If you prefer your sex to be recreational rather than procreational, contraception is a must. These days, we have access to the finest scientifically developed methods available. Unfortunately for our ancestors, they did not, although their desire for birth control was just as strong as ours. Let’s take a look at some crazy birth control methods practiced by actual humans throughout history!
- Condoms: The contemporary rubberized version has antecedents through history, mostly made of animal parts like lamb intestines. The Japanese even made theirs out of tortoise shell and animal horn back in the 1870s!
- Spermicides: Again, not a modern invention – but the ingredients of some ancient spermicides were often bizarre and sometimes dangerous. For example, pessaries made of a mixture of crocodile dung and honey. There’s also an Indian variation using elephant dung.
- Disinfectant Vaginal Douches: Unbelievably, vaginal douches with the household disinfectant Lysol were a top seller from the 1930s to 1960s in America. Not only did this cause toxic effects, it was also ineffective as a spermicide.There’s also a more recent – in fact, contemporary – variant of this: the Coca-Cola douche. The interesting thing about this one is that cola has been scientifically proven to reduce the motility (i.e. speed of movement) of sperm. Unfortunately, by the time you get around to performing the douche, it’s already too late…
- Acidic Fruit and Vegetables: This had variations across the world: For Arabian women, it was mashed pomegranate mixed with rock salt and alum. 15th Century Italians would drink raw onion juice (perhaps this was successful by preventing intercourse altogether?). In 1600, the French ate cabbage after intercourse.
- Weasel Testicles. This one dates from the Dark Ages, and involves the woman wearing a pair of severed weasel testicles strapped to her leg. Not to be outdone, the Canadians came up with their own unique variation in the 16th century – grinding beaver testicles into powder and drinking them in extremely strong hooch.
Thank goodness we live in modern times, right? Unfortunately, surveys have found a significant number of couples trying ineffective methods such as cling film, sandwich bags and latex gloves, showing there are still some gaps in birth control knowledge out there. Although some would say this is still an improvement on elephant dung!