Historical and Social Perspectives
People’s concern with controlling conception goes back at least to the beginning of recorded history. In ancient Egypt women placed dried crocodile dung next to the cervix to prevent conception. In 6th-century Greece, eating the uterus, testis, or hoof paring of a mule was recommended. In more recent historical times, the 18th-century Italian adventurer Giovanni Casanova was noted for his animal-membrane condoms tied with a ribbon at the base of the penis. In 17th-century western Europe, vaginal sponges soaked in a variety of solutions were used for contraception (McLaren, 1990).