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When Were Condoms Invented?

By March 27, 2018Condoms

Wondering when were condoms invented?  Many will tell you that the first historical evidence of a condom comes from a cave painting in France around 11,000 B.C.  The painting is of a man and a woman having sex and it appears as if the man is covered in animal skin.  However, recent developments tell us that isn’t true.  Throughout history there have been several examples of condom use, but no documented evidence of use until around the 15th century.  These early condoms were made form sheer linens often soaked in chemicals or sheep intestines or pig bladders.  We sure have come a long ways!

When Were Condoms Invented

The modern condom made of rubber was first produced in 1855.  This is as a result of the rubber vulcanization process developed by Charles Goodyear.  Yes, the same Goodyear that makes the tires that are on your car!  By the late 1850’s several other companies began mass producing rubber products including condoms.  During the late 1800’s skin condoms were still more popular than the rubber variety.  This is because they were lower in cost and more readily available.  The reason rubber condoms cost more is because they had to be custom made.  One would have to go see a doctor and get their penis measured and then the doctor would prescribe the proper size condom.  This was a huge obstacle to men getting proper protection.  By the early 1900’s condom companies realized they could make a “one size fits all” condom that would fit most men and would be available without having to see a doctor.  When these became available in most pharmacies the regular use of condoms skyrocketed.

What Was Used Before Condoms Were Invented

Before the modern rubber condom was invented, there were several varieties that were used.  The most common were made of animal bladder, intestines or from silk cloth.  The design of these early condoms are referred to as “glan condoms” as it only covered the head of the penis.  There is evidence of these types of condoms being used throughout Asia, China, Japan and Europe.  It wasn’t until the 16th Century where we find the first documented mention of the condom.  It was made by Gabriele Falloppio who invented a device made of linen and was soaked in chemicals.  It was then wrapped around the penis and tied at the base with a ribbon.  What made this different is that fact that he intended the main use to be preventing syphilis.

When Were Condoms Popular

Condoms didn’t really gain mass appeal and popularity until the early 1900’s.  Up until then condoms faced a lot of backlash and opposition by the government and moralists.  In many areas including the United States, it was illegal to advertise condoms although they were readily available for purchase.  In some areas condoms were outlawed all together such as in Ireland until the 1970’s.  Condoms really gained popularity during WWI.  The American and UK army’s were the only countries to not readily distribute condoms to their soldiers.  Therefore, at the end of the war the United States military had diagnosed over 400,000 cases of syphilis and gonorrhea.  This in part lead to the Supreme Court overturning legislature that prevented advertising of condoms.  It was then legal to promote and market condoms as effective at preventing STD’s and as a means of birth control.

Going into the 1960’s and 1970’s the rise of sexual enlightenment and the lifting of restrictive laws opened up the gateways for condoms to continue to grow in popularity.  By this point condoms were legal in all 50 states and were legal in most developed countries.  Entering the 1980’s, the AIDS epidemic had a massive impact on the condom industry.  As awareness grew, more and more advertising and programs were put in place to help prevent the spread of AIDS.  Condoms sales continued to grow into the 1990’s and 2000’s as it became more socially acceptable to use and more readily available to purchase.

When Were Female Condoms Invented

The invention of the female condom (aka femidom or internal condom) is attributed to Danish MD Lasse Hessel.  The female condom officially launched in 1991 and has sold millions to date.  Female condoms are made from a nitrile sheath with a flexible ring at each end.  The closed end is inserted into the female vaginal and the open end is left outside the vagina.  This ring acts as a guide during penetration and keeps the condom from moving during use.  The female condom allows women to take control of their sexual health as opposed to relying on men to provide and properly use a male condom.

My Condom Club

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