HUMANS have been bonking for hundreds of thousands of years, and we’ve come up with some pretty odd contraceptives along the way.
Whether it’s inserting a vinegar-soaked sea sponge into you-know-where, or lathering your bits with crocodile dung, our ancestors had some pretty wacky theories about how to stop a pregnancy.
Getty – Contributor The Ancient Egyptians used crocodile dung to stave off unwanted pregnancies
We spoke to leading biologist and author Professor Brian J Ford about some of history’s weirdest contraceptives.Crocodile dung
The Ancient Egyptians were an inventive bunch, but this idea is probably best left to the history books.
They used a mixture of honey and poo to stave off unwanted pregnancies more than 5,000 years ago.
“The Ancient Egyptians mixed honey and crocodile dung, applied to the woman’s private parts, as a contraceptive,” Professor Ford said.
Getty – Contributor Inuit people in Greenland believed the moon made women pregnant
This makeshift diaphragm blocked sperm from entering the vagina, though it wasn’t very effective.
Crocodile poo isn’t the cleanest in the animal kingdom, so anyone giving it a go risked a nasty infection.
“Carnivore droppings may contain parasites, and are potentially dangerous,” Professor Ford said.Avoid the moon
In ancient Greenland, the Inuit people believed the moon made women pregnant.
That’s because one of their most powerful divinities, Igaluk, was a moon god who controlled the natural world.
To avoid unwanted children, Inuits would avoid looking at Earth’s rocky neighbour, and sleep with their bellies against the floor.
“Before going to sleep at night, they would also rub a bit of their spit onto their bellies,” Professor Ford said.
“They believed this would stop the moon from secretly impregnating them while they slept.”
Getty – Contributor Inserting a vinegar-soaked sea sponge into the vagina is a bizarre contraceptive technique pushed by ancient Hebrew texts
Sea sponge insertion
This one’s not for the faint of heart.
Ancient Hebrew texts describe a method of inserting a natural sea sponge into the vagina to prevent pregnancy.
Worse still, the slimy creature was soaked in vinegar before the process began.
This method was used for three purposes, according to Professor Ford.
“It was used to protect a girl who was too young to survive a pregnancy, during pregnancy to prevent the risk of fertilising a second egg, and to prevent pregnancy while the mother was nursing.”
A healthy serving of papaya has been a popular contraceptive method in parts of Asia for thousands of years.
The tasty fruit is cheap and natural, and is still used by women in Sri Lanka to prevent pregnancies today.
iStock – Getty Some women eat papaya to stop themselves getting pregnant
“Unripe papaya was eaten to prevent or terminate pregnancy, as it contains chemicals that interfere with progesterone,” Professor Ford told The Sun.
“The seeds of the papaya also were used as a fairly effective male contraceptive.
“Eaten daily, they contain chemicals that could reduce a man’s sperm count to zero – a process that was reversed when the man stopped eating them.”Plant insertion
People throughout history have figured out that certain plants can help stave off pregnancy.
Some seeds or barks are natural spermicides – chemicals that kill off sperm.
In the ancient medical manuscript the Ebers Papyrus (1550 BCE), women were advised to grind dates, acacia tree bark and honey into a paste.
“They would apply it to seed wool, and insert the seed wool vaginally. The acacia in the cotton would ferment into lactic acid, which is an effective spermicide,” Professor Ford said.
“Thousands of years later, American slave women would chew the bark of cotton root to prevent pregnancy, as it contains compounds that interfere with progesterone production, leaving a pregnancy unable to continue.”
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Professor Ford spoke to us yesterday about the Ancient Egyptians’ love of poo, revealing that they thought dung beetles held the secret to immortality.
He also spoke to us earlier this year about spontaneous human combustion – claiming the phenomenon is real and burns you “like an incendiary bomb”.
A gel that men rub on their limbs could become the new male contraceptive.
Don’t try any of these contraceptive techniques at home, and always consult your doctor to find the method that’s best to you.
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