There's a nice little piece on the history of condoms in the Philadelphia Inquirer today that's extremely educational. We were under the impression that condoms were a fairly recent invention since we've only thought of them in terms of modern materials like rubber and latex, but check it out:
The condom was officially invented and reinvented more times than the wheel, especially by sausage manufacturers who kept noticing what else you might put in that casing.
Sausage casing! LOL! That's totally a better euphemism for condom than "rubber" or "jimmy hat" or "body bag" or whatever. But wait, there's more!
Condoms may predate even the sausage, having evolved from various other types of penis coverings used as long ago as ancient Egypt. A cave painting at Grotte des Combarelles in France that was determined to be at least 12,000 years old shows what appears to be a couple coupling, Collier says, "and it looked for all the world as if the man had covered himself with some kind of animal skin.
Considering how huge of a role the church played in people's lives back in the day, we assumed that sex for any reason other than procreation was a major no-no. And surely the use of barrier birth control other than a chastity belt would be all but outlawed. Wrong!
[In the] 17th century [condoms] were sold openly to men and women by tailors and taverns or through special shops.
Apparently, old time-y condoms used to be tied onto the ween with twine or ribbon, and were made out of animal innards. (We're not really into douching, but we'd make an exception if we'd gotten pounded with dead animal guts.) And they weren't just protecting against unwanted pregnancies, either.
People of the powdered-wig era liked the protection their condoms offered... from syphilis and other infections.
It's a bit mind blowing how people were more logical about STDs hundreds of years ago then we are today. No matter how progressive we think we are, we're still a little bit embarrassed to have to buy a pack of rubbers in front of a long line of people at the drug store—even though we know deep down that we're super cool because we're gonna be getting laid later.
Condoms: A Look At Their Place In History [Philadelphia Inquirer]