[extract from introduction to Condom book - copyright 1995]
This book offers what I hope is a lively look at the development of the contraceptive sheath, which we now have to call the condom.
On the way there are several diversions.
One casts a jaundiced eye over a range of practices that have been used throughout history to control the numbers of people around - with an emphasis on those that had a chance of success.
Another lays an inquisitive hand on the genital of antiquity to see if ‘blocking the passage’ was as useful in its vulgar connotation as its heroic one in keeping numbers down.
And a third steps into the cesspit of moral turpitude and modern promotional techniques to see who’s doing good to whom - and for whom worldwide. For whom, read WHO - and its bizarre problems. Is this a case of The China Syndrome: afflicted by aging bureaucrats past their prime and out of control?
Bits of the book may enlighten; bits may confound. I have been driven, to quote my good friend Dr Tage Voss, "by common sense, tempered with scepticism". 1 We both detect an hysterical edge to the proselytizing of pundits: vested interests, we suspect, must be behind the intensive pogroms - sorry, programmes - carried out against smokers on the one hand (instead of against industrial pollution, say, or poverty) and against buggers on the other (instead of against tuberculosis, say, or poverty).
We have a suspicion that grants for research and funds for aid projects follow fashions which recipients are keen to maintain. Band wagons are not known for their ability to depart from the straight and narrow. And, let’s face it, the condom is a nasty, smelly, awkward distraction, especially to a caring fuck.
Can we learn to love our lubricated latex friend?
I. PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES
Most of the book is written: the later sections obviously need bringing up-to-date. If you want to know more, call Paul Redfern.