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The History of Condoms

The History of Condoms

by Team Champ - April 15, 2021

Condemn-nation: A Historied Past with Renewed Purpose

King Minos of Crete is one of the earliest recorded users of the condom (a goat’s bladder, if you were wondering). Since then, the condom has undergone a myriad of iterations, from linen in ancient Egypt (color-coded to signify class structure), to tortoise shells (ouch!) in ancient Japan, with other variations including leather, animal intestines and oiled paper.

In the nearly five millennia since its inception, the condom has had some interesting and eventful milestones. The term was first discovered in the diary of the first physician to receive a medical diploma in America (thank you Dan Turner), the word became official in London in 1785. In addition to pleasuring much of society, the famous lover Casanova gave the condom early celebrity status in the 18th century and started the first QA process by inflating them prior to use to test for leaks.

Latex Condoms Were Introduced In The 1920’s

Rubber made it onto the scene in 1839, which later evolved into latex (today’s preferred material) in the 1920’s. Nearly 100 years after their introduction, they were being issued to soldiers at war. The 70’s brought about government oversight with the FDA instituting requirements (great!) for safety and quality but also laid the foundation for preventing advertising for condoms on national television (definitely not great in our opinion), both of which have continued into the present day in some form.

But when it comes to the almighty condom, what hasn’t changed is its purpose. Yes, many people look to the condom as a form of birth control, but the condom was first developed and refined to help maintain sexual health. King Minos gallantly used condoms to protect his wife from the “serpents and scorpions” in his semen, the Egyptians were preventing “tropical diseases”, Gabriele Falloppio recommended condoms to protect against syphilis in the 1500’s, and the US government was still trying to stem the spread of syphilis in the 1940’s.

STIs Are On The Rise

And these days? There is good news and bad news. The good news is, the availability, surrounding education, regulation and growing acceptance of the condom brought STIs to unprecedented low levels in 2001 and again in 2009. Mic drop, right? Well, not quite. Over the past five years, STIs (also known as STDs) have been on the rise.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the combined cases of the three most common STIs in the United States have reached an all-time high in 2018. This marks the fifth consecutive year of steep and sustained increases in the number of reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

In the age of technology in 2021, there is unprecedented access to sexual health education and information – at all of our fingertips 24-7, literally. This rise in STIs is even more surprising given that the last decade has been heralded as the “Millennial Sex Recession,” with a reported decrease in sexual partners and activity. 

While there are many reasons cited for this increase in sexually transmitted infections, a consistent contributing factor is a reduced use of condoms. With FDA cleared condoms, proven to be highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and disease, available in ultra-thin and ribbed varieties, Champ is an important part of your protection team. Don’t just take it from us – there are 5,000 years of experience and innovation on the same side!

What About 2020?

You may be wondering what happened in 2020. Well, it was a tough year for all of us, with unique challenges for those in the dating world. Due to COVID-19, most of us spent much of the year quarantining, dating virtually, attending college remotely, and eating at home since most bars and restaurants were closed. While the CDC hasn’t released its STD report for the year, it’s believed that newly recorded cases will likely be lower compared to the past several years. This could be due to the national lockdowns and also due to people not frequenting testing centers during the pandemic. What do we expect for 2021? With vaccinations becoming more readily available and cities starting to reopen, the growth trend from the past several years will likely pick back up where it left off. We may even experience a post-COVID spike, as we all want to make up for some lost time. So, if your 2021 is looking more and more like 2018, let’s remember to be safe while we go out there and have some fun!