Sex Ed: Fun Condom Facts

Amy Keyishian
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Shadows Condom Tin-Courtesy of the Museum of Sex
Shadows Condom Tin-Courtesy of the Museum of Sex
Leave it to the Museum of Sex in New York City to come up with an entire show about … condoms.

Turns out that annoying, smelly little jimmy hat is pretty interesting! I chatted with Jessica Vaccaro, press officer at MoSex, and gleaned some interesting info about condoms.

  • French cave paintings (at the Grotte des Combarelles, if you're in the neighborhood) reportedly show people wearing condoms.
  • It was a syphilis epidemic in the 1500s that kicked off modern condom use. Early condoms were made out of fish bladders, animal intestines, and — excuse me – tortoise shell?! Casanova was supposed to have preferred linen.Condom Dress
    Condom Dress courtesy of artist Adriana Bertini
  • At first, condoms were meant to be used, washed out, and re-used. Eeeyuw.
  • Despite their syphilis-preventing properties, condoms were often illegal because they could be used for contraception. (You know. Every sperm is sacred, and whatnot.)  
  • The Ramses company was founded by Julius Schmidt, a sausage caser in New York City. Sausage caser! Snk, snk, snk!
  • In England, guys used to get their condoms at the barber's. You'd get your hair cut, and then the barber would ask you, "Do you need a little something for the weekend, sir?"
  • It wasn't until the 1970s that bathroom dispensers eliminated the embarrassment of having to ask a pharmacist for them.


The exhibition has all sorts of condom-related objets d'art – including a dress made of condoms. (Paging Tim Gunn!)

Who knew rubbers were so fascinating?

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