Ode To The Rubber [Infographic]
Sex for pleasure may seem like a more modern concept to some, but there’s plenty of evidence to prove otherwise. In fact, it’s a generally held belief that “prostitution is the world’s oldest profession.” Sex is great and humans have been doing it forever. We all know that the leading cause of babies (heh) is sexual activity- so what if you’re more interested in your orgasm than reproduction? Through the millennium, there have been many methods of birth control that have been tried, but this fun little physical barrier has proven it’s staying power. Besides addressing unwanted pregnancies, condoms are still a favorite for their role in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
In The Beginning…
There’s debate about when and where the first condom came from, but it is clear that many different cultures understood enough about human reproduction to suspect that a barrier over the penis of some sort would help prevent pregnancy. According to students of human sexuality from the University of California, in Santa Barbara, the first evidence of the use of condoms being depicted comes from cave drawings in France, from 11,000 BC.
What were these early condoms like?
Just the tip…
Many early condoms in many different cultures were designed to only cover the head of the penis, called the “glans.” This popular design used silk paper, linen and various animal by-products to cover the tip. A ribbon was tied just below the head, which allegedly kept the condom in place. It seems that condoms made of animal or fish intestine were the most widely used.
Condoms, Meet Science
Necessity is the mother of invention- and Syphilis is the father of the modern condom. With troops on the march across Europe, disease came with them every step of the way. 16th Century Italian inventor Gabrielle Fallopius began experimenting with condoms soaked in various chemicals. He studied his 1,100 test subjects and found that the condoms were effective at reducing the risk of Syphilis. Unfortunately for the next few hundred years condoms tended to be expensive, which lead to people reusing the prophylactics for multiple engagements. Not optimal.
A Goodyear for Condoms
The next breakthrough in condom design came with Charles Goodyear’s invention of rubber vulcanization in the mid-1800s. The material was certainly effective at keeping sperm at bay, but we can’t imagine these new condom’s felt very good…or that the condom bearer could feel much of anything. You know just how durable Goodyear tires can be.
Roaring 20’s and Latex
Fast forward to the 1920s. Bathtub gin. Flappers. Jazz. Latex. These new condoms preserved sensitivity while staying intact. They were cheap to manufacture and easy to transport, paving the way for sexual liberation.
Tried and True…
Today’s condoms come in a variety of flavors, shapes, colors and materials. Although there are many other forms of birth control on the market, the global condom market continues to grow every year. In fact, according to the analysts at Research and Markets, it is expected to be worth 9.6 billion dollars by 2021. Other popular contraceptives are quite effective at preventing pregnancy, but do not address the spread of STDs and STIs. Condoms might not catch everything, but they come close. Unsurprisingly, Latex continues to dominate the market as a preferred material. It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for us.
Foreign raised trouble maker Věra Pusy has spent a lifetime dedicated to mischief and play. Věra loves her people, reading, hiking, pivo, art, and shenanigans, in no particular order, but often all at the same time. When she isn’t enabling questionable but hilarious behavior, she enjoys writing articles about sex and sexuality in the hopes that these articles will inspire people to embrace the joys of sex and be more open and honest in their communication- with their partners, and with their own bodies.