February 13, 2018 • Constance Uwase
Today is February 13th also known as International Condom Day.
International Condom Day is a special day to raise awareness on the importance of condoms in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies. Annually, the day is promoted by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation with the aim of reducing the spread of HIV through safe sex practices.
Globally, the majority of people associate condom use with HIV because the use and importance of condoms became widespread during the height of the HIV pandemic in 1980s. However, long before HIV, condoms or variety of condoms existed and were used by different civilizations.
On this special day, let’s go back in time and take a look at the history of the condom!
The first known documentation of the “condom” was that of the King Minos of Crete in 3000 B.C. This king was rumored to have scorpions and serpents in his semen leading to the death of his mistresses after sexual intercourse. Ancient stories say he used the bladder of a goat during sexual intercourse to protect himself and his partners.
Ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to use sheaths. Documents from 10,000 C.E states that linen sheaths were used to prevent tropical diseases. Men also wore different color sheaths based on their social class to respect the hierarchy in their society.
In Asia, prior to 1400s aristocrats were using glans condoms which covered only the head of the penis. These were made out of intestine, oiled paper, animal horn (What?!) and tortoise shell.
Many things from linen to animal horns have been used in the past to serve the purpose of a condom. However, when Charles Goodyear invented rubber vulcanization, during the Industrial Revolution, he changed the face of condom. Thanks to his invention, rubber condoms begin being produced in 1855.
Prevention at all cost
In 1897, in the UK, some condom manufacturers started printing Queen Victoria’s face on their labels as a marketing strategy. This is because her children were known to have problems with sexually transmitted infections.
In 1920s, latex was created leading to the development of the modern condoms. With latex, condoms have more tensile strength and can be stretched up to 8 times before they fail. Nowadays, latex condoms can be produced at a swift rate of 3000 per hour and they can be made with lubrication or with spermicide.
European armies gave condoms to their soldiers during WWI to prevent STIs and the United States did the same for their army during WWII.
That’s it for the historical journey!
Now that you’re woke when it comes to condom history, be safe in the present as well. Remember that a condom is the only contraceptive that protects from STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Men and women, everyone should do their part to ensure they are safe with their partners. Safety is the new sexy and everyone should feel empowered to carry and use a condom.
PLAY.STAY WOKE.LIVE LIFE
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