Having to have sex purely for pleasure as opposed to reproduction is a decision humans have been making for some time now.
How then did birth controls evolve to what we have today?
Below are 10 facts about its history.
1. Once upon a time, Kong Fou, the ancient Chinese writer, wrote that to prevent conception the woman should “at the moment of ejaculation draw a deep breath and think of other things.”
2. It was also once thought that the woman coughing and sneezing produced violent abdominal spasms, the physicians of the day thought these same spasms might reject the sperm. Sonarus, the ancient Hebrew scholar, wrote: “The woman—immediately after, must get up quickly, sit in a squatting position and sneeze several times.“
3. Another writer, Avicenna also wrote, “The woman should rise up when coitus is finished and then take several jumps backwards, sneezing at the same time and endeavoring to jump higher each time.” He further warned: “Great care must be taken in remembering to jump backwards, to dislodge the sperm for jumping forwards will cause the sperm to remain where it is.”
4. Rhazes, an Islamic physician in 923 A.D., wrote that “to prevent conception she should sit on the tips of her toes and push at her navel with her thumbs. It would help if she smelled foul odors.“
5. In 1550 B.C., the Egyptians found that a primitive pessary of acacia and honey would prevent conception. This worked because acacia, as it ferments, breaks down into lactic acid—an effective spermicide that is still used today as a base for many contraceptive foams and creams.
6. In India, elephant feces were use.. In the 10th century, Ali Iba Abbas prescribed a pessary of salt and oil in The Royal Book. All of these worked reasonably well because salt, like lactic acid, is an effective spermicide, lethal to living sperm in doses as small as eight parts to 100.
7. Most of the early birth control had a gummy substance as a base – honey, cedar gum, and oil were all frequently used—and other ingredients were thrown in at the discretion of the inventor.
8. In 1200 A.D., Arabian pharmacologists told women to “take the testicle of the wolf, and it must be the right testicle. Rub it with oil, wrap it in wool, and insert it into the vagina.”
9. The Aztecs in 1552 had their own brand of pessary: “And you shall push into the vulva the crushed herb of the calabash or cucurbita root and eagle’s excrement.”
10. One of the more drastic – and fatal – plugs was that used by the women of the Basai Basin in Central Africa. They used finely cut grass as a pack which they jammed inside. Unfortunately, it was liable to form a solid, tortuous plug which stopped the normal body functions. It killed as many women as it saved from having children.
Of course, the oldest method of birth control, still practiced today, is coitus interruptus. It simply meant that the man reserved his climax: he would think of something less erotic (politics, baseball, for example) and would let his climax subside while still retaining his erection.
Today, for the average sexually active individual, birth control is not much of a problem at all. Like the headache used to be, birth control can be effectively solved by simply taking a pill regularly or even after sex with Plan B.