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Bookish Lists... > Historical Birth Control

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message 1: by Boogoalo (new)

Boogoalo What are some of the oddest birth control methods you've read about in historical fiction or nonfiction? (OCD Lori--Online Comment Director--is this too risque?)

Catherine Delors posted this on 18th century contraception. What do y'all think? Have any other good links/reads?
Birth Control History

Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments Interesting...hmm. Amy Tan (I don't remember which book) talks about a girl stabbing herself with a piece of straw until she bled. But then she died.

And Tom Robbins uses some herbal concoction in Jitterbug Perfume, I don't recall what it was though, or if it was specifically mentioned.

message 3: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 1128 comments Abigail, they used Pennyroyal in Jitterbug Perfume.

message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10095 comments Mod
Hmmmm. interesting topic....
very... uhm... interesting :)

message 5: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I've read of condoms made of sheep's intestines(?)and of course the sponge soaked in vinegar solution as mentioned on the blog.

Petra bf in 2 days but I have lost my nerve (petra-x) Sheep's intestines would really put me off it!

message 7: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Can you imagine? Ugh!

message 8: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (pandoraphoebesmom) | 1826 comments I know they talk about something using seaweed or some other plant in City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan that I can't quite remember now. It was very strange.

message 9: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Cynthia,do you remember if Claire from Outlander series gave advise about birth control and if so (which surely she must have)what it was?

message 10: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (pandoraphoebesmom) | 1826 comments I don't honestly remember anything specific...I know she talked about it with Bree in one of the later books but I can't think now of what she recommended.

message 11: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Me either!

message 12: by Abigail (42stitches) (last edited Oct 24, 2008 01:18AM) (new)

Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments I always wondered what you were supposed to do with that sponge...and I wonder if pennyroyal actually's very weird to think about.
edit: I don't think I'll ever be trying that one...

message 13: by Nawar (new)

Nawar (nawaralq) | 173 comments Pennyroyal tea! Just like in the Nirvana song.
I'm guessing it was about abortion.
"Drink pennyroyal tea, distill the life that's inside of me."

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Very interesting topic. I haven't read it in a fictional book but if you take black or blue cohosh in the first or second trimester it can cause death to the fetus. In the third trimester causes labor.

message 15: by Coalbanks (new)

Coalbanks | 186 comments Odd methods of birth control? The rythem method - good luck! Uterine plug of crocodile dung? A douche of crushed sea slugs or was that sea urchins? Get it right, or else! Only having sex while you are breastfeeding? How about that old standby, the chastity belt? Prayer!?

Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments Yummy! My husband is away on business. Don't give me any ideas...

message 17: by Sera (new)

Sera There are some interesting takes on this topic in The Crimson Petal on White, which I absolutely adored.

message 18: by Irene (new)

Irene Hollimon | 92 comments I've read lots of books with herbal potions. The first mention of herbal potion I remember was in The Clan of the Cave Bear or maybe it was The Valley of Horses (the second book in the series)
Anyway I was in my early twenties at the time and just starting to stretch my wings so to speak. If there was an herbal potion out there, I sure would have liked to have had it.
Mostly books were misleading to young girls because the sex was always hot and fantastic and birth control was never mentioned.
Just recently I read World Without End wherein a female character used an herbal potion to make a baby go away. She got her comeuppance though- she was never able to get pregnant again. Abortion is still a bad thing and bad things will happen to you if you do it in books.
Now, I'm not sure where I heard it. But I understand ladies of the evening in England used to use copper pennies up there as kind of home made IUD. No information as to whether it worked or not.
I just recently read a piece on the history of condoms and the things people used to use...

message 19: by Hayes (last edited May 25, 2009 09:59AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Apparently, the best birth control is education! (Once a teacher, always a teacher!) I can't remember the statistics exactly, but female education level and birth rate are inversely proportional, which means that as the education level of the women goes up, the number of births goes down (we're dealing with averages here, pls. to remember).

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