Condoms are not, as you'd suspect, the result of some drunken man looking at a party balloon and getting an idea. The idea of wrapping one's wang for delivery has been around for ages, long before latex, Saran Wrap and tube socks were viable options.
Back then, animal intestines were the order of the day, most likely because somebody was making sausage and made the logical connection. One of the oldest known condoms is made from a pig intestine and even has a user manual that suggests soaking it in warm milk before use, probably because just humping with a pig intestine was only half gross, but if you could somehow include sour milk in the mix well, that'd put it right over the top.
Again, you have to remember that ancient civilizations existed mainly to disgust the future.
You know what else will never go out of style? Opium. Long before recorded history, there have been segments of the population who decided that everything could be made a little better with a little bit of opium thrown in.
This includes the people of ancient Sumatra, who figured they might as well use it for birth control. So, they'd take a sticky wad of opium and, you know--wedge it in there. Now, we hesitate to even include this because we have a feeling right now there is some dude at his computer, gel in his hair and three buttons open on his shirt, reading this and suddenly having an awesome idea for Saturday night.
PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. We don't know what the side effects are, let's just assume they're unimaginable and move on with our lives.
By the 1700s, most had realized that dried turds and hard metals probably had no rightful place in a woman's lady parts. That's when some enterprising man or woman looked at a lemon half, and got an idea. OK, it was probably a man.
"Honey! I'm going to try something here ... "
The shape would act as a diaphragm and (though the inventor may not have even known this) the acid in the citrus would kill the sperm. And the scent would be just like a freshly cleaned bathroom each and every time! Considering what they were using before that, the guy who came up with it probably won a Nobel prize.
As a bonus, the various shapes and sizes of citrus meant it was great for every woman, though it probably made for some awkward moments with the fruit seller.
Nothing says "baby-free" or "massive brain damage" quite like drinking filthy, toxic sludge--a theory proved positive by the childless, Listerine-drinking hobo who lives by the dumpster out back.
Dating way back to ancient Greece and spanning a good 1,800 years of human history is the idea that drinking the water a blacksmith used to cool the materials he was working with would stop you from getting pregnant. Though it's not really known why anyone believed this, the idea that the water contained lead is a strong possibility as even up through the first World War, women were volunteering to work in factories with lead just so it would keep them sterile.
The only real downside was a pantload of neurological problems, nausea, kidney failure, seizures, coma and death. Hell, they'd probably have been better off sticking with the mercury.
The modern age isn't all enlightenment and ribbed condoms. For a time, not too long ago (and in fact, probably as recent as last Wednesday) people were under the impression a can of Coke was as good as the morning after pill. And they weren't drinking it.
Yes, they would douche with it after having sex. The belief was that carbonation and sugar would be effective at stopping pregnancy, and also turning a vagina into a syrupy, caffeinated horror show of fizz and sticky spots. We like to think Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb were the carbonated no-baby douches of choice, but study by Harvard in the late '60s gave the honor to Diet Coke.
We're sincerely hoping this still doesn't go on today, because if so it's just a matter of time until some joker decides to stick some Mentos in there.
For more evidence that history be trippin' (we should totally make that an article category) check out our rundown of The 6 Most Insane Crash Diets of All-Time. Then head over to the blog and witness the very definition of bad parenting.