In the early 1900s, real men used radium suppositories

If you were a strapping gent looking to improve your virility in the early 20th century, one such option would be the radium suppository. Nothing says "lothario" quite like shoving a radioactive pellet up your rectum.

Radium remedies went far beyond your run-of-the-mill rectal aphrodisiacs — the element found its way into all sorts of consumer goods that went into all manner of orifices. At Ptak Science Books, John Ptak recounts the halcyon days of these quack remedies:

Many of these companies employed the real stuff, affecting thousands of people, radium-based cure-alls being ingested, injected, applied and bathed-in. For example, there were numerous companies distributing 'radium water" (such as "Radithor" by William J.A. Bailey's company), radium suppositories ("in a cocoa butter base"), toothpaste ("Doramad", distributed by Doramad Radioaktive Zohncreme during WWII, to Germans), cosmetics ("Tho-Radia"), and many different varieties of radium-enriched healing belts (to be worn or slept on). There were plenty of other products that used the "radium" name but didn't actually use the substance itself, further selling the idea of its usefulness on the individual level. There was radium beer, nail clippers, starch, cigars, polish, headache tablets, razor blades, butter and of course, condoms.


You can read more about these ill-advised radium nostrums over at Ptak, and be sure to check out further examples of radium products at Oak Ridge University Associates and at Dissident Media.

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