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Chickenhead
05-07-2000, 11:52 PM
My roommate and I are watching Wyatt Earp. None of the hookers seem to have children. Before the condom and the pill, were hookers able to control the amount of kids they had? Based on their profession, every fertile one should have had about eight of the little (pause) bastards.

I know ancient Egyptians had crazy recipes for contraception. There's always jumping up and down and wire hangers. What did most of these ladies do?

Just wondering.

pkbites
05-08-2000, 12:03 AM
Actually, they did have condoms in the 1800's. There were other ways to avoid pregnancy too, such as the rythem method, withdrawl, and duching with lemon juice after the act. (The acid in lemon juice kills sperm). Also there is a phenomenon of "rival sperm warfare". When sperm from one man encounter the sperm from another, they tend to fight it out, leaving to few healthy sperm to fertilize an egg. I think I saw this on Discovery or The Learning Channel.
Also, there were doctors & midwives who were willing to perform abortions. But I bet quit a few prostitutes had bastard kids too!

labdude
05-08-2000, 12:26 AM
My ex-girlfriend did her thesis on old west prostitutes. The movies and reality are not the same. Most were ugly. ( I saw the photos) And they had children, and abortions, and the others previously mentioned. In the 1850s or so abortions were commonly performed by many different types of individuals--midwives, vets, MDs, dentists, healers, that old lady down the street, etc..

An abortion is not brain surgury. Most people with a little training can do one. (DONT try this at home)

michael

bibliophage
05-08-2000, 02:16 AM
From Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts The first contraceptive diaphragms--centuries ago--were citrus rinds--half an orange rind, for example.

evilbeth
05-08-2000, 03:45 AM
Well, one movie whore had kids. In Gone With the Wind, Belle Watling mentions to Melanie Wilkes about her boy. She may or may not have said he was close to Beau's age.

Manda JO
05-08-2000, 10:52 AM
This is probably overly-cautious on my par, but since god knows how many 15-year olds are reading this it needs to be pointed out that neither lemon juice nor orange peels were reliable forms of contraception. There was no reliable contraception before the pill.

I would suggest that prostitues probably had high sterility rates due to an increased rate of PID caused by various STDs. Furthermore, they probably had higher than average miscarrige/infant mortality rates because of alcoholism, poor nutrition, and the afore mentioned STDs.

Whammo
05-08-2000, 12:05 PM
I dont recall Sharon Stone having any children in basic instinct. :)

sailor
05-08-2000, 02:44 PM
>> Also there is a phenomenon of "rival sperm warfare". When sperm from one man encounter the sperm from another, they tend to fight it out, leaving to few healthy sperm to fertilize an egg

I doubt this. I am quite sure my sperm are pacifists and would never get into any fights. They would probably try to reason... :-)

Yeah
05-08-2000, 09:50 PM
Manda JO is correct. They probably became infertile as a result of scar tissue forming in their tubes as a result pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.

I've never studied "Old West" prostitutes, but I would guess they weren't too different from modern day prostitutes in some less developed countries. In some such countries, one of the reasons women go into prostitution is because they are infertile and thus "unmarriageable." Another reason is divorce.

My guess is that the "typical" "Old West" prostitute had one or two children before or shortly after going into prositution and then became infertile. Of course, before becoming infertile, they would use various techniques to try to avoid pregnancy and when those techniques failed they would, I suppose, turn to abortion.

AHunter3
05-09-2000, 12:11 AM
In days of old
When knights were bold
Before condoms were invented,
They wrapped their cocks
In dirty socks
Thus pregnancies prevented.

Lissa
05-09-2000, 02:59 PM
There is an excellent book on the subect called Eve's Herbs which details early birth control. Besides the preventavies already mentioned, a surprising number of common herbs and plants prevent pregnancy, such as Queen Anne's Lace seeds. One herb in the ancient world (the name escapes me) was so reliable and widely-used that the plant actually went extinct! Also, seeds of certain fruits naturally contain a form pergesterone, which is one of the main ingrediants in the Pill. Sometimes women employed a kind of IUD by inserting a small stone in the uterus. Douching with plant juices or vinegar was another commonly used method. Condoms weren't as effective as they are now, being generally made out of animal skin or intestines which are semi-porous.

Birth control methods were pretty common knowledge in earlier days. Many early Greek philosophers condemmned the practice, and later so did Church officials. Over time, the knowledge was lost.