History of Condoms & Must-Know Facts to Be a Condom Know-It-All in 5 Minutes

Condoms have come a long way to being the slick, thin latex ones we all know and love today. Do you know the history of your favorite contraceptive?

History of Condoms Facts

Let’s be honest, when you’re putting on a condom, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t, “oh, I wish I knew the history of condoms.” If this was your first thought, well, then maybe having sex with this person isn’t a good idea. Shouldn’t you be focused on them instead?

But, maybe when you’re out buying condoms or thinking about the difference between latex and sheep’s skin condoms, the history of condoms is more enticing.

You should know about the history of condoms. After all, you are putting it inside your body or on your dick! [Read: Newsflash! Women hate condoms just as much as men do]

The grand history of condoms

Whether or not you’ve always had the burning desire to know the history of condoms, there are a lot of interesting things to learn. So, let the roller-coaster of shock and awe begin!

1. What was used before condoms were invented?

This may come as a shocker for some… but people have always had sex. It is safe to assume that when condoms hadn’t been invented, people didn’t use them. [Read: Unprotected sex – the dangers most people don’t even think about]

However, condoms are a lot more old-school than people may think. A cave painting from 11,000 B.C. was discovered in France depicting a man and a woman having sex. And to our surprise, the man was painted with a condom on.

Yes, the history of condoms started that long ago. Only, back then, they used animal lining to wrap their tools.

2. Origin of the word “condom”

Unfortunately, the origin of the word “condom” is still unknown. Some people believe it might have been named after Dr. Condom, a court of King Charles II, which we think is cool despite being farfetched. Others believe it comes from the Latin word “condus,” meaning receptacle.

3. What the first condom looked like

The first legitimate documentation of the condom showed that it was made of pieces of linen that were sewn together by hand. These condoms were either wrapped around the entire penis or just the tip.

Probably isn’t the best feeling since linen is a little rough, and actually, we’re not even sure how efficient that is for protection. But, they were being used during the Roman Empire, and we all know how much those guys loved to have sex – so we guess it worked. [Read: Why men hate wearing condoms and why you still need to use one]

4. Then things got awkward

We would say this is the dark history of the condom, an era that probably most women from that time would rather not discuss. In Asia, aristocrats started to use glans condoms, which only cover the head of the penis. This was made of oiled paper or intestines – at first.

Then they decided to amp up the protection by using tortoise shells or animal horns. Yes, you read right. They stuck their penises in tortoise shells or animal horns and then penetrated their lady.

We squirmed, you squirmed, we all squirmed reading that. The only upside to this was if you had a small penis, well, you suddenly had a rhino dick. [Read: The best lubricants for sex – 15 winners from the kitchen cupboard]

5. What’s all of this about “intestine” condoms?

You’ve probably heard about animal intestines being used as condoms. Surely it’s a joke, right? We’re here to tell you that it’s all true.

Most condoms in America were made of livestock intestines, stitched together and imported from Europe. People were crazed over the promise that these condoms stopped the transmission of disease and the risk of pregnancy. Sounds about right, right? Well, the intestine condoms had their downfall.

Many of the makeshift condoms were made with chemicals that left users with unwanted chemical reactions. Being hand stitched, they were uncomfortable, caused irritation, did not prevent STIs, and had an unbearable smell. Gross.

6. So, who created the modern-day condom?

Although we said condoms have been around since ancient times, the rubber condom similar to what we know and love today was by Charles Goodyear. Yeah, the bicycle tire. That’s the guy.

He founded a process that converted natural rubber into the elastic rubber we are familiar with today. Although he made other rubber items, his condoms infamously took the world by storm.

7. The first rubber condom went through some bumps

Of course, through the advancement of technology, the rubber condom was then created in 1855. Don’t get too excited, though – it was horrible compared to today’s standards.

Goodyear’s condoms were 2 millimeters thick. Yikes! That is an astonishing thickness compared to today’s standard 0.07 millimeter condoms or slim 0.04 millimeter condoms. They were reusable and therefore washed, coated with vaseline, and stored after use.

Sounds thick, right? They were made of the inner tube of a bicycle tire and, well, were literally the thickness of the inner bicycle tire tube. [Read: Must-know facts and trivia about condoms]

8. Condoms weren’t always legal

You thought condoms were always legal? Think again. In the United States, condom use didn’t become legal until 1918. This is one of the surprising facts in the history of condoms.

So, that wasn’t that long ago. Why so late? Well, in the USA, sex was frowned upon. Condoms were illegal and declared to be contraband because they “promoted illicit sexual intercourse.” However, they were perfectly legal if bought and used to prevent disease.

9. Condoms became classified as a drug by the FDA

A piece of rubber being classified as a drug doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, in 1937, the USA did just that. But why?

Well, at this point, condoms were dominating the market because latex was brought into the picture. It was a much better *and less flammable* way to mass-produce condoms. Because of the increase in condoms being manufactured, they started to be regulated for safety and reliability for sale only by pharmacists and in drugstores.

Thus, the FDA joined in the wave of regulation and made condom manufacturers subject to FDA inspection. [Read: Buying condoms – the complete newbie’s guide to using condoms]

10. Thank the UK for lubrication

The UK should be praised for its double-decker bus and lubrication. In 1957, the UK came out with its very first lubricated condom. Finally, a good part of the history of condoms!

That’s right! No longer did people need to spit on their dicks or douse them in butter because the UK saved the day. We mean, you go from spitting to having a pre-lubricated dick; this is a huge deal *and a life-changer*.

11. AIDS pushed the use of condoms

There was one disease that really pushed the use of condoms, and that was AIDS. Once it was determined that HIV is sexually transmitted, well, people started taking condom use seriously. When the AIDS epidemic was out of control, condom companies started to advertise the importance of wearing condoms.

12. The 80s brought out the fun in condoms

The 80s were the decade of fun. Workout wear, perms, Madonna, what’s not to love? When the 80s rolled around, condom manufacturers stepped up their game and took a detour from the traditional condom.

The FDA ruled “novelty condoms” to be made and sold. This was when a variety of colors, textures, and flavors poured out into little condom packets. That strawberry condom you love sucking on so much? Thank the 80s. [Read: Condom types and how they improve your sex life]

13. There is a female condom

Most people only know about the male condom, but actually, there is a female condom as well. It’s just not as widely known. But it’s been around since 1937. It lines the vagina and has an outer ring that covers the external genitalia. It is a great way to practice safe oral sex!

14. The G-spot condom

Condom manufacturers continue to release new types of condoms to accommodate different sexual experiences, which is pretty awesome. In 2020, the popular condom brand Trojan released a condom intended to amplify pleasure when stimulating the G-spot.

This condom has material that moves with the motion of sex and has a micro-ribbed pouch at the tip to stimulate the G-spot. [Read: Drive him wild – how to find and stimulate the male G-spot]

15. The condom market is huge

Though condoms have their competition with other forms of birth control, such as the pill or the infamous pull-out method, it’s still a huge industry.

In 2021, the global condom industry reached $51.3 billion and is expected to continue to grow. The great part is that they’re seeing higher sales in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. People are catching on to the benefits of condoms worldwide!

[Read: Don’t like condoms? The big dangers most people have no idea about]

Now that you know about the history of condoms, you can now tell your partner about it while having sex. While thrusting, just start talking about the origins of latex. They’ll love it… that was a joke. We would leave this as a post-sex conversation topic.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...