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How well do you know your condom? 8 quirky never-heard-before facts about the rubber

Switzerland had their condom ambulances and the CIA used condoms during the Cold War for intimidation.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 23, 2017 12:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Condom ambulances,Condom ambulance,Condoms
During the Cold War, one strategy considered by the CIA was parachuting big condoms into the Soviet Union, and writing ‘medium’ on them.(Shutterstock)

It’s time for a history lesson on condoms. Yes, we know you’re on top of your game, at least when it comes to condoms, from how best to use them to the mind-numbing numbers of flavours available in the market. But how much do you know about the history of condoms?

Help is at hand. Here are some lesser-known facts about condoms that you may find intriguing:

1. Not a new invention

The design of condoms has definitely improved over the last 100 years, but the condom as a product is not new. The oldest recorded use of condoms dates back to a cave painting in Grotte des Combarrelles in France. Researchers say these paintings could be 12,000 to 15,000 years old.

2. Didn’t always cover the full length

Before the 15th century, Chinese men used to cover their glans with oiled silk paper. Japanese men used tortoise-shell ‘caps.’ Clearly, Japanese condoms have come a long way since then.

3. 16th century renaissance

Gabriele Fallopio, an anatomist and physician from France is credited with designing what the condoms look like now: He had made a linen condom which was kept wet with a chemical solution, and tied to the penis with a ribbon when dry. Fallopio tested his invention by having 1,100 men try it while they had sex with women suffering from syphilis. He claimed none of the men got any infections. We would love to see Fallopio convince men nowadays to carry out such experiments.

4. They don’t really desensitize

This might have been the case before, but not anymore. Today’s condoms have different flavourings too! (achari chicken tikka anyone?)

5. The German military started it

It was in the 19th century that the German military started large scale use of condoms, which was followed by the American army in the 20th century.

6. Not knowing how to use

You might think using a condom is common sense, but type ‘how to use a condom’ on Google and you get 3,52,00,000 results.

7. Cold War Condoms

During the Cold War, one strategy considered by the CIA was parachuting big condoms into the Soviet Union, and writing ‘medium’ on them. This was supposed to be a method used to tell the Soviet Union women that American men were superior even in this aspect of life.

8. Condom Ambulance

In Sweden, if you were in dire need of a condom, you could call for a condom ambulance. No longer available in Sweden, we’re sure this was one of the more revolutionary ideas relating to condoms that saw the light of day.

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First Published: Aug 23, 2017 11:57 IST