Hello Rebels, and welcome back to my life. Let’s talk about contraceptives, shall we?
Contraceptives are an incredibly important part of life for many, many people. They’re how people keep themselves from having unwanted pregnancies. Sometimes contraceptive products even help with other physical health issues.
Now there’s different types of contraceptives. Condoms are a contraceptive object, one that, according to some jokes my friends make, I don’t know how to use.
Another very effective contraceptive device is the IUD, a little thingy that goes on up into the ole hoo-ha and keeps any sort of fertilized egg nonsense from takin’ root.
There’s also contraceptive surgical procedures. The “snip-snip” for people with penises and the “tube-tying” for people with uteruses. Both incredibly effective although, crazily, not 100% of the time.
“Life…uh…finds a way.”
But then there are also contraceptive drugs. Commonly called “the pill,” but in fact there’s many different KINDS of pill. So it’s not THE pill. It’s actually the PILLS.
They not only mostly keep you from getting pregnant most of the time, but they can also slow down or, in some cases, completely eliminate your menstrual cycle.
Which, from what I hear from the vagina people, can be a really cool thing.
But the pill can be a problem for a lot of people. Sometimes bodies react VERY poorly to the particular combination of chemicals and hormones, and so some people can’t take the pill.
So why am I talking about this? Well, no I’m not telling a story of how contraceptives have failed me once again and we’re having child #4.
There’s a book I read years ago—and I searched for like an hour but couldn’t remember the name of it—that’s about the story of Beowulf, except it’s told from the perspective of a dwarf who came with Beowulf on his journey.
And the dwarf “did the do” with quite a few women during the course of the story, and every time he did, these women would brew a tea, and when they drank the tea, it kept them from getting pregnant.
And I thought, “Oh, well, that’s a convenient way for the author to keep the dwarf from leaving a string of illegitimate children behind him everywhere he goes.”
It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that tea…was actually a thing. Sort of.
There is an herb called Silphium that apparently had amazing contraceptive properties. Nearly flawless. Better than the pill we have today.
It was very common, common enough to be referred to in tons of ancient literature, and the heraldic symbolism of some nobility.
So you might say, if such an awesome natural solution to contraception exists, why did we develop the pill and our other, more modern forms of contraception?
Well the answer is as interesting as it is hilarious.
It seems that silphium was quite popular with a certain culture. A certain ancient culture. A certain ancient, mighty culture. A certain ancient, mighty culture that was…a little bit famous for doing things that required contraceptives.
I’m talking of course about the Romans who, in about the 2nd or 3rd century BCE…boned this contraceptive herb into extinction.
Now, that’s probably a vast oversimplification of what happened. The herb was commonly found in present-day Libya, which at the time was going through an intense desertification.
That likely contributed to the plant dying out, as well as a bunch of other factors like increased demand for the animals who grazed on the plant.
But come on. The best possible explanation…is that we screwed ourselves out of the best natural contraceptive planet Earth has ever produced.
But if you’ve read Shadeborn, you may have come upon a scene where a certain someone is drinking silphium tea. And now you know what that’s all about.
That’s it for today, Rebels. Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you tomorrow. Byyye.