A bit of history. The interesting story of condom begins sometimes long ago, with the first evidence of its “ancestor” existence, discovered by a group of archaeologists in Egypt and having a history of more than 3000 years. It is about some cave images depicting the characteristic “style” of those times, a number of individuals having their sexual organs wrapped in a sort of cloth cover, most likely to protect themselves from diseases, infections or insect bites.
Nobody knows precisely who invented the condom, but there is certainty that the desire to prevent from the occurrence of unwanted offspring and especially the fear against venereal diseases, originated somewhere far away in time, with the conscious beginnings of human adventure. That is also because of the fact that in that period, diseases of all kinds, especially the infectious ones, most of them probably had an unequivocal final. Antibiotics were not invented yet, and the visits to the quack or to the healer for sure were not so “miraculous” as how local marketing enunciated them (probably not so different from those from nowadays).
If in ancient Egypt it was used the cloth “sheath”, the Chinese experimented the method of wrapping the penis in a silk tissue soaked with oil, and the Japanese, more inventive, tried three other versions: “Kawagata” or “Kyotai”, meaning coatings made by thin leather of animal origin and “Kabutogata”, a not very inspired alternative, consisting in tortoise shells or horns. In their turn, Roman men used for their protection, “balloons” made from goat bladder or wraps of the male organ with tampons imbued with disinfectant solutions, made of plants.
Judging by the demographic evolution, it seems that the Chinese “technology” was not the most inspired one. If wrapping their penis with parchment would have inspired them the idea of making cigars, it probably would have had much more success and of course time (historically speaking) to be in the public eye on the market, ahead of Cubans. Or perhaps not... because they would have lacked Cuban women (it is said that the best cigars from Cuba are finished between the labia of island’s women).
Around 1500 BC, in the Crete of King Minos, the sheep's bladder was very popular as a male contraceptive. However, the oldest ever used condom was found in Birmingham, London, on the occasion of accidental excavations. It dates from 1640 BC and it is made of fish intestines.
The “modern” history of condoms in Europe begins around the years 100-200 AD, the period during which it dates the first erotic “pictorials” encrusted on the walls of caves in France and proving a real genetic inclination of future French people towards the art of love done with responsibility.
During the sixteenth century, epidemics of syphilis took proportions never seen before that time, which determined in 1564 the Italian doctor Gabriel Fallappio to present in his book “Morbo Gallico” the benefits of a condom made of cloth soaked in a solution based on herbs and salt, which was intended to protect the men against venereal diseases.
In the eighteenth century, two condoms were used simultaneously. One made of silk, “doubled” over with another one made of lamb or goat intestines (the latter to prevent the slippage of the first one from the penis, during the more “unleashed” episodes). The system was equipped also with a lacing to tie it at the opened end of it (all around), for greater safety and maintenance of the naughty organ, completely covered. There were also “economic” versions, made by just animal bladders or intestines, which could be also reused for several times, after a prior thorough washing.
The paintings of that time depict incredible scenes with people hanging their “covers for the penis” to dry, using a “dedicated” hook or simply hanging them outside on the clothesline wire. We can imagine so, how satisfied were men in their pride, watching their nocturnal activities banner, waving in their yard... in the slight wind beat.
Interesting for that period and the subject in matter, is the existence of some writings about the “Marquis of Sade” which tells in detail about his frequent use of condom, being obsessed with acute fears about diseases.
Otherwise, it seems that neither Casanova, the romantic lover, stayed away from this wonderful invention, using it both to protect himself from possible paternity suits, and to avoid unwanted infections. In his memoirs, he calls this saving fabrication as “English frock coat”.
Because of their pretty high price, condoms were almost prohibitive for the majority of common people of that time, and those who could purchase them, did not hesitate to reuse them up to full damage. Chronicles of that time call this type of contraceptive solution, “an armor against pleasure, and a cobweb against infections”.
Still in the eighteenth century, it began to develop what also might be called: trade with condoms.
At the time, there was already a shop that was located in Amsterdam, and that says a lot about this city.
In Hague, a small scale industrialist, called Matthijs van Mordechay Cohen started selling “hand” made condoms, made of lamb bladder.
Sometimes, in the middle of the XVIIIth century, the trade with “bladders for safe sex” has reached London too. Surprisingly, in the center of this business there were two ladies: Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Perkins. Each had one store, and advertising was done with the help of chimed pamphlets. The main customers were the pharmacies, the tourists and the ambassadors. The two enterprising women had though a somewhat unique competition in the person of Miss Jenny, a sympathetic young woman that managed to highly successful sell “second hand condoms”.
In 1839, Charles Goodyear discovered an ingenious way of processing the natural rubber and thus appeared the first models of vulcanized condoms (vulcanization: converting raw rubber through a chemical process of heating with sulfur to a very elastic material). They had the advantage of being extremely flexible, without the risk of breaking, both in the preliminary stage (its “fitting” on the organ to which they were intended) and later, during their actual use. The new products had also some drawbacks: pungent odor, on their surface appeared some rigid “wrinkles” (very uncomfortable to both partners), and the thickness of the membrane canceled any sensorial pleasure during intercourse. In addition, they were only available in England and the USA. Another problem of them was that they had no stability on the penis and could anytime be “lost”.
In 1861, “New York Times” newspaper published the first advertisement for condoms. Just a few years apart, in 1873, in response to this “affront brought to public morals”, Comstock Law was passed. Named after its initiator, the politician Anthony Comstock (follower of some dogmatic social percepts), legislative measures completely banned commercials promoting any contraceptive product and allowed the postal service to confiscate packages containing “tools of the devil” marketed by mail.
By the 1920s, most condoms were manufactured by inserting a cylindrical form into a rubbery substance bath, then vulcanized and passed through a jet of cold water.
In 1920, a German company, led by Frederick Killian, launches in the industrial production of latex condoms. This revolutionary material, had the advantage of being much more resistant to friction, it was much thinner and had absolutely no odor. Unfortunately, such “miracles of science” cost an exorbitant amount indeed, being accessible only to very few buyers.
Between 1940 and 1950, condoms were washed, smeared with petroleum gel and stored in wooden boxes.
In 1961, Durex sells the first lubricated condom. Discovering the contraceptive pill, the diaphragm and the IUD in the same period, it led to a temporary decline of the “little balloon”, but with the peril that HIV / AIDS represented, it came back in force, knowing a real commercial boom. It undoubtedly has been proven the capability of latex to stop the transmission of viruses during sex (if it was used correctly and permanently), and this made the sales simply explode.
In 1994, in the United States it was “launched” the first male condom made of polyurethane. A kind of plastic material that allowed the manufacture of condoms with much thinner structure, and is also a perfect alternative in case of irritation or allergy to latex.
Nowadays, condoms are manufactured in a huge variety of sizes, thicknesses, shapes, widths, lengths, in many colors, fragrances and many other features that are more or less unique or (why not?) amazing. All these, just to meet the needs, tastes and pleasures as diverse of customers, from strictly useful ones to the “weird” fanciful ones, indispensable accessories for eccentric erotic games.
The origin of the name. The genesis of the English word “condom”, seems to be rooted in the Latin “condus” (condus: container). Considering the English term as an etymological reference point has its explanation in the fact that the first condom made from animal gut was invented by a British army doctor Colonel Quondam around the year 1645 and the name of it is likely to come from his resonant name. The legend says that he was the personal physician of King Charles II and due to the insatiable appetite of the sovereign concerning intimate extramarital relationships, he had to find a solution to prevent the birth of too many illegitimate children, without giving up the pleasure of escapades representing perhaps all the charm of palace life.
Tips for proper use. The condom is a device made of latex or other material that fitted to the erect penis (before intimate contact) prevents ejaculation of sperm into the vagina, preventing thus the fluids or internal mucous of bodies in communion come into contact directly between them. They are generally used for sex with not very well known persons and their use is recommend as elementary in protecting health condition.
To be effective, the condom (when used) must be within the warranty period offered by the manufacturer and used properly. Checking product’s expiry dates is mandatory, and if this is exceeded (even with very little time), it should necessarily be thrown and replaced with a proper one corresponding to the terms of the validity period.
It is totally forbidden to break the wrapper using the teeth, existing the risk to damage it (imperceptibly, but surely). Always, the wrapper will be opened only with your fingers.
When unfolded, the contraceptive product should be protected from any air bubbles that might sneak into it (given the risk of subsequently breaking through the pressure carried out by vaginal or anal walls). To remove this unpleasant event, it is recommended to grab the condom by its top (pinched) before being rolled along the penis. If by mistake it is twisted inside out, it will not be used in any form. It is mandatory to opt for replacing it with a new one.
If the prelude was not satisfactory for the woman, and the vagina is not wet enough, the risk of condom breaking increases significantly and she will suffer some discomfort at penetration, due to “dry” friction. In this regard, one can use lubricants, preferably produced by the same company (which manufactured condoms) to avoid compromising the quality of the material it is made of. If you opt for other types (brands) of lubricants, it is indicated to use those present in the form of gel or water based, oil products drastically reducing the quality and durability of the condom.
“Mechanical” contraceptives can be un-lubricated or lubricated, eventually presenting a lower risk of breaking. In addition, there are variants that use desensitizing lubricants that help delaying ejaculation.
When the woman uses suppositories or oil ointments as a result of medical treatment, it is not recommended to use latex condoms (oils altering destructively the physicochemical properties of this material).
For more sexual satisfaction, there are condoms with ribs or grooves which are generally designed on the external side and they are intended for female pleasure. To stimulate the male, there are models with inner grooves.
Flavored condoms, but containing sugar, can negatively alter the vaginal pH, making it highly probable to the appearance of infections, so in principle, are not recommended. These “alternative with pleasant taste” may be desirable and even agreeable in the practice of oral sex, but altogether avoiding vaginal penetration.
Current Condoms are extremely thin, they do not reduce the intensity of specific perceptions of the sense organs and causes no discomfort, if chosen carefully and according to the needs of each one.
Those marked for anal sex (slightly thicker) are designed to withstand more intense friction levels, knowing that anus muscles are somewhat “hostile” and normal condoms (very fine, for the vagina) have all chances to break under these conditions. Of course, when changing to vaginal penetration, it will proceed necessarily to the change of the condom. In no case there will immediately pass to vaginal penetration from anal penetration with the same condom, both because of sensitive dissatisfaction, and to avoid the risk of infection.
A condom is put on the penis only when completely dry and somewhat erect.
For a more special erotic “atmosphere” or to “sweeten” a little the feeling of dissatisfaction expressed by some men, the condom can be applied by the partner also using the mouth. This “operation” will be done quite easily, delicately pinching with the teeth the top reservoir of the little elastic container, then the lips will mold on to the head of the male organ (which surely gets “more alive” this way), then rolling it circumferentially in a most voluptuous way (eventually with the help of the tongue also) along the entire penis, until closer to testicles.
After ejaculation, remove the condom carefully, by gripping the base, thus preventing outside leakage of sperm. The operation will be done relatively quickly, while the penis is still erected. After removal, the balloon can be knotted at the open end (for greater certainty concerning the leakage), eventually packed in a paper or bag and thrown in the trash (never in the toilet).
If any accident happen while having sex (breaking or slipping it into the vagina), consider using emergency contraception as a further alternative against pregnancy.
Although it is a controversial concept or often interpreted totally unaware, protection is required including in oral sex. Most STDs are spread through contact with infected fluids or mucous membranes and saliva is itself a perfect environment conducive to such “swaps”.
The condom is used during any sexual contact, it does not need a medical prescription, it helps preventing unwanted pregnancies, premature ejaculation or transmission of infectious diseases, which is why its use represents an aware and responsible attitude both towards society, and towards the own health.