Nothing says safe sex like crocodile dung and tortoise shells.
Long before we had modern contraception methods like latex condoms, birth control pills, and IUDs, people were doing some pretty interesting things to avoid getting pregnant.
You may even be familiar with one of the first birth control tactics: pulling out. "One of the most ancient forms of contraception was actually the withdrawal method, which was described as coitus interruptus in the Bible," Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, tells BuzzFeed Health.
But just like people today, our ancestors didn't want to rely solely on pulling out before ejaculation. So, they came up with other ideas to prevent pregnancy. And even though some of these ancient methods seem crazy, many were rooted in the same logic behind the contraception we use today: blocking off the cervix, killing sperm, preventing ovulation, etc.
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Seriously, we do not recommend that you use any of the outdated forms of birth control described in this article. Always consult your doctor or a trusted health care professional about effective birth control regimens.
Blocking your cervix with crocodile poop.
Way back in 1850 BCE, Egyptian women would take crocodile dung and insert it up near the cervix before sex to block sperm from entering. They'd usually mix it with honey because it was known for its antibacterial properties and it helped the dung stick up near the cervix.
While we aren't sure how effective this method was, the fact that it was documented well enough to survive in historical records for thousands of years suggests that it probably did an okay job — or at least it was pretty popular. That being said, shoving crocodile poop up your vagina before sex sounds to us like 50 shades of infection.
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Inserting honey "tampons."
Ancient Egyptian women were also using some of the earliest barrier methods: vaginal suppositories made out of honey. These were described around 1550 BCE in Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical texts in the world.
Women were told to make a mixture of honey and acacia leaves, which they would smear inside the vaginal canal to act as a spermicide or make into a bundle with wool and lint (like an ancient tampon) to place up near the cervix. Unlike the dung method, at least this one probably smelled (and tasted) a lot more pleasant.
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