It’s odd that a lot of people still feel awkward or embarrassed buying condoms. They’re so important for protecting us from sexually transmitted diseases and stopping unwanted pregnancies. The surprising thing is how storied and interesting the history of condoms is. It’s hard to believe it, but there is evidence going back as far as ancient Egyptian times showing they used condoms. Not the latex type we know today, but thin “skins” made from animal intestines.
Are you curious about the origin and history of condoms, wet-suit, jimmy, nightcap, or whatever you call these thin rubber sleeves? If so, here’s a timeline showing how we got from animal intestines to the super-thin, durable latex condoms we use today.
A Look at the History and Evolution of the Condom in Timeline Form
Condoms in the 1500s and Earlier
Records show that glans condoms that cover the head of the penis were used as far back as the Egyptian era (approximately 3100 BC).
From this period all the way up to the 15th century, men were using animal intestines to make a protective cap to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
Around the 15th century, records show men experimented with oiled silk paper as a condom in parts of Asia.
Condoms in the 1600s
An Italian by the name of Gabriele Falloppio wrote about the use of condoms to protect men against “The French Disease.” This disease is what we now know as syphilis. He described using linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution, as well as animal intestines and bladders.
Condoms in the 1700s
By the 18th century, the medical world talked more openly about condoms. Some physicians were against them, some were in support. But the production and sale of condoms were in full force, though animal intestines and linen treated with chemicals were the main components.
Condoms in the 1800s
An American chemist and engineer by the name of Charles Goodyear invented the rubber vulcanization process in 1839. The year 1855 brought the production of the first rubber condom. Within just a few years, rubber companies were mass-producing rubber condoms.
Condoms in the 1900s
Youngs Rubber Company produced the first latex condom in the early 1900s. Latex condoms are stronger, thinner, and perform better than the rubber type. The first Durex-branded condom was on the market.
Condoms in the 2000s to Now
There are almost no shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, or types of textured condoms that aren’t available on the market to date. Condoms are for contraception, STD protection, and sex play. It’s a billion-dollar industry that’s still on the rise and new innovations come out all the time.
What did people use before condoms?
Before the invention of latex, or even rubber condoms, people used animal bladders and intestines to make a thin “skin.” They did this to protect just the head of the penis because they were aware of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
Records go back as far as the Egyptian era and Ancient Roman times – several hundred years BC – showing this was the method they used.
When did they legalize condoms?
Rubber condoms went on general sale in the U.S. shortly after the creation of the rubber vulcanization process in 1839. There were some legal restrictions over the years, however. Some public figures have made it clear they didn’t agree with the use of condoms, mainly from a moral perspective.
In the U.S., condoms increased in popularity as education and awareness of the health benefits of wearing them increased. In the 1930s, the federal appeals court gave doctors the power to legally prescribe condoms to prevent disease. And, in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis, sales of latex condoms increased by more than 100%. The more you know about sexual protection and the history of condoms, the healthier your sex life is. Read more about sexual health to make sure you’re having fun in a safe way.