Health and Medicine

Surgery and Other Treatments

Prior to the condom, what was the main contraceptive practice?

Contraceptive devices have been used throughout recorded history. The most traditional of such devices was a sponge soaked in vinegar. The condom was named for its English inventor, the personal physician to Charles II (1630–1685), who used a sheath of stretched, oiled sheep intestine to protect the king from syphilis. Previously penile sheaths were used, such as the linen one made by Italian anatomist Gabriel Fallopius (1523–1562), but they were too heavy to be successful.


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