11 Crazy Historical Contraceptives That You Don’t Want Anywhere Near Your Private Parts

11 Historical Contraceptives That You Don't Want Anywhere Near You

You’ll never be so grateful that you live in the 21st Century.

I’m sure that everyone reading this knows how important contraception is, even if you weren’t taught it in school. Depending on your chosen method, it can protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and/or help you avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

In 2018, we have a whole range of contraceptives to meet the needs of every person, but throughout history, we haven’t always been so lucky, and you’ll be shocked to learn that vagina-havers often drew the short straw (for a change).

Let’s take a trip back through time and see some of strangest, scariest, and most sickening contraceptives that our ancestors swore by, before we got latex condoms and dental dams.

Important Public Health Notice: Don’t try this at home. Consult a doctor about your contraceptive needs.

1. Lead Poisoning

In Ancient Greece,  it was believed that drinking water which the local blacksmith cooled their tools it would prevent you from getting pregnant and it probably did because of a high lead content. Even in WW1, women were volunteering in factories that worked with lead to keep themselves baby free. Too bad it also lead to neurological problems, kidney failure, seizures, and death.

2. Sneezing and Jumping

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Greek physician Soranus believed that sneezing after sex would ‘shake’ the sperm out before it could fertilize the egg. He also advised jumping up and down. As we now know, pepper and trampolines are not effective at preventing pregnancy.

3. Animal Dung

In ancient Egypt and India, there was a belief that mixing animal dung with honey and putting it inside the vagina would be an effective contraceptive. In all fairness, it probably could prevent STDs and pregnancy by ensuring that no one would want to have sex with you.

4. Coca-Cola Douche

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In the 1950s and 1960s, American women were douching with Coke; all you had to do was shake the bottle and point at your vagina. Now, there is some evidence that Diet Coke will actually immobilize sperm but the health risks of putting a soft drink into such a delicate area are really not worth it. I mean, think about what it does to your teeth.

5. Gold and Silver Diaphragms

Like the diaphragms of today, these would be placed inside your vagina and fit over your cervix to stop sperm from reaching an egg. Too bad that because they didn’t fit properly, they were at risk of coming out whilst having sex and leaving you pregnant. Oh, and because they weren’t made of medical grade materials, the user was at risk of infections or even Toxic Shock Syndrome.

6. A Potato

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This one isn’t even historical; it happened in 2014. A woman genuinely puts a potato inside her vagina because her mother told her that it would prevent pregnancy…the potato grew roots inside her. Sorry for your nightmares.

7. Drinking Hot Mercury

This method of contraception was popular in Ancient China. In all fairness, it probably will prevent pregnancy: by killing you. Weirdly, this has fallen out of favor.

8. Drinking Pennyroyal Tea

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This one doesn’t have a specific timeframe and has been used across time and cultures to prevent pregnancy. As lovely as it would be to drink herbal tea as a contraceptive,  a naturally-occurring plant compound in pennyroyal is toxic to humans and can cause multiple organ failures.

9. Amulets Made From Animal Parts

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that an amulet made from weasel testicles, cat bones, and mule earwax was an effective contraceptive. It worked about as well as crossing your fingers.

10. Opium Diaphragms

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In ancient Sumatra, a wad of opium was placed inside the vagina to prevent pregnancy. Even if this worked, and there is no evidence to suggest that it did, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that putting opium anywhere near your private parts is likely to result in a very strange hospital visit.

11. Lysol Douche

Once the most popular method of birth control in the US, this cleaning product contained an ingredient called cresol that could burn, blister, or inflame the skin or even poison and kill you. Despite all of the very real dangers, it couldn’t even stop you from getting pregnant, though you probably wouldn’t be able to have sex again.

I’m guessing that after all that, you’re probably hella grateful to like in the 21st Century, far away from all of these terrible and terrifying contraceptives. Unfortunately for American women, contraception is constantly under threat at the moment. If you can afford to, make a donation to Planned Parenthood or your local sexual health clinic.

Now, I’m turning it over to you. What’s the worst contraception you’ve ever heard of? Would you like to share why contraception access is important to you? Let me know in the comments section.