History of Condoms: How to Be a Condom Know-It-All in 5 Minutes

Everything has a past. Yes, even those little *or big* rubber socks that go over penises started from somewhere. Here’s the history of condoms.

History of Condoms

Let’s be honest, I know when you’re putting on a condom, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t, “oh, I wish I knew the history of condoms.” If this was your first thought, well, then maybe having sex with this person isn’t a good idea, I mean, shouldn’t you be focused on them instead?

When I see a guy putting a condom on himself, I can literally see him thinking, “f*ck, I have to put this thing on faster. Nice and easy, okay, it’s not broken, let’s do this.” I can’t expect people to have philosophical thoughts when trying to have sex.

But maybe when you’re out buying condoms or thinking about the difference between latex and sheep’s skin condoms, maybe then, the history of condoms is more enticing. You should know about the history of it, I mean, you put it inside your body and on someone’s dick!

I’m just hoping the name condom didn’t originate from some guy named John Condom. Personally, having two guys in me at once is a horrifying image. [Read: Newsflash! Women hate condoms just as much as men do]

The grand history of condoms

Whether or not you’ve always has the burning desire to know the history of condoms or not, there are a lot of interesting things to learn. So, let the roller coaster of shock and awe begin!

#1 Condoms are old school. But when I say old school, I’m talking like caveman times. The condom has had proof of existence since the B.C. times. See? I told ya. There’s actual evidence on cave paintings of condoms being used.

Okay, it wasn’t like today’s condoms, and clearly they didn’t write out what the materials were made of, however, they were using materials to wrap their penises up. And who said cavemen were stupid?

#2 They weren’t always smooth. The actual legitimate documentation of the first condom was made of pieces of linen that were sewn together by hand. These condoms either were wrapped around the entire penis or just the tip.

Probably isn’t the best feeling since linen is a little rough, and actually, I’m not even sure how efficient that is for protection. But, they were being used during the Roman Empire and we all know how much those guys loved to have sex – so I guess it worked. [Read: Why men hate wearing condoms and why you still need to use one]

#3 Then things got awkward. I would say this is the dark era of the condom. An era which probably most women from that time would rather not discuss. In Asia, aristocrats started to use glans condoms, which only covers the head of the penis. This was made of oiled paper or intestines – at first.

Then they decided to amp up the protection by using tortoise shells or animal horns. Yes, you read right. They stuck their penises in tortoise shells or animal horns and then penetrated their lady.  I squirmed, you squirmed, we all squirmed reading that. The only upside to this was if you had a small penis, well, you suddenly had a rhino dick. [Read: The best lubricants for sex – 15 winners from the kitchen cupboard]

#4 The first rubber condom went through some bumps. Of course, through the advancement of technology, the rubber condom was then created in 1855. Yeah, don’t get too excited, it was made of the inner tube of a bicycle tire and well, literally was the thickness of a bicycle tire.

Yeah, that doesn’t sound like much fun either. Let’s also consider this period a part of the dark ages. I mean, I see the light, but it’s faint. Again, if you had a small dick, this was your time to shine. [Read: Must-know facts and trivia about condoms]

#5 Thank the UK for lubrication. I would say the UK should be praised for their double-deckers bus and lubrication. In 1957, the UK came out with their very first lubricated condom. That’s right! No more did people need to spit on their dicks or douse it in butter – the UK saved the day. I mean you go from spitting to having a pre-lubricated dick, this is a huge deal… a life-changer.

#6 AIDS pushed the use of condoms. There was one disease that really pushed the use of condoms and that was AIDS. Once it was determined that HIV is sexually transmitted, well, then people started taking condom use seriously. When the AIDS epidemic was unraveling out of control, condom companies started to advertise the importance of wearing condoms.

#7 The 80s brought out the fun in condoms. The 80s were the decade of fun. Workout wear, perms, Madonna, I mean, what’s not to love? When the 80s rolled up, condom manufacturers stepped up their game and took a detour from the traditional condom.

This was when a variety of colors, textures, and flavors poured out into little condom packets. That strawberry condom you love sucking on so much? Thank the 80s. [Read: Condom types and how they improve your sex life]

#8 But who created the condom? I still didn’t get to this. Maybe because I secretly want you to think that a guy name John Condom invented the condom. Okay, he didn’t. In fact, the guy’s name was Charles Goodyear and he created the rubber condom. Yeah, the bicycle tire. That’s the guy.

#9 Condoms weren’t always legal. You thought condoms were always legal? Think again. In the United States, condom use didn’t become legal until 1918. That’s around the same time my grandparents were born, to put this into perspective.

So, that wasn’t that long ago. Why so late? Well, in the USA, sex was viewed as a bad act. But by 1920, latex was invented, so that ended that battle. [Read: Buying condoms – the complete newbie’s guide to using condoms]

#10 There is a female condom. Most people only know about the male condom, but actually, there is a female condom as well. It’s just not as widely known. But, it’s been around since 1937. It lined the vagina and has an outer ring that covered the external genitalia.

What’s great about the female condom is that it can also be used during anal sex as well. Now, with perfect use, it has a 5% failure rate, however, if it’s not done perfectly, that jumps up to 21% failure. A wee bit high, I’d say.

#11 The condom market is huge. Though condoms have their competition with other forms of birth control, such as the pill or the infamous pull-out method, it’s still a huge industry.

In 2015, the global condom industry reached $6 billion and is expected to continue to grow. The great part is that they’re seeing higher sales in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. People are catching on to the benefits of condoms worldwide!

[Read: Don’t like condoms? The big dangers most people have no idea about]

Now that you know about the history of condoms, you can now tell your partner about it while having sex. While thrusting, just start talking about the origins of latex. They’ll love it. That was a joke, I would leave this as a post-sex conversation topic.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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