They may be awkward to buy, store and put on, but as you've probably heard, condoms can save your life. (Or, perhaps more importantly, prevent you from having to deal with another life.) So for that, rubbers are worthy of celebration.
If you are in New York, you can pay tribute to the condom by checking out the Museum of Sex's exhibit Rubbers: The Life History & Struggle of the Condom
, which went on view last week.
If you are right here, read on for some fun condom facts.
1. Condoms have been around since 1000 B.C.
Evidence of condom use among Egyptians stretches back as far back as 1000 B.C. For most of their existence, prophylactics were cut from linen sheaths. Then, in the 18th century, condoms began being manufactured out of animal intestines. In the 19th century, rubber became the material of choice for rubbers, and the 20th century ushered in the age of latex. Some folks still use lambskin condoms, and swear by their extra sensitivity. However, for anyone who was in a fraternity, that probably hits a little too close to home.
2. Some condoms are bigger than others.
The world's largest "condom" was a 127-foot-tall hot-air balloon version
of a rubber unleashed during a Dutch safe-sex festival. (Which would seem like a place a fellow could get some action.) The world's largest condom that a man who is probably not being entirely honest would actually put on his penis is the Durex XXL, which, at 9.5 inches, recently passed the Magnum XL
for overall size supremacy.
3. Folks have been waxing poetic about rubbers for ages.
The first recorded use of "condom" was in a 1706 poem. Although we're not privy to the specific verse, we have been led to believe by hip-hop -- the poetry of our day -- that the long-gone bard was either explaining how his habit of laying with many, many women makes condom use essential, or was trying to (disingenuously) convince a lady friend that their exclusivity renders a prophylactic shield to keep their genitals separated unnecessary.
4. Vaseline and condoms are a big fat don't.
Condoms and Vaseline seem like they should go hand and hand, like Mad Dog 20/20 and sex on a "first date." This is far from the case. In fact, Vaseline, or any oil-based lubricant, will act to disintegrate most condoms. You probably already knew this, but a study suggests one in three high school students are blissfully unaware of this essential safe-sex fact
. This bodes well for America's fluttering birth rate.
5. You should never steal a condom in Thailand.
A Swedish man vacationing in Thailand was so excited about the potential for a sexual encounter that he forgot to pay for the condom he had rushed to a nearby drug store to purchase. After being badly beaten by the store's clerks, the 20-year-old was arrested and faced a five-year sentence in a nation known for its harsh justice. On what specific Thai island did this costly crime of passion occur
? Phuket, of course.
6. Condoms scare network TV.
In 1991, Fox ran a commercial for Trojans, ending the long, self-imposed ban the networks had had on condom advertisements. (There had been a few previous, isolated incidents of local affiliates ignoring this edict.) The move was in reaction to Magic Johnson's announcement that he had HIV. The 15-second spot aired during the sitcom "Herman's Head." We couldn't make that up.
7. Condoms don't always do their job
Recently, a study published in the authoritative sounding "Contraceptive" magazine
found that the good ol' withdrawal method was more or less as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy. This is either proof the typical guy has a lot more self-control than we'd have guessed, or that when it comes to condoms, a lot of folks are quite literally doing it wrong.