The First Condom

Condoms are a ubiquitous part of life, in modern times, and they are a pretty amazing form of birth control. They’ve allowed people to take control of their lives by planning their pregnancies and stay healthier by avoiding STIs. The idea of condoms is at least 400 years old and a simple understanding of Condom History can be quite useful.

The first known condom was used around the year 1642, and it was found in what was the “cesspit” of Dudley Castle. The cesspit is just a word for where all the waste was thrown. The first condoms were made of animal membranes, usually the intestines. No one knows exactly when they started using these devices, because they do tend to disintegrate rapidly once tossed. Some speculate it is as early as the Ancient Egyptian days, but others think it was more like around the 1500s in Europe, and a bit earlier in Asian countries like China and Japan.

The first outbreak of what we know is now syphilis started in France in the 1400s, and doctors raced, with their limited medical knowledge, to find a way to prevent the spread. The fix they came up with was linen clothes soaked in certain chemicals, dried and then tied around the head of the penis with a ribbon during sex. They tested it and none of the subjects contracted the disease. Thus, the idea of the condom as we know it was born. Throughout the Renaissance period, these linen condoms and animal membrane ones were used, though, we now know that animal skins do not protect against STIs, only pregnancy.

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This continued until the invention of rubber in the 1800s. Early rubber condoms were reusable and would be medically molded to each man’s penis. In 1920, latex was invented and so was the condom as we know and love it today. They were much better than rubber condoms because there are many flammable substances involved in making rubber products, whereas latex uses only water. At this point in history, everyone knew what we know today: a condom makes sex even better.

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Are Condoms a Need or a Want?

So, you’re about to hook up with a new crush for the first time, but you haven’t got a condom handy. At that moment, do you want a condom… or do you need one? Some might say there are other forms of birth control available, and your crush seems like such a sweetheart… they aren’t the kind of person that makes you worried about getting a Sexually Transmitted Infection…right? Well, it turns out you probably should be more worried about that than their sexiest smile suggests!

There are some STIs which can infect a person without showing any symptoms for a while, or ever. These include some uncomfortable ailments that are thankfully treatable with modern medicine. For example, according to the NHS, most girls with chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms at all, while 50% of women and 10% of men are asymptomatic but carry gonorrhea. That means your latest date may not be a creepy skank trying to pass along infections, but could definitely still be transmitting an STI that they don’t even know they have, and have no reason to expect!


That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases and infections. There are many STIs that can’t be treated with antibiotics or any other known medical procedures, and many of these can be asymptomatic for quite a while as well.

Many people with the herpes virus host it in its dormant state for months before experiencing their first outbreak of painful sores in their mouth or on their genitals. Recent R&D is bringing a lot of hope to people suffering with HIV, but there is no definitive cure and the disease remains lethal in many instances. In addition, a person can have HPV strains 6 and 11, which cause genital warts, dormant for years before ever having visible evidence of the illness. The more serious STIs are often the most silent. Other strains of HPV, which cause cervical cancer, can only be detected with a pap smear, and HIV only detectable by a specific blood test.

The good news is that condoms are clinically proven to make sex safer and have remained the best realistic prevention method for STIs. It’s easy to think about abstinence, and to pretend everyone is constantly being properly tested or retested. We encourage everyone to know their current STI status and to share that information with potential lovers, but when it comes to protecting your health those practices simply aren’t enough to let you rest easy after the sex has ended and the biological impacts are already underway.

Put simply: You want sex… You need a condom! Protect someone NOW with

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