History of the condom
As you know, a condom is a protective sheath that is placed on a man's penis to prevent semen entering a woman's uterus, thereby avoiding an unwanted pregnancy. It also protects against sexually transmitted diseases. Modern condoms are made of thin polyurethane or latex. They are available in different sizes, shapes, colors, and varying levels of lubricants.
Not many people know about the history of condoms. Who invented them? Where were they first used? What was the first condom made of? In this article, we will briefly discuss how, where, when, and why the first condom was invented, and how it progressed over the years into its present form.
No-one knows exactly how the name "condom" came about, but it is thought that it may derived from the Latin word "condus" meaning container. Men who had certain diseases and bacterial infections would ejaculate into a container before having sex so that their partners would not become infected.
The condom is actually the oldest form of birth control since recorded history. The first version dates back thousands of years. Egyptian paintings show that the condom was used as far back as 950 BC. Paintings found in Europe indicate the same, although these are obviously not as old as the paintings in Egypt. Nevertheless, historians consider that the condom seen in European paintings can be considered to be the forerunner of the modern condom.
In other parts of the world, leather condoms were used. They were shaped like a pouch and sealed at one end. Japan also has an interesting history of condoms. Some of them were also made of leather while others were made of tortoise shell. In these early versions, it appears that no lubricants were used because there is no mention of this in history records.
In the 15th Century, condoms were first demonstrated to the public in Italy. The purpose was to prevent transmission of the disease, syphilis. These condoms were made of linen. The Italians were so concerned about syphilis that even Roman warriors put tubes on their penises. These were rather barbarically made from the intestines of dead opponents. They sometimes wore condoms made from the intestines of animals.
By 1700, the Romans were manufacturing condoms and selling them to the public. The material used was either shells or leather. The major breakthrough came during the 18th Century when rubber was invented. There was much excitement because this amazing new substance could stretch and it was also impermeable, making it the ideal material for condoms. Semen could not pass through it.
The discovery of rubber revolutionized the manufacture of condoms and, by the 1930s, they became even more sophisticated with the discovery of latex. Modern condoms are now made of polyurethane or latex. Apparently, latex is preferable because they are more reliable and are easily available in most countries. A latex condom can only be used with a water-based lubricant. Any lubricant with an oil base can destroy the latex. Polyurethane condoms are usually used by men who are allergic to latex. They are less flexible and more expensive.