History of contraception: 10 horrific birth control techniques that'll put you off sex forever
We've all been there. The candles are lit, the rose petals are laid out on the kingsize bed, your Spotify playlist is loaded up with a bevy of salacious songs to get down and dirty to. The mood is on point and unbridled passion awaits. But wait a minute! You forgot one pretty indispensable thing: contraception. Unless you're trying for a baby this is one important thing that you really can't go without. Thankfully, nowadays this situation would be fixed fairly fast given the fact that we have endless birth control possibilities from the pill to condoms to the implant to the diaphragm. But look back in the history of contraception and you'll see that things weren't that simple.
There's no arguing with the fact that they had just as many forms of contraception as we did, but there is a whole lot of debate over whether or not they'd actually work. Actually no, there no debate at all. They would by no means work. Forms of contraception in the past range from the utterly ridiculous to the fraught with danger to the downright lethal. A piece of advice for you kids: If you want to rekindle the dampened flames of ardour, stick to 21st-century methods.
1.The Coca-Cola douche
In the 1950s, having a cool refreshing Coca-Cola wasn't purely for the light refreshment. Somehow, the idea was that a combination of carbonic acid and sugar would make the sperm cells explode. But this wasn't done by drinking the beverage. Yes, that's right; rather than drinking the carbonated soft drink, people used to force the liquid into their vaginas by shaking it and letting the soda fly.
Surprisingly, there were multiple ways of using lemons as birth control back in the day, revolving around the idea that the citric acid's properties would prevent impregnation. Firstly was the technique where a woman would soak sponges in lemon juice before inserting them into the vagina. Secondly, and perhaps even more disturbingly, sexually active females would take half a lemon, scoop out the pulp and that up the vagina. The rind would serve as a cervical cap and the acidic juice as a potent spermicide. Everyone wins, right?
3. Squatting and sneezing
The Ancient Greeks gave us many great things - the Olympic games, the roots of democracy, great advances in architecture. But, as intelligent as they were, they weren't too hot on the whole preventing pregnancy thing. Their method of contraception simply saw the woman squat post-sex and sneeze. However, if they were seriously worried about the prospect of a little baby popping out in nine months, they could take things further and jump up and down or kick their legs against their own backside.
4. Animal intestines and bladders
Say hola to the original condom! Long before the favoured selection was made available in ancient Rome, sheep and goat intestines were all the range. A handy user manual reminded you to soak the animal insides in warm milk before use. Are you feeling as squeamish as I am?
5. Steaming sperm
The history of contraception becomes even more outrageous when you hear that Native American women attempted to steam sperm out of their vaginas using a special kettle. Allegedly, seawater, vinegar, lemon juice and other acidic liquids were all tried in order to stop that bun in the oven from growing.
6. Blacksmith's water
We never imagined the ancient Greeks to be that resourceful with recycling, but it turns out we were wrong. In the olden days, they apparently used to drink the water that blacksmith's used to cool materials, believing that the exposure to lead would prevent pregnancy. Amazingly this practice is said to have continued until around World War I. After being exposed to lead so often, this is when they most likely discovered that pregnancy was the least of their worries.
7. Hanging testicles
Trying to have sex nowadays with a pair of weasel balls attached to your leg would do one thing and one thing only: completely and utterly kill the mood. Even with rose petals, champagne and Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On playing, there's simply nothing that's going to save that. But people living in medieval times were troopers and this is apparently exactly the way they attempted to stop unwanted pregnancy. Testicles are a popular theme in the world of birth control, with the 16th century Canadians grinding up beaver balls into a fine powder, adding it into a potent moonshine mix and downing it to halt any unwelcome surprises.
8. Gold and silver diaphragms
Gold and silver diaphragms sounded like a great idea back in the day. But the method of creating a gold or silver thimble that covered a woman's cerxic unfortunately wasn't as inspired as it sounds. In fact, it was pretty disastrous. This method of contraception had a habit of giving sexually active young ladies toxic shock syndrome, unusual discharge and infections. Not to mention they often fell out during sex and would end up in pregnancy.
This one sounds a little out there, but hey, if people tried swinging testicles and steaming, they probably tried this. According to the history of contraception, around about 900 BC, Chinese birth control experts advised women to swallow 16 tadpoles fried in quicksilver (mercury) immediately after sex, assuring them that it would stop them from getting pregnant. They were right, no babies were made - but this was because many women became sterile after using the ill-advised method. And they were the lucky ones; others were left with damage to their kidneys, liver and other major organs, with others dying.
10. Crocodile Poo
The Egyptians were famous for mummification and pulling brains out of their noses, so of course they would believe that crocodile dung was the answer to all of their problems. Apparently pre-love making, the woman would put it up her vagina. Because nothing really says sexy like animal poo ...
So, hands up if you think old age forms of contraception were downright barmy. Although, you could always argue that the people of the past had to go through kooky birth control methods for us to have the safe practices we have today. In that case, we owe the horny people of the past big.