World Contraception Day: Yes, Humans Used These Methods to Prevent Pregnancy

Sep 26, 2023, 09:57 PM IST

World Contraception Day: Yes, Humans Used These Methods to Prevent Pregnancy

Moohita Kaur Garg

Coca Cola

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the popular caffeinated drink Coca-Cola became an urban legend of sorts. Women used the drink as a vaginal douche to 'kill sperm'. In 1985, a study by Harvard researchers proved that the soda can kill some sperm, however, it is not all that effective a contraceptive.


In the early 1900s and during the Great Depression, Lysol, the household cleaner brand, advertised itself as a vaginal douche for 'feminine hygiene'. The strong disinfectant caused severe damage to women's vaginal walls and in some cases even led to death.

Crude Sperm Barriers

Reportedly, ancient Indians and Egyptians would use poop of mystical animals like elephants and crocodiles as a sperm barrier. In Africa, chopped grass or cloth was used to make plugs. In Japan, prostitutes would use bamboo tissue.

Goat bladder

Throughout history, there have been many mentions of people using animal organs as a condom. This included sheep intestines, goat and fish bladders.

Blacksmith Water

As per WebMD, Sonarus, a second century Greek gynaecologist would recommend to his patients jumping backwards seven times and consuming the water blacksmiths used to cool their metal to avoid pregnancies.

Black Magic

Magic has for ages been the go-to solution, and/or explanation for many things. As per WebMD, during the Middle Ages, some people wore amulets made of mule’s earwax, weasel’s testicles, and a bone taken from the right side of a black cat to avoid pregnancy.


Quicksilver or Mercury, an element that now is proven to cause lung damage and brain damage, was used thousands of years ago by Chinese women as a contraceptive.