How on earth can I follow a post about mantitty?
In my quest for accuracy in all things erotically historical, I did a bit of research about the condom, which I thought I'd share with you lovely readers. Apparently, all my historicals are obsessed with the idea of fertility and contraception. I didn't notice this until one of my critique partners helpfully pointed it out. Thing is, she was right. Perhaps it's the result of being brought up as a Catholic and having four kids.
Anyway, let me share some fascinating details I found at the BBC h2g2 site, which is a bit like a mini Wikipedia, so potentially inaccurate (g), but bear with me! The ancient Roman men solved the problem of contraception by using goats bladders. The Egyptian used linen sheaths, the Chinese, oiled silk-all fairly predictable until we get to the Japanese- who used leather and tortoiseshell-ouch.
The earliest proof of animal gut condoms discovered in England was during excavations at Dudley Castle in the West Midlands where the garderobe (the loo) was known to have been filled in 1647. Now personally, this leads me back to Jane's sausages-how could they tell the difference? And if they could-do I really want to know the details?
Anyone brought up in the UK probably watched a children's show called 'Blue Peter' which was kind of a junior chat show, educational, sometimes funny and not to be missed. They were very keen on diy projects such as make your Mother an xmas gift using an old can, sticky back plastic and a tube of glue, kind of thing-but I digress. Here is my very own diy project for those of you willing to make a considerable effort.
How to make a sheep gut condom (1824)
Soak a sheep's intestine caeca in water for a number of hours, then turn inside out, and macerate them again in weak alkaline, changed every 12 hours. Scrape them carefully to remove the mucous membrane, leaving the peritoneal and muscular coats, and expose them to the vapour of burning brimstone. Then wash them in soap and water, inflate them, dry them and cut to a length of seven to eight inches. Finally, border the open end with a ribbon to tie round the base of the penis, and before use soak the condom in water to make it supple.
(See? it's easy when you know how!)
The two most famous London condom sellers in the mid nineteenth century were Mrs Phillips and Mrs Perkins, who produced competing pamphlets to promote their shops. Mrs Phillips also had a wholesale company on Half Moon Street off the Strand. For those who could not afford the services of Mrs Phillips and Mrs Perkins, Miss Jenny did a roaring trade in washed, second-hand condoms.
Oh Miss Jenny, how could you?