Picture Number:10284364 Credit:Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Left to right: contraceptive sponge; vaginal douche; medicated tampon; animal gut condom. Vaginal douches were a contraceptive measure involving the flushing of the woman's vagina after sexual intercourse. Tampons are small pads of lint or other material, that have been used by women throughout the ages, and are designed to be inserted into the vagina to stem the flow of blood during menstruation. The sponge is a device comprising a small natural or synthetic sponge (sometimes soaked in vinegar or lemon juice) which would be inserted prior to intercourse as a barrier method of contraception. Condoms were first used in the 16th century. Originally made from linen or animal intestine, they are now made of latex.