Clinocap brand rubber diaphragms 1940-1950 Made for Dr. Marie Stopes
The Photo: Item A626843: Set of 12 rubber diaphragms, sized 62.5mm to 90mm, "Clinocap" brand, English, 1940 to 1950. Item A606467: Set of 12 rubber measuring rings, for "Clinocap" diaphragms, made especially for Dr. Marie Stopes, 1934. Full view, 'caps' alongside 'rings' on a graduated matt black perspex background.
Object informationMade in: England Date: 1940-1950
Made from: rubber; steel
Acquired from: Marie Stopes Memorial Foundation Location:
Science Museum, Blythe House
Collection: SCM - Obstetrics, Gynecology & Contraception Object number: A626843
Mid-20th century contraceptive protection in the UK: My predecessor, Edith 22nd Baroness Blackthorn (1911-2014), had kept a great many of her old diaphragms that she wore from 1928 when she was 17 to 1974- when she was 63 and into menopause - along with yearly journals of her sexual encounters with both male and a few female lovers. The earliest in the collection, from the late 30s through the 40s, were the dark latex flat spring Clinocap and her size varied from 65mm to 77.5mm over the years. They are all in their original boxes labeled ‘Dutch Cap diaphragm’ and are well worn so the domes are cracked, torn and are very fragile. In the 1930s and again after World War II she used Manuka honey from New Zealand as a spermicide when it became available again in the UK.
Early diaphragms were made from thick natural latex rubber and the dome was fairly stiff. So early diaphragms were worn with the stiff rubber dome up – to minimize the likelihood of hurting a partner by his rubbing against the stiff dome. Using Manuka honey as a spermicide was ideal for continuous wear for Friday to Monday country house parties as it gave sexually liberated women the flexibility of three days of continuous effective protection enabling them to take a man when they liked w/o having to worry about additional spermicide for every act of intercourse.
Edith as a ballet dancer and seductress: In her career as a dancer, before she inherited the Barony from a cousin, in addition to being talented she was beautiful and very sought after by men enamored of the hard bodied female figure. To make herself more exotic she had her pubic hair removed (shaved and tweezed off every few days) which was uncommon in those days and which her journals say made it much easier for her to clean up after an encounter and allowed display of her mons pubis and vulva for admiration (and often veneration) during private erotic dances for which she was in great demand in aristocratic circles. In the early 1930s she considered having her tubes tied so an accidental pregnancy wouldn’t ruin her career as a ballerina. However, she decided that the thrill of a possible pregnancy for her as well as feeding the secret impregnation fantasy of the men she dated and the fact that she wore a diaphragm rather than a cervical cap - which was far more common in the UK for contraceptive protection – was a massive turn-on for her as well as making her an exotic fantasy conquest for any man. So while I’m a distant relation it seems as though I have inherited her body type, talent as a dancer and her desire for kinky and risky sex. She did marry briefly, but resumed her string of sexual conquests after her husband inexplicably took a mistress. Her lovers never understood what her husband saw in his mistress, but were pleased that his inability to remain monogamous after marriage was responsible for the reappearance of a world class courtesan on the social scene once more. During her eighteen-month marriage she had two miscarriages before her husband was killed in WWII. She never remarried and had no children.
The Photo: The Manuka honey I use as a 72-hour spermicide with a diaphragm is Steens Raw 20+ Manuka honey. It’s good quality and available in most UK supermarkets.
Manuka honey as a spermicide: For anyone interested in using Manuka honey (sometimes called Tea Tree honey) as a spermicide in the dome of a traditional diaphragm it is important to know that it should have a UMF of at least 16+. It is also important to realize that there is a limited supply of high (16+UMF/NPA) or higher Manuka honey produced each year in New Zealand so there is a lot of honey sold as high UMF Manuka honey which has been adulterated with other honey that doesn’t have the ingredients needed to make it effective as a spermicide. Therefore, the Manuka honey should be purchased from a trusted source.
Additionally, there are two methods of applying Manuka honey to a latex or silicone diaphragm. One is to store the diaphragm in a jar or pot of 16+ Manuka when not being worn. The other method and the one I prefer is to apply a teaspoon (5ml) of honey in the dome before insertion. A diaphragm with a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) of 16+ or higher can be worn safely and continuously for three days w/o having to add more honey, which is ideal - for use by those of us who aren’t on contraceptive hormones or using a copper IUD because of a nickel allergy - during Friday to Monday House parties here in the UK.
The scent and taste of Manuka honey: Found only in New Zealand's coastal areas, Manuka honey is collected from the flower of the Tea Tree bush. The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) found in some Manuka honey is an antibacterial property which is said to be especially effective for healing of stomach ulcer, sore throats, colds, indigestion, acne and pimple. Some people find Manuka honey too "medicinal" in taste but I find the flavor of the thick dark honey sweet and far better than the chemical taste of commercial spermicides. Even so the intensity can vary from brand to brand due to the difference in source.
The latex flat spring diaphragm as a honey cap: When I’m not planning on having dive-sex where I use the silicone biocide/spermicide DiveGel+ with a flat spring diaphragm for flood insurance and thrust protection with a well-endowed man I’ve been using Steens Raw 20+ Manuka honey for the past three cycles and it has worked wonderfully well for me! Not having to plan when I’m going to refresh a chemical or natural ingredients (ContraGel) spermicide for three days I can just enjoy having as many sexual encounters as I want w/o having to worry about the effectiveness of my spermicide. Too, using Manuka honey adds to the protection and lubrication of the tip of my cervix when I’m being taken by a large man who can stretch the dome firmly over the cervix while deep thrusting into my anterior fornix.
A rarely mentioned honey cap advantage: For couples who are into cunnilingus and fellatio and are rubber fetishists using Manuka honey eliminates the chemical or bitter taste of commercial spermicides and substitutes the sweet taste of honey mixed with the couple’s secretions and a hint of latex taste. This is especially true for cunilingus where fertile cervical mucus, blood from ovulation spotting and the wearer’s arousal lubricant is contained in the dome and her partner’s semen in her vagina melded with the taste of the thick dark Manuka honey and the taste of latex develops a uniquely erotic bouquet for fetishists who lick clean the contents of the dome when his partner changes her diaphragm after 72 hours of continuous wearing. Even when the wearer is just Kegeling their coital discharge into her partner’s mouth a taste of honey makes a marvelous difference in the flavor of her discharge. It’s a plus for the woman as well as she can taste the honey as she sucks the rest of her partner’s semen from his urethra and licks their discharge from his honey coated penis.