Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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The term contraception was coined in sexual science in the late 19th century (Sexuality), by adding the Latin prefix contra- to a shortened form of “conception.” Various Latin or Greek terms had previously been used, as well as euphemisms for birth control itself or for particular methods.

In Christianity, both the Old and New Testaments laid the foundations for a rejection of contraception. Natural fertility was a gift of God (Gn 1,28 and 35,11), and procreation was seen as a duty; marriage was beholden to the purpose of producing offspring. Christian morality condemned as a sin any s…

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Labouvie, Eva, “Contraception”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 April 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018735>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206

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