Origin of the name
The word condom is probably derived from Latin "condus" meaning receptacle. Another explanation is that the gut condom was invented by the English army doctor Colonel Quondam in around 1645 and that the word is a corruption of his name. We do not know who invented condoms, but we do know that they were in use. There is evidence of this in the writings of Marquis de Sade, Casanova and James Boswell. The latter, a Scottish lawyer and writer, protected himself against sexually transmitted diseases by using a linen condom. During a visit to an Amsterdam brothel in 1764, he drank with a prostitute, but the encounter went no further as he'd left his "armour" behind. When visiting a brothel in Marseilles, Casanova tried so-called "English raincoats", and spoke of reaching great heights.
The oldest illustration of a condom was found in Egypt and dates back more than 3,000 years. It is difficult to judge from the drawing what the ancient Egyptian wearing the condom had in mind. He may have worn it for sexual or ritual reasons-or both. Some claim that, in later times, the Romans made condoms from the muscle tissue of warriors they defeated in battle. The oldest condoms were discovered in the foundations of Dudley Castle near Birmingham, England. They were made of fish and animal intestine and dated back to 1640. They were probably used to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections during the war between the forces of Oliver Cromwell and soldiers loyal to King Charles I.
Throughout the age's people have tried to find ways of preventing conception and venereal diseases. Obvious methods, such as withdrawal, the rhythm method, douches, and sponges were used, as were various predecessors of today's condom. In ancient Egypt, a linen sheath was used as protection against troublesome insects and tropical diseases. The Chinese tried to prevent infection by wrapping oiled silk paper around the penis, and the Japanese had leather and tortoiseshell sheaths. The Romans used tampons that had been dipped in herbs and condoms made of goats' bladders.
The history of condoms in Europe begins in the sixteenth century, when the venereal disease syphilis reached epidemic proportions. In 1564, the Italian doctor Gabriel Falloppio wrote in the book 'Morbo Gallico', that a linen bag drenched in a solution of salt or herbs formed a protection against the disease. In the eighteenth century linen and silk condoms were used, as well as sheaths made of lambs and goats' gut. To prevent them slipping off, a ribbon on the open end of the condom was tied around the penis. The sheaths made of bladder or gut could be used more than once; in contemporary paintings and prints, they are some-times seen hanging on a hook or a clothesline to dry.
Historians disagree about how condoms got their name. Some say a "Dr. Condom" supplied King Charles II of England with animal-tissue sheaths to keep him from fathering illegitimate children and getting diseases from prostitutes. Others claim the word comes from a "Dr. Condon" or a "Colonel Cundum." It may be more likely that the word derives from the Latin "Condon", meaning "receptacle."
In the 18th century, the famous womanizer, Casanova, wore condoms made of linen. Rubber condoms were mass-produced after 1844, when Charles Goodyear patented the vulcanization of rubber, which he invented five years earlier. Condoms made of sheep's intestines are still available. They are now disposable and should only be used once. In the 1940s and 50s, they were washed, slathered in petroleum jelly, and kept in little wooden boxes in a bedroom drawer-but they weren't talked about-in front of the kids, anyway
What is a condom?
Condoms are a thin rubber tube, which fits over the man's erect penis before intercourse. When the man ejaculates, he does so into the condom that prevents the sperm from entering the vagina. Most condoms are made of latex and when coated with...
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