Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, Undergraduate November 1996

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Almost 3,500 years ago, men in Egypt wore condom-like sheaths as attractive and

eye-catching penis covers. By the 18th century, condoms were being made from sheep

intestines. In Victorian England, sexual stimulation was believed to shorten one's life, so

sex once a month was considered more than enough. In the ancient Middle East, Arabs

placed pebbles in the uteruses of female camels when they set off on long journeys. They

thought that a foreign object in the uterus prevented pregnancy. In today's society, there

are many types of contraceptives designed to fit our changing lifestyles. Eighty-five

percent of women who don't use contraceptives during vaginal intercourse become

pregnant each year. The only guarantee against pregnancy is not having intercourse, but if

used correctly the modern methods of contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Except for abstinence, the male condom, which is made of a tight material that

covers the entire penis, is the safest way to prevent AIDS and STDs. They are also nearly

one-hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly and with

spermicide. The failure rate of a condom, when used correctly and by itself, is about two

percent. More often they fail around twelve percent of the time. There are a few different

types of materials that condoms are made of . The most popular are made of latex.

Polyurethane or animal skin are also used. The latex condom is the strongest of the three.

The many kinds of condoms on the market are lubricated, non-lubricated, ribbed, and

lubricated with spermicide. They also come in a wide variety of sizes. All of these can be

purchased at local drug stores, gas stations, grocery stores, health clinics, and many

doctors' offices.

A more recent type of birth control is the female condom, which is...