Condom is a barrier device that is commonly used during sexual intercourse to avert pregnancy and thwart the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs—such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV). It is worn on a man’s erect penis to physically block the ejaculated semen from making way into the body of the sexual partner. Being waterproof, elastic and durable, condoms are also used for a range of secondary applications, including collection of semen for use in infertility treatment. Its non-sexual uses include creation of waterproof microphones and protecting rifle barrels from clogging. The article dwells at length on the history of condoms and how they originated. Read on to trace their background.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Condoms
The use of condoms dates back to several thousand years. It is believed that around 1000 BC, the ancient Egyptians used a linen sheath for guarding against transmission of sexual diseases. The scenes in cave paintings at Combarelles, in France, are the earliest evidence of condom use in Europe. There is also a faint evidence of some form of condom being used in imperial Rome. The first published account of condom can be attributed to the spread of syphilis epidemic across Europe. Gabrielle Fallopius claimed to have invented a sheath linen to protect men against syphilis.
It was a little later that the utility of condom for preventing pregnancy was recognized, after it gained credibility in preventing infection due to intercourse. In the 1500s, the linen cloth sheaths were, at times, soaked in a chemical solution (spermicide) and were dried before use. This is registered as one of the initial improvements made to condoms. Condoms fashioned out of animal intestine were available in the 1700s. In the second half of the 18th century, handmade condoms flourished in London and some shops also advertised condoms to hike sales.
Condom manufacturing was revolutionized by the technological and economic developments witnessed in Europe and the US, in 1800s. The discovery of rubber vulcanisation by Goodyear and Hancock made possible the mass production of condoms developed with rubber. Until the beginning of the 19th century, condoms were manufactured by hand-dipping from rubber cement, which produced condoms of a dubious quality that used to age quickly. Frederick Killian began the hand-dipping from natural rubber latex in Ohio, in 1919. The latex condoms were thinner, odorless, and took time to age. Owing to this, latex condoms saw an immense expansion of sales. The first lubricated condom was introduced in 1957, launched by Durex, in UK.
A considerable, though temporary, decline was noted in the use of condoms as a contraceptive device from the early 1960s. This was attributed to the raging popularity of the pill, the coil (IUD) and sterilization. However, condoms regained their popularity as an effective and easy-to-use protection against HIV/AIDS, along with its barrier properties. Subsequent to the wide recognition of the threat posed by HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, there was a striking increase in the use of condoms around the world. They also became popularly available on pubs, bars, grocery stores, and supermarkets. In 1990’s, colored and flavored condoms were introduced. In the recent years, female condoms have also been launched.