Condoms are older than you think with historians believing men have been using them to prevent pregnancy for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

No one knows exactly when the first condom was invented. Evidence of early condom use is sketchy but many people think that ancient people used sheaths on their penises as a form of birth control and some even believe they are depicted in ancient cave paintings in Les Combarelles in France, which date back between 10,000 and 13,000 years.

Archaeologists have found condoms made using animal membranes dating back to around 1640. One of these ancient examples, discovered in Sweden, was made from a pig’s intestine and was found with an illuminating instruction manual written in Latin.

Back in the 17th century, condoms were re-used again and again and were viewed purely as a way of preventing an unplanned pregnancy. However, there must have been some awareness of sexually-transmitted diseases as the condom’s instructions advise washing the device in warm milk in between uses to try and stop the spread of infection.

Condoms from the time of the English Civil War were uncovered in the foundations of Dudley Castle and were made from animal and fish intestines. They were believed to have been used by soldiers fighting for King Charles I.

The use of condoms became more widespread in the 18th century but this form of contraception attracted opponents as well as fans. In 1708, John Campbell, the second Duke of Argyll, unsuccessfully fought to have them made illegal.

And in 1717, Daniel Turner, a prominent doctor, complained that condoms encouraged men to have sex with multiple women but did not protect them against the spread of syphilis.

However, modern manufacturing techniques have seen condoms become safer and more reliable than ever before. The origins of the condom we know and use today dates back to the moment Charles Goodyear invented the rubber vulcanisation process in 1839.

His breakthrough saw the first rubber condom produced in 1855 and companies started creating the contraceptive devices using mass production techniques. At this point, condoms were still reusable items and many people still continued to use products made from animal skin as they were cheaper and offered greater sensitivity.

Further advances were made in 1912 when German manufacturer Julius Fromm came up with the idea of making condoms by dipping glass moulds into a rubber solution. When latex was invented in 1920, condoms became more like the products we know and love today and were more affordable as well as disposable.

Safety testing for condoms was introduced in the 1930s after a biochemist carried out an experiment with 2,000 condoms in 1935 and found that 60% of them leaked when filled with water. Then in 1957, Durex invented the world’s first lubricated condom.

Since then condom manufacturers have been finding more and more ways to make condoms thinner, safer and more pleasurable to use. Check out some of the different varieties available today in Funky Condom’s online store.