In eighteenth century France, at least 10 years of procreative life was “lost” due to late marriages. Because of the overwhelming stigma attached to extramarital births, accidents had to be avoided at all costs.
The moment married women gave birth, the most popular contraception technique was breastfeeding (Fig.1). Rousseau’s famous book Emile (1761) played a significant part in this. In the book he powerfully advocated breastfeeding (although not for reason of birth control) and the method soon became fashionable among women of all classes.
Although even the uneducated were aware of breastfeeding as a way of birth control, other more sophisticated techniques were only reserved for the enlightened part of the population. Erotic fiction (a booming category during pre-revolutionary France) especially Thérèse the Philosopher*, glorified the merits of the withdrawal technique.
Sheep Gut Condom
The aristocracy also used impediment devices, such as sealskin and sheep gut condoms or sponges soaked in vinegar or other acidic liquids. In the 18th century condoms were not easily available and were mainly sold in major cities such as Paris and London.
Birth control was not the only reason for using these devices, they were also associated with sin as they were mainly used for “illicit love affairs”, men used them to prevent venereal infection. Condoms could be used several times and men only had to wash them after each use
The condom below (Fig.2) is a rare remaining example from the 18th century. It is made of dried sheep gut and secured with a white ribbon, that could be tied around the scrotum.
Long Fat One
The engraving on the condom is French and well known: a nun who will choose between three men of God, a monk, one prelate and a bishop (I suspect). They are all equipped with different devices: a short thick one, a long thin one a long fat one.
More Than GBP 10,000
The dimensions of the condom are 12 x 5.5 cm. The text below reads: “Voilà mon choix,” (this is my choice, pointing to the thickest and longest penis…). I have been told that this condom was one of the surprises at an auction in London in the 1980s, caught the attention of the world press and raised a substantial amount of money (more than GBP 10,000!).
This unique condom is now available for Euro 2485,-..! You can click here to inquire about it…!!
* Thérèse the Philosopher (Thérèse Philosophe) is a 1748 French novel attributed to Jean-Baptiste de Boyer
Do you appreciate these kind of “outings” or do you prefer we stay within the confines of the shunga subject?