Contraceptive sponges, early 20th century.

Image number: 10284383

Contraceptive sponges, early 20th century.

The contraceptive sponge, made of natural and synthetic materials, was designed to be inserted into the woman's vagina prior to sexual intercourse. It worked as a barrier method of contraception, preventing sperm from moving towards the uterus. Originally, natural sea sponges were used and these were sometimes soaked in vinegar or lemon juice, which were added as a spermicide. The example on the far right is made out rubber and has a central cavity for a suppository and a handle for removal. 'Occlusator' is its brand name.

Image number:
10284383
Credit:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
29 October 2003 13:23
Image rights:
Science Museum