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Brief History of the Condom


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on: June 09, 2019, 03:15:59 PM
Brief History of Condoms

By Aaron

The use of penile sleeves made from a variety of materials such as canvas, pumpkin, leather, silk, oiled paper, fish bladder or tortoiseshell has been known in many societies since ancient times, primarily for the purpose of protecting against the spread of venereal diseases and avoiding fertilization, rather than magical or decorative practices.

There is no consensus on where the name condom is derived from. Some say that King Charles I commissioned a certain Dr. Condom or Cundum or perhaps Quondam, the manufacture of covers made from animal tissue, probably sheep intestine, as a contraceptive method and to prevent diseases transmitted by prostitutes he used to frequent. It is more likely that the word is derived from the Latin "condon" which means "receptacle".


Condom use 3000 years ago

The oldest known illustration of the condom dates back more than three thousand years and was found in Egypt. It is known that around 1000 BC the Egyptians used a canvas sleeve on the penis to protect against disease.

The use of condoms in ancient Europe

The earliest evidence of condom use in Europe was found in cave paintings discovered in caves in Combarelles, France, dating from 100 to 200 BC.

In the sixteenth century the first written description and essays concerning the prophylactic use of condoms were published in Italy. Its author, the Italian surgeon Gabrielle Fallopius (1523-1562), said in his work entitled "De morbo gallico" (The French Disease) to have invented a canvas condom and its use experienced by 1,100 men, none of whom were infected with Syphilis. Initially its use was oriented at that time towards the prevention of diseases and only years later its usefulness in the prevention of pregnancy was recognized. This condom was a short sheath to cover only the glans.  Later, Hercules Saxonia described the use of a longer canvas sheath previously soaked in an herbal or chemical preparation, which covered the entire penis. We may have encountered the first attempt to create a spermicide for condoms.

In the seventeenth century, five fragments of condoms were found in Dudley Castle, near Birmingham, England. They were made in the 1640s probably from fish gut or in any case from animal tissue. It is presumed that the soldiers of the armies of Cromwell and King Charles I used them during the civil war (1642-1646) to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. They called them "English hats."

In the eighteenth century we find some literary allusions to the condom, the most notorious being those found in the memoirs of the Italian adventurer Casanova (1725-1743) and in the diary of James Boswell, where they refer to the condom as "the armor" or "the safety device" to protect against venereal diseases. However, Madame de Sevign (1626-1696) wrote that its use was rather as a contraceptive and noted that it was first and foremost "an armor against pleasure" and that its security against disease was the same as that which a "spider's web" could give. In that century condoms were made from the blind intestine of the sheep, cut, macerated in a saline solution, steamed, blown, dried well and packaged. It was expensive and therefore only within the reach of wealthy people, who had the bad habit of washing them and continuing to use them.

In 1861, the first condom propaganda appeared in the United States.  The announcement was published in the New York Times promoting "Dr. Power's French Condoms". In 1873, however, Congressman Anthony Comstock passed a law that outlawed any advertising that encouraged birth control and authorized the postal service to confiscate condoms that were sold and distributed by mail.

Rubber condoms

Rubber condoms were mass-produced after 1844, when Charles Goodyear patented the vulcanization of rubber. In the 1940s and 1950s they became non-reusable for some, but many others, like in the old days, washed them, lubricated them with oil ointment and stored them in small wooden boxes that they kept on their bedside table.

The American Expeditionary Forces, as they called the American troops that participated in World War I, were the only armed forces in Europe that during the war were banned from using condoms and therefore were the troops that presented the highest rate of venereal diseases. For the then U.S. Secretary of the Navy, the use of condoms was immoral and anti-Christian. It was his assistant, later President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who ordered the distribution of prophylactic packages including antiseptic ointments and condoms to the troop.

Mass production of latex condoms did not begin in earnest until the 1930s. In 1935 the daily production of condoms in the United States was one and a half million. The technology for its manufacture continued to improve: latex manufacture was simplified, condom production was automated and the product became cheaper, elastic, thinner and safer. The paradoxical and aberrant thing about this era was that doctors were allowed to prescribe condoms to men to prevent the spread of syphilis and gonorrhea, but they could not prescribe it to women as a method to prevent unwanted motherhood. It was still believed that the condom represented an immoral attempt to interfere with the laws of God and nature. The condom was associated with debauchery.

During World War II, military leaders had a more realistic attitude about condoms. They were aware that if they did not prevent venereal diseases, public health costs would increase dramatically and diseases would spread throughout the country when the combatants returned. They then made aggressive advertising campaigns that included educational films and slogans such as "Don't forget! Put it on first before you put it in."


The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s

The sexual revolution of the years 60s put condom use in decline. Good" women began to openly have sexual partners, men frequented prostitutes less, syphilis and gonorrhea, which were the prevailing venereal diseases, were easily treated with antibiotics, the contraceptive pill and intrauterine devices appeared as contraceptive methods never before seen.


The Condom Risorgimento

When HIV appeared in the 1980s, it was clear at least to health authorities in developed countries that the use of condoms and safe sex should be widely promoted to prevent the spread of AIDS, an epidemic of possible apocalyptic dimensions. Many campaigns have been carried out but the results are not very eloquent. Currently, twenty-five percent of those infected with HIV in the United States are teenagers and the growth rate is higher in teenage women. However, in many public schools they still oppose the distribution of condoms to students.

In the 1990s, many different types of condoms were introduced to the market. For the first time, polyurethane condoms were sold. In 1993 the annual production of condoms was 8.5 billion. Nowadays in supermarkets, drugstores, vending machines, bars, pharmacies and in many public places all kinds of condoms are sold: lubricated, with spermicide, very sensitive, sensitive, thin, very thin, extra-resistant, colorful, rough, with multiple fins, with mint, vanilla, pia colada, for women and for oral sex, short, long, thick. Your advertising emphasizes pleasure and safety. "And don't forget! Put it on first before you put it in."


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