How condoms became popular

If you have ever thought that people began to use condoms just two or three decades ago, then sit tight because you are in for a shocker.

Historical sources reveal some old cave paintings showing that condoms have been in use since some 15,000 years ago. According to research, the first recorded use of a condom was by King Minos of Crete who ruled Knossos around 3000BC. Pasiphae, his wife, used a goat’s bladder in the vagina so that King Minos would not be able to harm her as his semen was said to contain “scorpions and serpents”.

A little before the 15th century, Glans condoms were widely in use in Asia and Egypt. The condoms-like glans caps were dyed in different colours to distinguish between different classes of people and to protect themselves against bilharzia. The Glans condoms were used only for birth control and it covered just the head of the penis and was made from either silk or lamb intestines in China, and tortoise shell/animal horn in Japan.

The first documented mention of the word “condom” was from Gabriele Falloppio who said he had invented a device made of linin and soaked in chemicals, designed to cover the glans of the penis and was tied by a ribbon. The original intention of this device was to combat syphilis as opposed to acting as a form of birth control, this really didn’t become public knowledge until around 1650’s.

Condoms dated back to the 1640’s have been found in England, they were made from animal-bladder. By the 18th century, condoms became better known but with a lot pessimistic the views because people did not believe that they gave enough protection against syphilis and viewed it as a scandalous object because it encouraged sex with different partners, still the condom market expanded rapidly with condoms being sold everywhere from bars to salons and theatres. Condoms made of skin as opposed to fur lined were much more popular than fur lined condoms became popular in the United Kingdom but mostly among the upper class.

By the early 19th Century there were changes in perceptions towards contraceptives. For the first time ever, the working class had access to condoms and in1839, Charles Goodyear invented rubber vulcanization giving rise to the production of the first condoms made of rubber in 1855, these condoms were reusable and a few years later, the majority of rubber companies were producing condoms as well.

In the 1920s, the Latex condom was invented and was first produced by the Youngs Rubber Company. The London Rubber Company then became the first manufacturer of Latex condoms, and the brand is brand was known as Durex which is still very popular today. With mass production, condoms became cheaper and available to many who could not afford it before.

However, latex condoms were not known for their total effectiveness, in fact, the majority of condoms leaked but the latex condoms have gone through a lot of developments over time, they now have a very high tensile strength and can be stretched up to eight times before they fail. In more modern conditions, rubber latex condoms can be lubricated with spermicide and even flavoured.

Finally, with the discovery that AIDS was a sexually transmitted disease, and the best protection against it apart from abstinence was through barrier methods such as the condom, thus condoms became extremely popular, and can now be found in many places around the world from supermarkets to pharmacies as the most popular form of birth control and protection from STDs.

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