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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-15

The story of the condom


Department of Urology, Darent Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford, Kent DA2 8DA, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Fahd Khan
Darent Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford, Kent DA2 8DA
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.109976

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Condoms have been a subject of curiosity throughout history. The idea of safer sex has been explored in ancient and modern history, and has been used to prevent venereal diseases. We conducted a historical and medical review of condoms using primary and secondary sources as well as using the RSM library and the internet. These resources show that the first use of a condom was that of King Minos of Crete. Pasiphae, his wife, employed a goat's bladder in the vagina so that King Minos would not be able to harm her as his semen was said to contain "scorpions and serpents" that killed his mistresses. To Egyptians, condom-like glans caps were dyed in different colours to distinguish between different classes of people and to protect themselves against bilharzia. The Ancient Romans used the bladders of animals to protect the woman; they were worn not to prevent pregnancy but to prevent contraction of venereal diseases. Charles Goodyear, the inventor, utilized vulcanization, the process of transforming rubber into malleable structures, to produce latex condoms. The greater use of condoms all over the world in the 20 th and 21 st centuries has been related to HIV. This account of the use of condoms demonstrates how a primitive idea turned into an object that is used globally with a forecast estimated at 18 billion condoms to be used in 2015 alone.


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