Engender Health's “History’s Worst Contraceptives” Video Reveals How Far We’ve Come in Reproductive Health
Brace yourselves, ladies: We’re about to take a long, strange trip down an incredibly bizarre rabbit hole. Engender Health has just presented us with a video detailing a variety of ways women throughout history have attempted to prevent unwanted pregnancy — and the video’s title says it all: They are, without a doubt, history’s worst contraceptives.
Part of Engender Health’s WTFP?! initiative, the video both gives us a good laugh and drives home an important point. Sure, it’s funny to look back on these methods of clearly ineffectual contraception — but there’s also a more serious undercurrent. Even though methods like the female condom and multi-purpose prevention technology give us more control over when or if we have children, a huge number of women still don’t have access to the reproductive health services they need. As recently as 2012, 222 million women around the globe had unmet needs for family planning — even though studies have shown that access to family planning has a positive effect on education, gender equality, health for both mothers and children, environmental sustainability, and combatting HIV and AIDS.
This lack of access is exactly what Engender Health is attempting to fight. WTFP?! stands for “Where’s the Family Planning?!”, and its goal is to give those 220 million women the access they need. Sounds like an excellent cause, no?
Find out more about Engender Health and WTFP?! here — and take a moment to appreciate how awesome it is that we’ve moved beyond these terrifying contraceptive methods below. Is your vagina squirming yet?
Egypt, 3051 BCE: Crocodile Dung and Honey
Mix the two together and insert the resulting gloop into your vagina before getting it on. It won’t actually act as a spermicide, but if you like messy sex, it’s probably right up your alley.
Greece, 800 BCE – 600 AD: Blacksmith Water
Do not attempt to use this ancient Greek oral contraceptive. It does not work — and it involves drinking lead, which we now know is incredibly toxic. Yikes.
Europe, 500 – 100 AD: Weasel Testicles
Yep: Weasel balls. Wearing them during sex was said to prevent pregnancy in the Middle Ages.
Canada, 1530 – 1760: Ground Beaver Testicles and Moonshine
I bet that one tasted… uh… fun.
France, 1600s: Onion Juice
Women in France in the 17th century drank onion juice as an oral contraceptive.
Europe, 1880s: Thimbles
Tiniest. Diaphragm. Ever.
Watch the whole video here: