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Condoms are by far the most popular and most widely used form of contraception, which also provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today everyone knows about condoms, where to find them and how to use them, but not many people know how condoms first came to be.

History of condoms

Historically speaking, condom is one of the oldest forms of contraception. The origin of the term “condom” is not absolutely certain, but most historians and linguists believe it derived from the Latin word “condos”, which means a vessel or a container. This is logical because condoms were always used to hold and store semen after ejaculation.

It is believed that the first time condoms were used was several thousands of years ago, although their exact purpose and description was not documented. There are several Egyptian paintings describing condoms and their use which are traced back to the year 950 B.C. There are paintings and other proofs of early condom use in Europe too, but they are not as old as the ones found in Egypt.

The first condoms were probably made of leather, and they were in form of small pouches closed at one end. Condoms were also used in ancient Japan, and they came in different forms and materials, from leather to tortoise shells. However, there is no proof that any kind of lubricant was used in any part of the world.

Condoms were used in ancient Rome too. There is some evidence that Romans wore condoms made of intestines of the enemies they killed.

The first public demonstration of condoms was around 15th century in Europe. It is believed that the first modern condom was made and used in Italy. Its basic material was linen and its main purpose was to prevent the spreading of syphilis, which was largely diffused in Europe at the time.

Leather was the main material used to make condoms up until the invention of vulcanized rubber in the 18th century. The rubber proved to be the best material for this purpose, since it was stretchable and did not allow leaking.

Condoms today

The last revolution in condom manufacturing came around 1930’s, with the invention of latex, which turned out to be better than rubber.

Today, all industrially manufactured condoms are made of latex. They are, however, lubricated with appropriate materials to improve effectiveness and comfort. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and even flavors. There are extra large condoms, condoms with textures, like ribs, thin condoms, condoms containing spermicide, and many other types.

They are affordable, widely available and, most importantly, reliable.

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