Nothing is more fun than sex. Plus, sex is more than a good time: getting down is good for your health, it increases your intelligence and it makes you more creative. That said, everything fun has consequences—and sex’s main repercussion is that it makes babies. Naturally, this is fantastic if baby-making is your ambition, but if your goal is just a joyful shag with no bundles of joy arriving nine months later then birth control is paramount. In this Up in Smoke we’re examining the quirky history of prophylactics and busting some modern myths.
Model: Lucia Lachkovicova - Ancient Egyptian women applied a paste made from crocodile dung to prevent pregnancies. Maybe it worked by grossing everyone out so much that they didn’t want to bang?
Model: Chelsea Fujisawa - Not a big fan of how latex condoms feel? You’ve been getting off easy: in medieval Japan safe-minded gentlemen sported condoms constructed from tortoise shells. Ouch!
Model: Ava Hart - Need a sheath somewhat softer than turtle shell on your delicate parts? That’s why there are sheep intestines. Condoms made from animal intestines have been around since at least the 15th century (if not longer). You can still buy them today—even top brands like Trojan sell them. They’re generally used by people with latex allergies.
Model: Hayden Porter - In ancient China women drank mercury and ate lead, believing erroneously that the poisonous substances could act as contraceptives.
Model: Miranda Nicole - Roman women used a mysterious plant known as Silphium as birth control. Apparently it worked. It appears to have been so effective that they drove it to extinction!
Model: Carlye Denise - Some rubber-lovers may think donning two condoms is the surefire way to protect against pregnancy. Don’t do it. The friction between two condoms can cause them to rip and tear, resulting in less sensation and more pregnancy.
Model: Gabi - Have you heard different sex positions are natural contraceptives? Don’t believe the rumors. Having sex standing up or in any other pose won’t lower the chances of conception.
Model: Jayden Marie - Great news: the classic withdrawal method is actually 96 percent effective … when done correctly. A man needs serious self-control to make pulling out work.