10 Crazy Things Women Have Tried Using As Birth Control

A woman in Columbia recently almost gave birth to a potato. Well, that is not exactly true. What actually happened: she had shoved a potato up into her lady-business to act as birth control, genius advice she'd gleaned from her mom. After a couple of weeks, the potato began doing what potatoes do. It sprouted some roots, causing this lady (AND ANY SANE PERSON) to lose her mind and flee to the ER for emergency attention. Luckily no surgical intervention was required. Also, though I have searched the internet high and low, I cannot find out whether or not she was allowed to keep the potato or if it was taken by the state and given to a more responsible caretaker.

This story is garnering a lot of attention right now because it's very WTF POTATO-y (legitimate journalist turn of phrase, I swear.) It's 2014, and the idea that sticking a root vegetable up yourself for recreation or practical purposes seems like something that we as a people should have probably evolved past at this point. But there is a long, proud, disturbing, and disgusting tradition of what men and women will both do to keep the gleam in their eyes from coming to fruition in order to get nasty with each other. Here are 10 of the weirdest things women have ever used as birth control:

1. Potato

Potatoes are delicious. You can eat them in numerous ways, all of which are endlessly wonderful: fried, mashed, scalloped...I could go on, but I won't, so we can get through this and go eat some hash browns. Sadly, one thing potatoes are not very good at is keeping sperm from penetrating your eggs. Also, if you use a potato as birth control you have also committed the crime of wasting a potato and shall be shamed for it.

2. Mercury

Back in the terrible old days, ladies noticed that if they drank tinctures of mercury they would straight up not get pregnant. They would also begin to go slowly insane and completely blind and would, eventually die. Because mercury is mad poisonous.

3. Blacksmith Water

I don't even. Sigh. Okay – There was an ancient Greek named Soranus (SERIOUSLY) who advised women to drink from the bucket where blacksmiths cooled their metals to prevent pregnancy. Again, drinking fetid, toxic water because a guy whose named is literally sore butthole told you to? Not cool.

4. Soda Douching

This one has me despairing for humanity and for all the Diet Coke that has apparently been used to prevent pregnancy. That's right, squirting cola up there was thought to kill sperm. I could see this working with Fanta, but Coke? That's just blasphemy.

5. Dates, Acacia, Cotton and Honey

If you were an ancient Egyptian and you wanted to get your romp on and stay baby-free, you plucked some cotton, mashed up acacia, dates, and honey, slopped it onto the cotton and popped that sucker into your poonanny. And you know what? IT KIND OF WORKED. That's because acacia contains lactic acid, a common spermicide. That said, there are things you want to pop into your lady cave, and there are things you don't. This one falls into the latter.

6. Weasel Testicles

Women used to hack off weasel's balls and tied them around their thighs. I don't need to explain to anyone reading this I hope why this is a terrible and stupid thing, right? If you are considering weasel balls to prevent pregnancy, please picture the GIF above and reconsider. That guy probably really likes his balls a lot.

7. Sneezes

The idea was that if you sneezed vigorously after sex you would sneeze the sperms out. I'm sure this absolutely prevent pregnancy. Especially if you were on the pill and your partner was wearing a condom.

8. Black Cats

AHHHHHHH! Medieval dudes used to wear amulets with the bones of black cats in them to ward of pregnancy! That would accomplish pretty much nothing I think except for pissing off the ghost of some cat that would come back to haunt you all indignant like!

9. Lemons

Lemons are acidIC and cut in half can be shaped like a diaphragm, so I guess I can see where their heads were at with this one. That said, think of the burning you guys. The burning and the ineffectiveness. Let's just – oh man – let's just stop and think every time we want to put a delicious food in our vaginas and instead make a smoothie and drink it instead.

10. Crocodile Dung

Blocking your vagina with the poop of a crocodile will sure keep you baby-free. That's because any time a dick came near you, the dick would pause and be all, "Yo, does anyone else smell reptile poop?" And then you would have to explain yourself but it would be too late cause that guy and his D would be quietly and methodically backing out of the room never to be seen again.

Images: Getty; Giphy (10)