Condoms, 1948 style!

The Sin of Love is set in 1948, just after WW2. Whilst I could never hope for a piece of erotica to have the depth of meaning of a Graham Greene novel, nonetheless, I tried to shoehorn a few references to his books into the story! I couldn’t not do, not when I was choosing to write about a Catholic priest having an affair, especially when I opted for the 1940s setting. Greene would have had all his characters come to miserable endings though, and I didn’t go that far!

One of the fun aspects of the story was the research, particularly the condom research! The prohibition of contraception in Catholicism meant that using them provided a taboo line to be crossed, but since a pregnant lover would make hiding the affair rather difficult, they were a necessity too.

Rubber condoms, made in more-or-less the same way as modern ones, were in existence by the 1930s. The Durex brand was present by WW2. So I could have had my priest pop down to the chemist to buy a packet, the same as everyone else. Of course, as a priest, he couldn’t do that locally, and on top of that, he would presumably feel a degree of shame and trepidation about the whole affair.

I discovered that Durex existed by the 1940s using the website of the Science Museum (, which has a rather fantastic section called “Objects and Stories” containing photos of historic objects in science, technology and medicine – including, it turns out, photos of old condoms! (Unused, I hasten to add!)

The photo below is from the Science Museum site, and is of a reusable condom from 1948, made in London. Perfect! My priest could go and buy it (giving me a scene with lots of nerves and shame), and being reusable, he wouldn’t need to keep on going back and buying more. It also has a little more effort required in its application, which makes the scene where it is first used more of an ‘event’ than it would otherwise be under more normal circumstances.

One final point. Reusable condoms that needed to be washed out after use? Thank god they stopped being a thing by the time my sex life started! I honestly can’t imagine how uncomfortable (or otherwise?) they’d be.

The Sin of Love is available on Amazon here:




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