Thursday Thirteen: episode 11

13 Historical Methods of Contraception

Plus: Their Scary Score from 1-10. 1 being “Sure, whatever”; 10 being “Let me know what St. Peter’s like up close”.

  1. One half lemon rind for a makeshift cervical cap. (Scary Score: 2)
  2. Balls of bamboo paper used to block the cervix. (Scary Score: 4)
  3. Crocodile dung as a sticky cervical plug. (Scary Score: 9)
  4. Condom-like sheaths made of animal intestines. (Scary Score: 10)
  5. Spermicide made of cocoa butter and quinine sulfate. (Scary Score: 3)
  6. Inserting flocks of wool wrapped around pine bark and sumac rubbed with wine. (Scary Score: 8 )
  7. Post-coital sneezing and squatting. (Scary Score: 1)
  8. Linen condoms. (Scary Score: 1)
  9. Drinking lead, arsenic, strychnine and/or mercury. (Scary Score: 10)
  10. Wearing a necklace of a black cat’s bone shards or an amulet of a mule’s earwax. (Scary Score: 2)
  11. Candy bar wrappers as condoms. (Scary Score: 4)
  12. Walking three times around the spot where a pregnant wolf had urinated. (Scary Score: 1)
  13. Lysol douche. (Scary Score: 10)

Anyone else suddenly have a hankering for abstinence?

Here’s further reading on the subject (and my various sources for this post): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Check out more Thursday Thirteens here.


29 thoughts on “Thursday Thirteen: episode 11

  1. A gwazillion years ago, while still in high school, I had to write a paper for my family living class about contraceptives. The book I chose for my research was “The Curious History of Contraception” and many of the things you wrote about today were mentioned in that book.

    One thing I vividly recall is that during the Victorian era a small object was inserted into a woman’s uterus in hopes of helping her conceive. They had it a lot backwards.

    Great post! Thank you for visiting my site today!!

  2. I can’t believe I’ve run into a second Lysol douche reference in less than 48 hrs. I just watched a special on the history of sex where several birth control methods were mentioned that were questionable, dangerous and just plain insane. Lysol is definitely the last two.

    Although I’m allergic to it, I echo the sentiment, “thank heavens for latex”.


  3. Points for sure for an unusual idea. Love the “scary score”.

    Oh, and Cecily? When I first read your comment, I thought it said, “EEE! Lysol? Bleach!” Sort of an “out of the frying pan, into the fire” kind of thing.

  4. Wow. My goodness…Lysol was actually around the time they did that? those poor bodies.
    This makes me so grateful for modern education about the female body. We use a form of NFP very successfully, without any hormone interference. :)

  5. @Sharon
    That’s my ideal situation as well: no hormones and no messing with the finely tuned inner workings.

    That 2nd link in my post shows some vintage Lysol ads. It looks like they were for scent, but apparently it was considered birth control.

  6. “Drinking lead, arsenic, strychnine and/or mercury. (Scary Score: 10)”–makes me wonder if they really thought if they did this BEFORE if they would live to have sex AFTER LOL!

  7. Why is an animal intestine condom scoring a level 10 (death)?

    They were the precursor to the latex ones we have today, additionally for those allergic to latex I think you can still get condoms made from lamb skin or something.

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