The history of contraceptives has been a very interesting topic to research – honestly there isn’t much people haven’t put in or on their genitals to do whatever they can to not produce a tiny, screaming human…
Now I shouldn’t HAVE to say this, BUT here goes… DO NOT TRY ANY OF THESE ON YOURSELF AT HOME! DO NOT TRY THEM ON A PARTNER! JUST SAY NO! OK?
The Egyptian Method
This ancient (and we mean ancient, like 1800 B.C) method of contraception brought together the appetising ingredients of Crocodile poo and honey to make a nice little diaphragm that you popped up the vagina to stop all the sperms from reaching your egg sack (niiiice)
The Egyptians were a clever bunch though and there was reasoning behind the ick! They realised a barrier stopped sperm getting through and so deduced honey would make for a good barrier, being sticky and all that.
I suppose at least the honey makes the smell less bad. But cleaning that out can’t be fun.
The Lemon Cup
This one is gunna make those of us with vaginas wince. Honestly I’m having trouble just writing this one down.
The all natural female condom used by Ladies in the 1600’s right up to Victorian times was half a lemon rind with the pulp scraped out shoved into your crystal cave.
Apparently Casanova employed this method when shagging around Europe, what a considerate dude.
You could also soak a sponge in lemon juice and use that as a protective barrier when shoved up there. Or have a lemon juice douche straight after. OH THE CHOICES!
There is method behind the madness, citric acid would kill off sperm and as we know diaphragm’s are an effective method of contraception. I’m still not sticking a lemon up my chuff though.
The Coke Douche
People did this even when there were other contraceptive options available to them in the 1950’s. Oh America, you teach us so much.
The idea is after you’ve had the sexy time you then squirt a nice bottle of coke up into your puss and that’ll wash out and kill all the sperm!
I’m imagining you just give it a good shake then shove it up your vaginal canal in one swift movement. Honestly this has given me thrush just writing this down.
For it to have any chance of working you’d have to do it within seconds of the pump and squirt finishing, so I guess if you came home to a bottle of coke on the bedside table you’d know it was Marvin Gaye time.
In the hundreds of years before the invention of rubber johnnies, condoms used to be made from animal guts, usually some poor sheep or goat.
We think it was discovered thusly… Basically some butcher was making sausages and thought ‘I COULD PUT THAT ON MY WILLY!’
One of the earliest written examples of using this animal guts sheath method comes from the Greek legend of King Minos in Homer’s Iliad. He would use a goat’s bladder shoved in his wife to stop his sperm.
Btw his sperm was said to contain “serpents and scorpions”
NOPE NOPE NOPE
Mercury Morning After Pill
Oh jeebus this is the worst one. In Ancient China, many thousands of years back, Mercury was used as a type of contraception.
Basically, after a night on all fours doing stuff that’d make Ron Jeremy blush, you take a swig of warm mercury & oil – and BOOM, then it stops you getting pregnant. Really it just poisoned you slowly and painfully as all your organs start shutting down.
I guess it’s an effective method. Can’t get pregnant when you’re dead!
That was interesting, where can I find out more?
I don’t want to encourage anyone to look this stuff up if I’m honest. You wanna google it then knock yourself out. These are the weirdest…
Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.