It Could Be Worse: At Least We're Not Douching With Lysol Anymore

Illustration for article titled It Could Be Worse: At Least We're Not Douching With Lysol Anymore

We briefly touched on this years ago, but it seems apropos because, hell, isn't the ongoing War on Contraception getting you down? Cheer yourself up (kind of) by checking out Mother Jones' collection of Lysol douche ads and remembering that things used to be a lot worse not so long ago.


Condoms and diaphragms were pricey and hard to come by during the first half of the 20th century. Douching, on the other hand, was cheap and advertised everywhere as a surefire way to clean your vadge. Less advertised was that douching was also the most common form of birth control until the oral contraceptive pill arrived in 1960. Lysol was the most popular brand of douche, and back then the antiseptic soap contained cresol, which was reported to cause inflammation, burning, and even death. Nevertheless, Lysol was marketed as "safe and gentle" enough for women, and lots of ladies mistakenly used it as an over the counter form of contraception — a 1933 study showed that nearly half of the women who used douching for birth control ended up pregnant.

To add insult to injury, the hurtful and faulty method was marketed to consumers with images of women locked out of their homes and trapped by cobwebs, wondering if their husbands were still interested in them and their gross vaginas. If it didn't seem like it, "she was really the one to blame."

So, ladies, we might be called "sluts" by prominent pundits for using birth control, but at least we're not potentially poisoning ourselves and feeling bad about it at the same time? Happy International Women's Day!

When Women Used Lysol as Birth Control [Mother Jones]



Lysol?! Like the stuff you spray in your bathroom and wait 10 minutes for it to KILL EVERYTHING?!