From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Birth control or contraception is a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant or giving birth.
Contraception and the sexual revolution
As birth control become more available, men and women gained unprecedented control of their own reproduction. The 1916 invention of thin, disposable latex condoms for men led to widespread affordable condoms by the 1930s; the demise of the Comstock laws in 1936 set the stage for promotion of available effective contraceptives such as the diaphragm and cervical cap; the 1960s introduction of the IUD and oral contraceptives for women gave a sense of freedom from barrier contraception.
Probably the oldest methods of contraception (aside from avoiding vaginal intercourse) are coitus interruptus, lactational, certain barrier methods, and herbal methods (emmenagogues and abortifacients).