December 5, 2020
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History Of Condoms

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Condoms

The condom is a boundary technique for contraception that can avert unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. A male condom is a thin sheath that is put over the male’s erect penis before sexual intercourse to avert firsthand contact of the penis with the partner’s skin, mucosa, and genital discharges. Condoms have been in presence for a great many years. However, they have just begun to become widely utilized within the past one hundred years.

Condoms During Ancient Times

Throughout the ages, people have tried to find ways of preventing conception and sexually transmitted diseases. Obvious methods, such as withdrawal, the rhythm method, douches, and sponges were used, as were various predecessors of today’s condom. In ancient Egypt, a linen sheath was used as protection against troublesome insects and tropical diseases. The Chinese tried to prevent infection by wrapping oiled silk paper around the penis, and the Japanese had leather and tortoiseshell sheaths. The Romans used tampons that had been dipped in herbs and condoms made of goats’ bladders.

Condoms In The Middle Ages

The history of condoms in Europe begins in the sixteenth century when the sexually transmitted disease syphilis reached epidemic proportions. In the 1500s, an Italian doctor discovered that a linen bag drenched in a solution of salt or herbs formed a protection against the disease. In the eighteenth century, linen and silk condoms were used, as well as sheaths made of lambs’ and goats’ gut. To prevent them slipping off, a ribbon on the open end of the condom was tied around the penis. The sheaths made of bladder or gut could be used more than once. They are sometimes seen hanging on a hook or a clothesline to dry.

Origin Of The Name

The word condom is probably derived from Latin “condus” meaning receptacle. Another explanation is that the gut condom was invented by an English army doctor in around 1645 and that the word is a corruption of his name. We do not know who invented condom, but we do know that they were in use. There is evidence of this in writings. The latter, a Scottish lawyer, and writer protected himself against sexually transmitted diseases by using a linen condom. During a visit to an Amsterdam brothel in the 1700s, he drank with a prostitute, but the encounter went no further as he’d left his “protection” behind. When visiting a brothel in Marseilles, the famous Casanova tried the so-called “English raincoats”, and spoke of reaching great heights.

Latex Condoms

Manufacturing with rubber kicked off during the Industrial Revolution in America, and in 1839, Charles Goodyear invented rubber vulcanization. The first condoms made of rubber were made in 1855. By the 1860s, rubber condoms were being mass produced. Skin condoms were still more popular though because they were cheaper and the early rubber ones tended to fall off. In 1920 came latex, made using a process with rubber suspended in water. Latex condoms were cheaper and easier to produce and so replaced skin condoms in popularity. During World War 1, the United States and Britain were the only countries in Europe who did not provide condoms to their soldiers. By the end of the war, documented cases of syphilis and gonorrhea in the American military skyrocketed.

Back then, syphilis killed more people every year than AIDS at its peak. There was an awful lot of money spent on treating troops. Learning from its mistakes, the US military jumped on board in World War 2 and distributed condoms to soldiers. Shortly afterward, Britain made up for being slow on the uptake by creating the very first lubricated condom, produced by Durex in 1957. Condom use surged, with 42% of sexually active people between 1955-1965 relying on them for birth control. Widespread use of penicillin and the contraceptive pill saw condom use plummet until the ’80s and the emergence of AIDS.

 

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