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The History Of Condoms (VIDEO)

February 22, 2013 by Justin Lehmiller

According to popular folklore, condoms were invented in the 18th century by the personal physician of King Charles II of England, who was supposedly named the “Earl of Condom.” However, there is no evidence that an Earl of this name ever existed and it turns out that the world’s first condoms can actually be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who created penile sheaths made of linen to prevent pregnancy and venereal disease. Indeed, as you’ll learn in the video below (entitled The History of Condoms), our use of prophylactics actually has a very long and quite complicated history.

Among the many fascinating bits of trivia you’ll learn are the various materials used to manufacture condoms over the years. For instance, animal intestines (the same material used to make sausage casings) were once the most popular condom material. However, this material turned out to be rather porous and didn’t work too well at preventing the spread of disease. Animal skin was supplanted in the 1830s by vulcanized rubber, which reportedly resulted in condoms as thick as bicycle tires. That may have created a stronger barrier, but (obviously) at a cost of significantly reduced sensation. Needless to say, you should be pretty thankful that latex was eventually invented!

To learn more about the origin and evolution of safe sex, check out the video below.

Watch more videos on the science of sex here.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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