How Did Prostitutes Not Get Pregnant in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, prostitution was a common practice that existed in various cultures. However, one question that arises is how did prostitutes not get pregnant in these times? Let’s explore this topic and understand the methods used by prostitutes to prevent pregnancy.

Contraceptive Methods Used by Prostitutes in Ancient Times

1. Condoms

Prostitutes in ancient times used condoms made of various materials such as animal intestines, oiled silk paper, or linen. These condoms were effective in preventing pregnancy as they acted as a barrier between the semen and the cervix. However, it is important to note that these condoms were not very reliable as they often broke or leaked.

2. Birth Control Herbs

Prostitutes also used birth control herbs such as silphium, pennyroyal, and rue to prevent pregnancy. These herbs were known for their contraceptive properties and were consumed orally or applied as a vaginal suppository.

3. Withdrawal Method

The withdrawal method was also a common contraceptive method used by prostitutes in ancient times. This involved the male partner withdrawing his penis before ejaculation to prevent sperm from entering the vagina.

The Risks Involved

While these methods may have been effective in preventing pregnancy, they also posed significant risks to the health of the prostitutes.

  • Infection: Condoms made of animal intestines could cause infections due to bacterial growth.
  • Toxicity: Birth control herbs could be toxic if consumed in large quantities.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): The withdrawal method did not protect against STIs.

The Evolution of Contraceptive Methods

Over time, contraceptive methods have evolved, and modern-day contraceptives such as pills, injections, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are more reliable and safer than those used by prostitutes in ancient times.


In conclusion, prostitutes in ancient times used various methods to prevent pregnancy, including condoms, birth control herbs, and the withdrawal method. While effective in preventing pregnancy, these methods also posed significant risks to the health of the prostitutes. As contraceptive methods have evolved over time, modern-day contraceptives are much safer and more reliable than those used by prostitutes in ancient times.