Everything You Wanted to Know
About the History of Condoms
Back by popular demand: you guys loved this article about the history of condoms!
A couple weeks ago I got lucky. I was invited to the opening reception for “Rubbers: The Life, History & Struggle of the Condom” at the Museum of Sex in New York.
I brought my camera – and a date.
According to historians, condom use dates back 12,000 to 15,000 years, as evidenced by early French cave paintings. Some speculate that condoms were first used even earlier, around 1000 BC, when ancient Egyptians may have deployed linen sheaths as protective barriers against disease.
Regardless of their exact birthday, condoms have covered a lot of territory over the years. So to speak.
“Influencing everything from science to art to politics and religion, the condom, which has remained at the epicenter of debate since its inception, rose from its humble beginnings to become a barometer of morality and a savior in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” explains exhibit literature.
The opening was feted with fetish artists of all stripes. Three men with Jersey Shore tans flaunted their muscles in bondage gear. A member of the museum staff floated around in a gold dress (“by Playboy”) made entirely of condoms (not to be confused with the “couture” condom dress, pictured below). Waiters passed trays of Trojans. And a drag queen inflated naughty balloons from her leather-clad nipples. Just another quaint night in New York City – a carnival atmosphere to help celebrate those little bits of latex.
I tried to look nonchalant as my date perused a resin sculpture of used condoms scooped from the floor and garbage bins of FIST nightclub in London. Later, we stood mesmerized before a condom-testing lab video from exhibit sponsor Trojan. (I’m not even going to mention the videos playing in the other sections of the museum!) The condoms were inflated to bigger-than-life shapes before finally bursting. They grew so huge that the aforementioned Balloon Lady of the Night could have used them in her act.