Condoms, also known as prophylactics, have lots of different names, some medical sounding, some funny and some we would rather not comment on.
Since we owe a lot to the invention of the condom, I thought I would share their history and some interesting facts. Although the stigma around sex and sexual health has improved positively over the last 50 years, there is still some way to go. Especially for the stigma that women face buying and carrying condoms.
Abstinence is still what many young people are told to do when confronted with sex but preaching abstinence isn’t a very realistic way to approach sex education. Instead, we need to focus on the fact that condoms, when used correctly, make a huge and significant difference in sexual health.
So here you are, 10 interesting facts about condoms...
1. Originally condoms were not made of rubber
In fact, linen soaked in various ‘medicines’ were what the first condoms were made of. Animal intestines such as those of the lamb were also used. Doesn’t sound very… pleasurable.
2. Not everyone used them when they became popular in the 18th century
Condoms were only available for the middle and upper classes. This is because they could afford them but also within the lower class there was a lack of education around sexual health. For prostitutes, the cost of a condom could be 3 months’ worth of work. Condoms were sold at pubs, barbershops, chemist shops, open-air markets, and at the theatre.
3. We now purchase 160 million of them every year in the UK
Meaning just over 3 million condoms are used every day here.
4. The first rubber condom was produced in 1855
The rubber vulcanization process (a chemical process for converting natural rubber or related polymers into more durable materials by heating them with sulphur) was invented by Charles Goodyear in 1839. By the late 1850s, several major rubber companies were mass-producing, among other items, rubber condoms. The main advantage of rubber condoms was their reusability, making them a more economical choice in the long term.
5. British people are still embarrassed about buying condoms
A survey by Fusion Condoms found 56% of people surveyed, were embarrassed to buy them. When it came to men, 54% got red faced while 57% of woman did. And our very own HANX survey found that nearly 40% admitted to finding the experience embarrassing.
6. Talking about using condoms is also something people struggle with, again regardless of age
According to the FPA (Family Planning Association) figures show 61% of people find talking about condoms with a new sexual partner a difficult conversation to have. Of those, 70% find it embarrassing and 36% say it makes them less likely to use a condom.
7. The first televised advert for a condom was in 1975 by a condom company called Trojan
The advert is very of its time, encouraging the use of condoms for family planning. Check it out here.
8. The German Military was the first to promote condom use among its soldiers. They were also the biggest exporters to Europe, Australia and Canada
Early 20th century experiments by the American military concluded that providing condoms to soldiers significantly lowered rates of sexually transmitted diseases. Britain were the only countries with soldiers in Europe who did not provide condoms and promote their use.
9. The UK is the reason we have lubricated condoms
The first lubricated condom was launched in the UK in 1957. This ensured a smoother and better experience for its customers…
10. In 2017, HANX condoms came on to the market
Bringing a beautifully designed condom made by women. In the hope to empower people all around the world to take charge of their sexual health and to stop the stigma around sexual health. The future for condoms looks bright, with more people being vocal about what they want sexually. To conclude this list, I'm leave you with the timeless condom advert below: