The Long History of the Condom
The ‘90s and Beyond
The closing decade of the 20th century saw the proliferation of a wide variety of condoms of every different stripe, and flavor ... literally. You had your choice of latex or polyurethane, lubricated, ribbed, and studded, as well as condoms that glow in the dark. There are condoms with spermicide, and varieties that warm up when exposed to love's precious bodily fluids. There are mint or fruit-flavored condoms, and chocolate-flavored condoms add an interesting, new variation to the stale old custom of giving sweets to your sweetheart on Valentines or Sweetest Day.
In the ‘90s as well, it could no longer be assumed you were talking about your big brother's condom. Big sister had a condom of her own. Then again, you could be talking about your big brother's (or a neighbor's) condom according to some of the Internet speculation about the efficacy of the female condom for anal sex between gay males.
Suddenly, those of us in the Baby Boom Generation found ourselves confronted with choices we never before had to make. Not only that, but one minute we're speaking in hushed tones to a white-coated pharmacist about buying a pack of, you know what's kept in the shadowy recesses behind the counter. In the next there's a wide selection of condoms next to the economy sized aspirin on the shelf of the local warehouse superstore.
To add to an already confusingly endless array and configuration of male contraceptive devices, there's erectile dysfunction, or ED, to contend with. You can't use a condom if you can't get it on, right? Decisions, decision. So, while you're deciding if you want to buy some Trojans or Ramses, you need to consider if maybe you need to buy some Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis. As Charlie Brown might say, "Aarrgghh!!"
Life used to be a lot simpler.
At long last Acceptance
Though it seems a sign of the condom's acceptance that we've gone from invisible to saturation virtually overnight, some things haven't changed. A teenaged boy with raging hormones still can only fantasize about getting a dream job as a condom tester, or as a model for molds.
Sorry guys, testing (with air and water) is still performed by machines, as is the process by which individual condoms are made.
Finally, what more proof of society's acceptance of the condom do you need than to see it cast as the personification of evil in a low-rent horror movie? Did the axe wielding Santa Clause in Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) kill Christmas? Did Christine (1983) dampen anybody's desire to own a restored 1958 Plymouth Fury? Or what about that questionable classic from 1978, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Think that hurt pizza sales, or stopped anyone from including tomato plants in the backyard garden?
How frightened should you be of something called Killer Condom: The Rubber that Rubs You Out. Actually, the 1997 release by Troma, a studio known as a purveyor of schlock fare, is touted as one of those moves that's so bad it's good.
Anthony Comstock is undoubtedly turning over in his grave.