The Wrap Up: A brief history of condoms


This is it, your seminal post on the history of condoms. Read below and find out how far your cock sock has really come.

1000 BC

Condoms find their origin here in their primeval form; the linen sheath. Used by the ancient Egyptians to protect their, *ahem*, bits from disease you have to wonder if it was comfortable for anyone involved…

Other alternative materials that were used as condoms included: oiled silk paper (that’s not so bad), leather (kinky) and goats bladders (oh no, that’s worse, much much worse).


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They want my organs to do WHAT!?

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1400s AD

It can only get better from goats bladders, right? Evidence has shown Glans Condoms, (condoms that cover only the head of the penis) were in use throughout China and Japan in the 1400s. Japanese condom users had the choice between tortoise shell and animal horn (such forward fashion thinking), meanwhile Chinese condom owners had to pick between oiled silk paper and lamb intestines ( again!?!).


Shaun the Sheep

Nobody is making a condom out of me

Shaun The Sheep | Nick Park | Ardman Animations | BBC


Italian physician Gabrielle Fallopian recorded the horrors of Syphilis and how they might be combatted by a linen sheath soaked in salt and herbs (salty mouth anyone?).


Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig | Saturday Night Live | NBC


Charles Goodyear creates the world first rubber condoms (wooo!) These elastic fantastic condoms did not stretch or tear nearly as quickly as their animal originated counterparts. These condoms were as thick as a bicycle inner tube (oh dear), so you might imagine the sensation might have been a little more limited…


A rubber condom
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The invention of latex (rubber suspended in water) marked the beginning of the latex condom. Young’s Rubber Company the first to manufacture a latex condom created a product that was stronger and thinner than rubber condoms, and could last on the shelf up to 5 years!


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Improvements to the latex condoms make them lubricated, tighter and thinner. The introduction of a reservoir tip helps make space for semen (not sea-men, at ease sailor) and prevents leakage.


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The emergence of HIV drew, for the first time, condom use into the mainstream media. Advertised as the next best method aside from abstinence to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


New Zealand AIDS Foundation


Condom sales reach total of 9 billion sales worldwide!


9 Billion


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a Grand Challenge which seeks innovation in global health research, of note their challenge to “develop the next generation of condom”. Of the 11 grant winners, some of the technological innovations to the condom include:

  • Shrinking (apparently within a comfy realm)
  • Ultra-sensitive / feels like skin
  • Applicator handles (see it here)
  • Heat conducting
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The anticipated launch of the Origami condom, which radically changes the design of the latex condom. These futuristic origami inspired condoms seek to increase sensation with its loose fitting design that moves with the natural movement of the body. (Perhaps don’t make your own out of paper though…)


Sourced from Oragami Condoms (


Condoms have certainly come a long way, and today they continue to be the most effective way to stay safe. Find out all about condoms here!


The image used in the header of this blog post was taken by bnilsen from Chapel Hill, NC, USA (happy condom x 2Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons