Women still struggle with birth control methods in this day and age. In the modern world, the most effective methods of birth control are sterilization by means of vasectomy in males and tubal ligation in females, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implantable contraceptives. This is followed by a number of hormonal contraceptives including oral pills, patches, vaginal rings, and injections. Less effective methods include barriers such as condoms, diaphragms and contraceptive sponge and fertility. I digress. This is not a class and we’re not studying biology, but it sure made me wonder how the ancient world copped without these things (even I like my random trail of thoughts).
I decided to do a little research to learn how women made it work for them then. Here are some of the things I found:
Stone Age people had no idea where babies came from. Abstinence as a method of family planning never occurred to those who believed that reproduction was magic, that women got pregnant from eating certain fruits. But it was very important for people who understood the connection between vaginal intercourse and reproduction. Abstinence for birth control among married women, however, led to even greater reliance on prostitution by married men, which in turn, led to epidemics of sexually transmitted infections.
Centuries ago, Chinese women drank lead and mercury to control fertility, which often resulted in sterility or death. Isn’t the result kind of obvious? Who in their sound mind consumes mercury as a family planning method? I’m surprised women kept trying.
If you found the Chinese weird and stupid, wait ‘til you read what the Europeans did. In the middle ages in Europe, magicians advised women to wear the testicles of a weasel on their thighs or hang its amputated foot from around their necks. – OK, can someone say witchcraft… How is that even magic? Other amulets of the time were wreaths of herbs, desiccated cat livers or shards of bones from cats (but only the pure black ones), flax lint tied in a cloth and soaked in menstrual blood, or the anus of a hare. Can someone shoot me please? Anus of a hare? Is having babies that bad? It was also believed that a woman could avoid pregnancy by walking three times around the spot where a pregnant wolf had urinated. I can’t deal.
In New Brunswick, Canada, women drank a potion of dried beaver testicles brewed in a strong alcohol solution. Teens in Australia have used candy bar wrappers as condoms as recently as the 1990s. – Ouch, women need to show themselves more love than this.
These methods are obviously not safe. Sadly, modern science has revealed many other ancient methods, especially certain herbal treatments, to be actually effective. While these traditional methods may have worked, they are not recommended. It’s shocking that people with other alternatives use these methods more often than not. Worse still, women with access to the latest advances in contraceptive technology prefer many of these ancient methods.For thousands of years, abstinence, mutual pleasuring without intercourse – outercourse — withdrawal, predicting fertility, and breast-feeding were used by our ancestors to prevent unintended pregnancy. They still play important roles in family planning today.
A study shows that out of the 8 major reasons people have sex, having children makes the least frequent motivator. Even animals are better than human beings but that’s another class on concupiscible appetites. KP
Sources: Planned Parenthood