Those who want to enjoy sex without risk of pregnancy have, today, numerous contraceptive methods at their disposal.
Many women prefer the pill, while others prefer a hormonal intrauterine device or a diaphragm, and there are those who choose the condom as well as to prevent pregnancy, offering protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
But how were women or couples treated in the past, before these scientific methods were developed with proven results?
Here we share some of the most impressive (and some even dangerous) methods.
To avoid pregnancy, the women of ancient Egypt resorted to a method as curious as the smell.
A pasty substance made with crocodile excrement and sour milk was inserted into the vagina or vulva.
What was sought with this ointment was to create an acidic barrier that prevented the passage of sperm.
It is difficult to believe that this unhygienic method was effective unless its effectiveness was based on the smell of the mixture, or even on the very idea, capable of removing even the most passionate desire.
Another method used by those reluctant to introduce feces into the vagina was a mixture of honey and baking soda.
The pessary block was used as a contraceptive method in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century in Europe.
This uncomfortable device was placed on the woman's cervix for up to four months.
It was believed that it prevented the newly formed fertilized embryos from implanting in the womb and beginning to develop.
Some were made of rubber, metal or bone.
In addition to being painful, they caused infections and were often expelled by women's bodies.
The Greek gynecologist Soranus recommended that women in the second century return seven times and sneeze immediately after sex to avoid pregnancy.
While Soranus does not explain in detail what a woman should do to cause a sneeze, the argument behind this idea is that the force of sneezing causes the semen to be expelled from the woman's body.
It goes without saying that it is a completely useless method.
Condoms of sheep and fish
During the English Revolution (between 1642 and 1688), soldiers of King Charles I received condoms made from fish and sheep intestines to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.
But not only did the soldiers use them.
At the end of the eighteenth century, in London, for example, there were two stores dedicated exclusively to the sale of condoms.
These sheep intestine devices had to be soaked in water for a few hours before they were used, to make them more flexible and easy to put on.
They tied them at the base of the penis with a rope to keep them in place, and after using them, they washed them carefully, allowed them to dry and stored them for the next time.
In the eighteenth century, the womanizer and seducer Casanova opted for the linen condoms.
Always inflate them first to check for leaks.
In the seventh century in China, women were advised to drink a tincture of toxic metal to prevent pregnancy.
One of the medical prescriptions indicated frying mercury with oil.
This potion should be taken on an empty stomach.
It may have served to prevent pregnancy, but this poisonous mixture caused sterility and, in many cases, an agonizing death.
In Europe, during the Middle Ages, the testicles of the ferret were prized as contraceptives.
The Python, a medical guide written in the twelfth century, recommends cutting off the testicles of these living animals, wrapping them in goose-skin and using them as amulets to prevent pregnancy.