The development of the contraceptive pill changed women’s lives. Prior to that, things were pretty hit and miss, with IUDs generally only being available to married women and condoms having a high fail rate.
“In light of the growing number of available contraceptives such as pessaries and suppositories, the New York Medical Journal ran a parody entitled “A Raid on the Uterus“.” The article detailed 123 different varieties of pessaries on the market, from a simple plug to a “patent threshing machine, which can be worn with the largest hoops”. This proliferation far outweighed the need, the author insisted. “I do think that this filling the vagina with such traps, making a Chinese toy shop of it, is outrageous.”
According to this book there was also the Venus Apparatus, a small rubber ball filled with Venus Powder which was connected to a larger ball by tubing. The smaller ball was inserted into the vagina and at the moment of ejaculation the woman squeezed the larger ball which expelled the Venus Powder within.
In the late 19th century, German women favoured suppositories with grandiose names; The Sib-torpedo, Spermathanaton, Pudi de Paris, and Dr Hutler’s Vaginal Insufflator For the Malthusian.
As recently as last month, this site was promoting ‘natural’ methods of contraception involving the ingestion of peppers, hibiscus flowers and Indian gooseberries. Or you could place a piece of rock salt in your vagina for 100 seconds. I think I’d rather abstain…..