. Men in Greece were reported to rub juniper berries on their business before getting down to it. I can’t help but wonder how effective that really was. Plants were relied on a lot through history to prevent pregnancy. There was a specific plant, called Silphium that was found to be kind of like the birth control pill for keeping someone from getting pregnant. Unfortunately, in 1BC it became so popular it was harvested to extinction.
There are a couple of modern inventions we use today that have roots going way back in history. First of all the diaphragm. Back in the day, they would cut a lemon in half and clean out the pulp. Not only did the shape of the halved fruit prevent entry into the cervix, the acid killed the sperm.
The sponge was a popular way of contraception. Many different substances were used, usually based off of where the person lived and what was easily accessible. Everything could be used from cotton to sponges and even wool. To think I can’t even wear a wool sweater for the way it irritated my skin… *wince*
Finally, the all popular condoms. They’ve actually been around since ancient Egyptian times when men used animal intestines as condoms. Kinda makes you wonder who came up with THAT idea first. Later in the 16th century, they came out with linen condoms. It was really mainly to prevent the spread of disease more than prevent pregnancy, though I can’t imagine a thin scrap of fabric doing much of either. Casanova was reported to use this kind of condom, tied at the base with a pretty bow. How dainty.
Rubber condoms were first introduced in the late 1800’s and were not the disposable kind we’re used to today. No, these came in a specially designed box where they could be washed after use and tucked away for another ‘special occasion’. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. 😉
They definitely had some pretty interesting ways to keep from getting pregnant so many centuries ago. And while I shudder at the thought of slathering animal dung where the light of day will never reach, I think it’s a much better alternative to a whole gaggle of kids.
So…would you do it?