Love & Sex

10 Bizarre Things You Didn’t Know About Condoms

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About 87 condoms are used each second on Valentine's Day in the United States. Please take your trash out.

This week marks the 36th annual National Condom Week, which originally began on the campus of the University of California Berkeley and has since blown up into a week of education for high schools, colleges, Planned Parenthood branches, and condom manufacturers alike. We are decidedly pro-condom — whether we're talking about the joys of jimmyhats, the frustrations of a snug rubber, or how far we can stick our arm in a prophylactic. But there are some mysteries to your favorite barrier method that even we didn't know about. And since you're probably looking to get laid this Valentine's weekend, why not impress your bedmate with some historically accurate and bizarrely factual pillow talk.


1. The world's oldest surviving condom dates back to 1640 and is on display in an Austrian museum. This Swedish condom is made of pig intestine and was said to be soaked in warm milk prior to use to ensure it was disease free. Other ancient condoms were made of oiled silk paper, animal bladders, tortoise shells, fish skin, and animal horns. You can reflexively start clutching your private parts now.

2. About 87 condoms are used each second on Valentine's Day in the United States, meaning V-Day really works for that title of National Condom Day.

3. In the 19th century, the German military was the first institution to recommend condoms to its soldiers. And during World War I, the United States and Britain were the only countries in Europe who wouldn't provide rubbers to their men in arms. By the end of the war there were almost 400,000 documented cases of syphilis and gonorrhea in the U.S. military. Realizing war couldn't stop the libido, they changed their tune come the next war.

4. A condom can hold up to 4 quarts of liquid. So, no, your load can't be too big for a condom to contain it.

5. The word "scumbag" actually means condom. Originating in the 1960s, this derogatory term simply means semen-filled used condom. You had no idea what kind of grimy shade you were throwing at that little boy on the yellow slide during recess.


6. In the 15th century, glans condoms that only went over the head of the penis were in wide use. By the 16th century, condoms were made of linen, and often had a ribbon sewed on the open end to tie around the shaft of the penis. Essentially, all Renaissance era dicks looked like tiny cloth presents.

7. The Danish word for birth control is Svangerskabsforebyggendemiddel. Which is admittedly hard to whisper seductively while rapidly masturbating someone and trying to smoothly initiate some P in the V.

8. Ireland is one of the most expensive places to buy condoms in, at about $18 a box. Shanghai is the cheapest.


9. The earliest known depiction of a man using a condom is a 12,000-15,000 year-old painting on the wall of a cave in France called Grotte des Combarrelles. Proving we've always been real obsessed with documenting everything our junk touches.

10. There is no documented medical reason a person can't use a condom. Since modern condoms are made of latex, polyurethane, lamb skin, and polyisoprene — there's even something for the most sensitive peens out there. Whether a guy or a girl will still complain about having to wrap it? That's not as certain.

Image via Flickr.

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