As far back as 1,000 BCE, ancient Egyptian males are believed to have used linen sheaths to protect against sexually transmitted disease, and cave paintings at Combarelle in France, dating from around 100 to 200 CE, show some of the earliest evidence of condom use. (BCE and CE are the new time designations for BC and AD, respectively)
In the 1500s, a syphilis epidemic spread across Europe, necessitating some form of protection. Gabriel Fallopius invented a sheath made of linen that would do the job. After a while, users realized that the sheath had an unexpected side effect: it also prevented pregnancy.
Later in the same century, the linen sheaths were soaked in a spermicidal chemical and allowed to dry before use, thereby increasing their effectiveness as birth control and creating the first spermicidal condoms.
The word “condom” first appeared sometime around 1700 when it was used in a poem. There are many theories regarding the name. Among them: that it was the last name of Charles II of England’s personal physician (who prescribed the sheath as a way for the king to avoid fathering too many illegitimate children) or that “condom” is the Latin word for “receptacle,” but the definitive origin of the condom name remains something of a mystery.
In the 1700s, condoms made from animal skin became available. Since these were reused many times, they were less than hygienic, and described as “an armour against pleasure, a cobweb against infection.”
In 1839, technology came to the rescue. The discovery of rubber vulcanization by Charles Goodyear (of the Goodyear Tire Company) allowed rubber goods to be produced cheaply in mass quantities. By the end of the 19th century, condoms were commonly known as “rubbers.”
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the now rapidly growing condom industry. In 1873, the United States Congress passed the Comstock laws banning the mailing of contraceptive information and limiting the availability of condoms, although their manufacture and sale remained legal. That was a good thing too—by World War I, soldiers around the world were in need of prophylactics. The German military was the first to promote condom use, followed closely by other American and European militaries.
From just before 1900, to the beginning of WWI, almost all condoms used in Europe were imported from Germany. During the war, two American companies became the main suppliers to the Allied troops, Julius Schmidt, Inc., and Youngs Rubber Company. Julius Schmidt called his condom brands Sheik and Ramses. In 1920, Youngs Rubber Company, founded by a 33-year-old businessman named Merle Youngs, introduced his brand, TROJAN™ as the competition.
By 1975, TROJAN™ condoms accounted for over half of the condoms sold at pharmacies. Today, TROJAN™ condoms continue to be the top seller in America.* Condoms are still a primary source of protection against disease and unwanted pregnancy. At TROJAN™, we continue to make strides in condom development. For example, our BARESKIN ™ Condom is the thinnest condom we have developed yet. Who knows what the condoms of the future will be, but you can trust TROJAN™ to be at the forefront of their evolution.
The search for the perfect lubricant is nothing new...and has been in development for thousands of years. Today, we benefit from high-tech lubricants that vanish after use or even work in the shower, but early use shows that men and women, had to resort to different methods in our never-ending desire to keep the pleasure going.
The earliest evidence of lubricants dates back to 350 BCE, during which olive oil was used along with leather dildos for masturbatory use. If you use oil as a lubricant, be sure to use nitrile or polyurethane condoms like the TROJAN™ SUPRA™ BARESKIN™ for safety as traditional latex condoms are unsafe when used with oil.
In the 1600s, the Chinese began using vegetable oils as a lubricant for use along with animal intestines. In the 1700s the Japanese began to use crushed yams to create “toroo-jiri”-- the first flavored lubricant.
In 1899, Frederic Kipping discovered a polymer that we now know as silicone, which led to the creation of silicone-based lubricants and condoms. A monumental figure in the world of lubricants, Kipping can be considered to be the father of modern day extended play.
In the 1900s we see the introduction of petroleum jelly - more commonly known by the brand name Vaseline. A thick, water-resistant substance, petroleum jelly was popular for its staying power for sex and masturbatory use.
Today we benefit from a range of lubricants with a wide range of features—everything from arousing, to tingling sensations—to shower-friendly options.
Who knows what the future will hold, but it promises to be sexy and very exciting. And if the past tells us anything, it’s that we will never stop hunting for new and exciting ways to bring our pleasure to the next level.
The content and information contained in this piece was based upon the attached article. To learn more about the history of lubricants, click here.
Fourth Century BCE —Second Century CE
Did you know that the foundation for the eventual creation of vibrators dates all the way back to the fourth century BCE. It all started with a theory put forth by Hippocrates, the fourth-century Greek physician known as the father of Western medicine. He claimed that a woman’s uterus could become too fragile and dry from lack of sexual intercourse. He named this condition “hysteria.”
In the second century, the great physician Galen expanded upon Hippocrates’ original definition, saying that “hysteria” was caused by sexual deprivation in passionate women and was most prevalent among virgins, nuns, widows, and the occasional married woman. The prescription was stimulation of the clitoral area. The prevailing thought was that a woman’s sexual frustration could be cured with an occasional session of female clitoral massage helping her achieve orgasm.
The Middle Ages to the Victorian Era
During the eras of medieval and renaissance medicine, the cure for female “hysteria” was sexual intercourse for married women; marriage for single women or; and for women who remained single, vaginal massage by a midwife.
At the dawn of the Victorian Era, “hysteria” had been a common diagnosis for decades in Western Europe. Its wide range of symptoms included faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex and a tendency to cause trouble. “Hysteria” continued to be a diagnosis for hundreds of years in Western Europe, well into the Victorian Era of the 1860s.
During that time, doctors concurred that masturbation by hand was difficult and tedious. Referring patients to a midwife meant a loss of business for the physician. Medically prescribed masturbation became a highly profitable part of a doctor’s practice as many patients needed and requested constant treatments, some of which could take hours. It was from these circumstances that vibrators were born. Vibrators dramatically shortened treatment time, increased physicians’ business and eliminated the need to use midwives for this purpose altogether.
The prevailing thought was that a woman’s sexual frustration could be cured with an occasional session of female clitoral massage, helping her achieve orgasm.
Initially, stimulation came in an early form of hydrotherapy, where a high-pressure water hose was aimed directly at the clitoris. But as the years rolled by, and with the advent of steam and electric power, the vibrator was on track to make a permanent move from the doctor’s office to the bedroom.
In 1902, Hamilton Beach® patented the first take-home vibrator, which became one of the earliest electrical appliances to be introduced for the home, just after the sewing machine and approximately ten years before the electric iron. Not surprisingly, these vibrators were large, cumbersome and noisy.
By 1917, there were more vibrators than toasters in American homes. Manufacturers made claims that they cured everything from headaches to polio, deafness and impotence. Some ads for vibrators even claimed that they could put a glow on your face.
During the 1950s, vibrators became a bedroom secret shared by single women, housewives and couples. Ads for vibrators were relegated to the backs of magazines.
As the roots of the women’s liberation movement began taking hold, vibrators began to emerge from the shadows. One of the most visible signs of this change occurred in 1973 when Betty Dodson started masturbation groups for women to “awaken their sexual consciousness.”
In the years since, vibrators have increasingly become an accepted part of our culture: In the 1990s, Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop included vibrators as a safe-sex option in government literature. The rise of online shopping made it easier and more discreet for people to buy them, and women around the country hosted sex toy shopping parties in their homes.
Today, vibrators have also become a regular part of pop culture, mentioned frequently in books, magazines, TV shows, online chats and everyday conversation. In fact, surveys suggest that 41% Canadians have used a vibrator!
Vibrators today are no longer used as a treatment for illness, but are viewed as an accessory for sex, both for couples and for solo masturbatory use. Vibrators are no longer seen as taboo. Both men and women are increasingly embracing them as a fun way to achieve stronger states of arousal and sexual pleasure across all forms of intimacy.