The history of condoms is the history of human desire to fool nature and indulge in pleasant intercourses without having to have children or getting infected by sexually transmitted diseases (STD). While today we are free to buy condoms in any pharmacy or supermarket and today they are still the most efficient contraceptive device, it has not always been so. Condoms have passed through many phases to become what they are today. Now let’s remind how condoms have become such an important tool in fighting STDs (and lowering the conception rate, as a collateral damage).
Making love in ancient times
It seems that condoms were used even 13,000 years ago, if we are to trust some cave paintings. Some historians claim that the objects on the walls of the Grotte des Combarrelles cave symbolize condoms. We can only assume whether or not this is the case, but it might be so.
Then, one millennium before our era started, i.e. about 1,000 years BC, there is evidence that cloth condoms were made and used in ancient Egypt. According to some historians, the Egyptian civilization was endangered by STDs, so smart pharaohs and priests of that time recommended the use of fabric condoms.
Condoms in modern times
As it often is the case, it seems that already at the beginning of the 15th century the Chinese and Japanese had some advanced methods for making condoms when compared what their European fellows were doing back then. Lamb intestines were the basic ingredient for these condoms. Also, some historians claim that in Japan of that time people used turtle shells as the protection for the glands of their penises.
In the 16th century Italy, which was the cradle of humanism and Renaissance, there was a huge problem with STDs. Thanks to the liberation of the human mind from the shackles of the Middle Ages, people started practicing sexual freedoms, which lead to a higher rate of diseases, especially syphilis. That is why an Italian doctor called Gabrielle Fallopius tried to contribute to the health of his community by conducting an experiment with a linen sheath sterilized with chemicals. It turned out to be a successful enterprise and the spread of syphilis was curbed at least for some time.
As Europe was making huge progress in many fields in the 17tha and 18th century, the condom production methodology also advanced, so the 17th century saw condoms made of animal intestines, which our Chinese brothers were doing three centuries before. The bad side of this birth- and STD-control method was the fact that these condoms were quite expensive, so many people used the same condom over and over again.
With the rise of industry, condom production also changed, became more sophisticated and these protection rubbers became available to larger masses of people. When in 1839 Charles Goodyear discovered how to make rubber, the rubberization of the condom market was launched. Other companies started producing rubber condoms immediately after Goodyear.
As condoms were becoming more and more user-friendly, people started using them more, since they were not that bulky and uncomfortable. In the 1920s, as the Jazz Age and Roaring Twenties ruled the world, freedoms of every kind became even more obvious, which is why the condom market also made a lot of improvements. More attention was paid to the design of packages and brand names.
As it is the case with many things, condoms were also one of the things whose real mass consumption started in the US Army in the period between 1930 and 1945. It reduced the expenses of the Army for treating STDs.
In the 1950s Durex launched the first lubricated condom. Then in the 1960s and 1970s flower power philosophy stood against the use of condoms on the wings of sexual revolution. On the other hand, many people started using condoms exactly in this period, thanks to the development of the contraception awareness and family planning.
However, in the 1980s, with the emergence of AIDS, people got scared and since then condoms have been an inevitable part of many pockets on a Saturday night out.
Today it is very simple to buy condoms. You can go to the local pharmacy to get a package of your favorite rubbers, but you can also order condoms online and keep yourself fully protected from STDs and pregnancy.
The history of condoms comprises some elements of the development of sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics, but it also shows how human mind and society-governing ideas have been changing over the millenniums. Because of the way the world of today looks like, using condoms is a must for every self-conscious and responsible person. Only that way you will be able to relax and protect yourselves from many diseases that could be fatal.