It may be hard to believe since our grandparents and great-grandparents seemed to have a never-ending list of children, but the idea of contraceptives is actually as old as time.
However, contraceptives definitely haven’t only been the neatly packaged combination pills we have access to now. There have been some weird and sometimes bizarre use of contraceptive methods, and some are still used today encourage you to NEVER try any of them.
Try not to be totally terrified as we discuss some of these “so-called” contraceptives.
Yes, you read correctly. A literal lemon cut in half and used as a diaphragm. We guess that’s where the inspiration for the modern diaphragm comes from anyway since the shape is similar.
The citric acid is said to have contraceptive properties as it kills sperm. Definitely don’t use this as lemon juice could cause some really bad infections.
2. Crocodile Dung
This one had us shocked too! Crocodile dung was used as one of the earliest forms of contraceptive by the ancient Egyptians in 1850 BC. The Ramessuem Papyrus (a medical text from the 17th century BC) recommends the use of crocodile dung for birth control.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the thick and sticky consistency of the dung would create a barrier wall to hinder sperm from penetration. Safe to say, even the Ancient Egyptians realised that this was a terrible contraceptive method and should never be used.
Well, this one makes us really grateful for modern-day contraceptives despite their flaws. Women in ancient China resorted to drinking mercury to help prevent pregnancy.
The plan would be to drink just enough to prevent conception but not enough to kill or poison (whoa, risky). Mercury is known to cause brain damage, kidney failure, sterility and even death.
We all know there a lot of benefits behind using honey, but you don’t expect it to be used as a birth control method.
Honey was used as another form of contraceptive by the ancient Egyptians when they realized that crocodile dung wasn’t working. Honey was mixed with acacia berries and stuck to somewhat of a makeshift tampon. We should add that honey is definitely not a safe or full-proof method of birth control and should definitely be avoided.
5. Testicle Tea
Fancy a cup of testicle tea to prevent pregnancy?
Women in ancient China firmly believed that consuming a cup beaver testicle tea would work well as a birth control method.
We want to reiterate that are no medical basis behind this one.
Well, more like acidic substances than actual acid.
Women from both Roman and Greek empires would “wash” their insides out from various acidic liquids like lemon, sea water and even vinegar. Just the thought of using vinegar in our lady parts makes us shudder. Please don’t use any acidic substances as contraceptive.
Forget drinking a nice cold can of cola to replenish yourself after doing the deed. Coke was actually used by women imagining that it would assist to kill off sperm by inserting into their vagina.
Apparently, the diet coke variety was supposedly the most effective. Safe to say, this is not a full proof or scientifically proven method at ALL.
8. Squad & Sneeze
If only things could be this simple, right?
Doctors in Ancient Greece suggest that women get into a squat position immediately after having intercourse and try to sneeze to drive all the semen out.
Ha. Please, see a doctor for a more reliable and suited method of contraceptive instead.
9. Animal Intestines
As early as the 1400s, animal intestines (pig intestines were particularly popular in some places) were used to create early condoms.
The ancient Romans made use of bladders from mostly sheep and goats, while the Chinese and Japanese preferred to use lamb intestines to create these glans condoms.
We don’t even want to think about the sort of infections that could be caused by this, definitely NOT worth a try.
10. Juniper Berries
Ancient Native Americans believed that they could prevent pregnancy if they drank tea made of Juniper Berries for three days straight.
The berries assist in making the lining of the uterus unsuitable for embryonic growth, and that’s why pregnant and breastfeeding women are told to avoid consuming them. While this may be true, consuming Juniper Berries is definitely not a full proof or scientifically proven method to prevent pregnancy.
The above-discussed methods of contraceptive are not safe or even effective compared to modern ones, but they prove that the desire to have some sort of birth control has been strong for centuries. We’re glad that modern science is finally catching up and providing safe and reliable options for those who are trying to prevent pregnancy.
Want to learn more about safe modern contraceptives? See our top 6 interesting facts about condoms.