Early Literature

How did people learn about reproduction and birth control in early America? Traditional folk knowledge predominated, shared chiefly among women, passed by word of mouth. By 1700, text began to supplement this tradition.

Éguisier irrigator

19th Century Artifacts

Early condoms were fashioned of linen, sheep gut, or fish bladder, and used with ointments and medicinal solutions. Learn more about this and other artifacts, from “female pills” to methods of douching.


The Civil War: soldiers and sex

Traditional histories of the Civil War steer clear of sex and birth control in favor of heroes and battles. This ignores reality. Court martial records list over 100,000 incidents of sexual misconduct.


Comstock’s Influence

Based on a firm belief that the devil’s temptations were omniscient, Anthony Comstock rationalized that abstinence from all impure thoughts and behaviors secured the faithful path to righteousness. Learn more about his influence on the Comstock Acts!