In the fantasy genre, you sometimes run across some unusual methods of preventing pregnancy. Maybe the characters "know the right herbs", or maybe they have a magic pendant, or maybe humans and elves can't breed, or maybe they're sterile for some reason that only exists in that particular world. It doesn't usually matter what the method is, but it's not the contraception that would be found a modern-day, real-life setting.

Many authors don't bother with it -- the characters have sex and the plot continues apace. Nothing new there -- authors of many genres want their characters to have sex, but don't want pregnancy to be part of the plot. But some of them feel a need to ''explain'' why the one did not lead to the other. Perhaps they think that their characters will look careless if they are not clearly stated to have used contraception. Perhaps they think that ''they'' will look careless if they don't [[ShownTheirWork tell their readers]] that "yes, I ''did'' think of that, thank you." Maybe the sex [[EveryoneHasLotsOfSex happens often enough]] that otherwise someone would pretty much ''have'' to get pregnant just out of random chance. Whatever the cause, they decide to specifically mention the steps taken by their characters to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, rather than just leave it unsaid.

But in fantasy, there are limited options, since modern types of contraception will generally seem out of place (some of them are actually OlderThanTheyThink, although they still weren't necessarily common). The answer? Just plain make something up, or else dig up something that's real but relatively unknown. Or for that matter, fictionalize a real method -- the ones that find their way into fantasy works are sometimes safer, sanitized versions of how it really works. It rarely matters what -- the point is, the characters can entertain themselves as frequently as necessary without the writer having to worry about biological cause and effect getting in the way of the story.

If a fantasy setting has EternalSexualFreedom and the writer bothers to explain why, this is probably the most common excuse. The particular method may be AppliedPhlebotinum. In settings where it exists, it can often be one of the WomensMysteries.

Some methods, especially the herbal ones with a grounding in historical fact, are more likely to be Fantasy Abortifacients than Fantasy Contraceptives, though authors tend to ignore the distinction. Sadly, most of the specifics have been lost with the rise of modern medicine so their effectiveness is only speculative.


* In ''Literature/TamLin'', after Janet finds she is pregnant, she picks some roses -- or an herb -- and Tam shows up, furious:
-->''Till up then started young Tam Lin,\\
Says Lady, thou pu's nae mae.\\
Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,\\
Amang the groves sae green,\\
And a' to kill the bonie babe\\
That we gat us between?''
** In some variants, she's advised to do it, and in one, her brother means it to hurt her; TruthInTelevision, many herbal abortificients can kill the woman as well if too much is taken, or the actual process of abortion can have dangerous results due to haemorrhage or infection.
--->''Then out it speaks her brither dear,\\
He meant to do her harm:\\
"There is an herb in Charter wood\\
Will twine you an the bairn."''
* "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme", which is the refrain to, but [[RefrainFromAssuming not the title of]], ''Scarborough Fair'', is [[CommonKnowledge often said]] to be a list of herbal abortificients, though since the list [[NewerThanTheyThink wasn't actually added to the ballad until the nineteenth century]], it probably isn't. It is true that all of those herbs do have abortificient properties, to the point where some pregnant women are discouraged from eating rosemary.

* Lauren Beukes's arc starring Rapunzel in ''Fairest'' (a spin-off series of ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'' side-stories based around female characters) includes approving references to Frau Totenkinder and Rapunzel making and selling herbal abortifacient mixtures, in what appears to be a throwaway ArmedWithCanon response to the overt anti-abortion messages that Creator/BillWillingham sometimes put into the main series.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Paraphrased from about one hundred thousand ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fanfictions: "[[{{Fanon}} He quickly waved his wand and muttered a Protection Spell...]]"
** {{Subverted|Trope}} in at least one fic. Ginny states that the reason she's pregnant ''again'' (she has as many children as Molly) is because she would rather raise all the children God gives her than use contraception potions which taste awful.
** And subverted in another fic, where they discover that since both Harry and Ginny were Parseltongues (she got it from her experience in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets Chamber of Secrets]]''), they are both extremely fertile and no amount of spells or potions will keep them from conceiving. The only thing that works? [[spoiler: Muggle condoms. And even THAT'S not foolproof, they do break once.]]
* As well in a multiple ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' fics with [[{{Fanon}} the contraception Jutsu.]]
* Many an ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and/or ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' fanfic features waterbenders' capability to bend ... certain fluids out of either themselves or their partners.
* ''ObserveTheViewingGlobe'': The Universal Morphing Grid appears to provide all the protection against unplanned pregnancy that Power Rangers on active duty need. Only when they lose their powers are they forced to default to condoms and other traditional birth control methods. Which is extremely fortunate, because the same Grid forces Rangers into MateOrDie scenarios ([[NeverSayDie per se]]) on a regular basis, and masturbation is severely limited in the help it can provide.
* "Fanfic/FromBajorToTheBlack, Part II" has Eleya refer in passing to being glad she remembered to get her contraceptive implant renewed the other day, before she sleeps with Jerrod Dalton for the first time.
* Inverted in ''Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm'': All Sailor Scouts and Justice Champions are infertile by default. Their bodies naturally divert resources away from non-vital areas and towards vital areas, such as the mechanisms that generate their powers. Because of this, Sailor Scouts and female Justice Champions produce no eggs, while male Justice Champions produce no sperm. This can be undone by drinking a chemical that temporarily renders them fertile, an excellent source of which was found in the Tranquility gardens of Venus during the Silver Millennium.
* Played with in [[ this]] ''Literature/TheHobbit'' fanfic. Herbal abortifacients are known and the human OC mentions having used them in the past, but it is then revealed that dwarf women never risk unwanted pregnancies, they consider vaginal intercourse something one only does in order to conceive. When she learns about the various interesting alternatives, the protagonist enthusiastically converts to this custom.

* In ''Literature/SymphonyOfAges'', Ashe has the ability to manipulate liquids with magic, which he uses to keep his semen from entering his girlfriend's body.
** It's suggested the latter [[spoiler: is actually a capability of ''all'' dragons]].
** All 1st generation Cymrians can control their fertility (Book 2)
* In ''Literature/TheWitcher'', Witchers are sterile as a result of all the deliberate mutations they undergo -- which is damned convenient given how frequently Geralt ends up in bed with somebody (even sometimes using his sterility to help talk them into it). They're also immune to disease. Helps a lot.
** It is implied a big part of magicians' incomes stem from production of aphrodisiacs, birth control, and magical cosmetics.
** Speaking of magicians: they are all infertile in the setting, too, as one of the side effects of heavy magic use. Which is PlayedForDrama with Yennefer, who desperately wants a child but has long passed the point of no return where mages become utterly barren (and her lover is Geralt, see above). It is one of the reasons she will go to suicidal lengths for Ciri, Geralt's (and hers) ward and surrogate daughter.
* Jean Auel's ''Literature/ClanOfTheCaveBear'' has the herbal method. Which realistically reduces the chance of pregnancy rather than eliminates it. Only one of three women who takes it doesn't get pregnant eventually and that woman only had miscarriages/stillbirths prior to the herbs.
* In Steven Brust's ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'', it is stated that essentially, [[AWizardDidIt some kind of magic exists]] by which women (or at least [[OurElvesAreBetter Drageran]] ones) can determine exactly when they want to be pregnant. The only illegitimate children come from marriages where one partner is sterile, and the term "bastard" is a lot more insulting for Dragaerans than for humans. This helps enforce the FantasticCasteSystem, since while short-term relationships between members of different Houses are not unknown, they almost never produce offspring and are illegal, and when they do they are shunned and houseless.
* Tea made from [[ tansy]] (a flowering herb) pops up in a number of works, such as ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' and ''Literature/TheNightAngelTrilogy'', although this induces abortions rather than prevents pregnancy in the first place. Although it can sound like the authors invented it, this one is actually based on real life--people used tansy in the Middle Ages and still do in some places.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' uses tansy tea relatively realistically: as an abortificient, not contraceptive. It is used in one character's backstory to terminate an unwanted pregnancy ("unwanted" in the sense of politically inconvenient to the mother's family; she herself very much wanted to keep the baby). It's strongly implied that there are in fact unpleasant side-effects, as [[spoiler:after her abortion the character in question has several stillbirths and eventually one underweight, sickly child, suggesting that the herb permanently affected her ability to bear children.]] The trope is played straighter with "moon tea," which includes tansy as just one of its ingredients and appears to work as a relatively safe and effective Plan B contraceptive with few (if any) side effects.
* ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'' has divinely sourced contraception. The women of Terre d'Ange will not get pregnant until they pray to Eisheth and light a candle specifically asking her to open their wombs.
* The ''Literature/{{Liavek}}'' books have a special herb, commonly called Worrynot.
* The "humans and elves can't breed" version shows up in the ''Literature/KnownSpace'' books by Creator/LarryNiven, where "rishathra", sex between different humanoid species, is common, and on the Literature/{{Ringworld}} serves as a diplomatic tool. STDImmunity also applies.
* In the ''Literature/TortallUniverse'' women can and do buy magic charms that they can remove if they change their minds. [[SweetPollyOliver Alanna]] got one as soon as her period started. Keladry waited a bit longer, and her mother helped her find a mage who sells them. There's a mention in the Beka Cooper books of a dog having the same mark that makes the charms work carved into her collar as a sort of temporary spaying.
* In the [[Literature/CircleOfMagic Circle Universe]] an herb called droughtwort can be used to induce temporarily sterility in men.
* Creator/RobinHobb's ''Literature/RealmOfTheElderlings'':
** In the ''Liveship Traders'' trilogy, wizardwood belly button piercings work as contraception.
** In the ''Tawny Man'' trilogy, Jinna can manufacture magical charms, including one which prevents pregnancy when set next to the bed. [[spoiler:Also, the minstrel Starling feels free to sleep around because she's supposedly infertile... however, after years of marriage she finally manages to get pregnant from her husband, after which she goes respectable.]]
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** There are some references in the novels and side materials about [[DirtyOldWoman Nanny Ogg]] both serving as a midwife, and providing aid to girls who are pregnant but don't want to be. As she is shown to be a competent herbalist, it's apparent that an abortifacient is implied. Several other witches have been shown or mentioned trading in aphrodisiacs and contraceptives, allowing people to "sow their wild oats while ensuring crop failure, [[LampshadedDoubleEntendre if you know what I mean...]]". Nanny's cheerful attitude towards sex mean that she is most commonly associated with this sort of business, but in her first appearance even Granny Weatherwax set up a shop dealing such potions while in Ankh-Morpork.
** There is also mention of girls having to be "good at counting" to avoid pregnancy, which could refer to timing sex to your menstrual cycle--in RealLife, a ''very'' chancy method, but in a place where belief shapes reality, perhaps not as much.
** Pennyroyal is mentioned several times. It is a genuine abortifacient, though not a particularly safe one as it can cause haemorrhaging.
** Regular contraception also exists, however; it is stated several times that without Mr. Sonky, and the rubber product named after him, Ankh-Morpork's housing shortage would be even worse.
** Creator/TerryPratchett is actually quite proud that he could include a condom factory in Anhk-Morpork, because it grounds the city and its culture firmly in reality. You could never get away with that in Middle Earth.
* Victoria from ''Literature/TheGardellaVampireChronicles'' takes an anti-contraception potion.
* In the novel ''Literature/NeverLetMeGo'', the main characters cannot reproduce because they are [[spoiler: clones]]. This is actually kind of a plot point when one of Kathy's teachers walks in on her holding and rocking a pillow as if it were a baby and listening to the song from whence the book gets its title, she thinks that Kathy is sad because she cannot have children.
* ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar''
** In the setting, there are two different herbal compounds available for female Heralds (and presumably anyone else). Moonflower is a combination contraceptive/period regulating drug that appears to be at least as reliable as the modern birth control pill. Should you slip up, though, there's at least one herbal abortifacient readily available.
** [[OurGryphonsAreDifferent Gryphons]], meanwhile, have to go through several steps before doing the deed in order to ''become'' fertile[[note]]If you're curious, females must fast and then gorge themselves to trick their bodies into thinking food for offspring is plentiful, and males must lower their body temperature through rest or magic to bring sperm out of dormancy. And the sex has to be really good afterward for a successful conception -- the better the deed, the higher the chances of multiple offspring[[/note]]. As a [[CreatingLifeIsAwesome created species]], this was set up deliberately -- they only get kids if they really want them. Risk-free sex at all other times is a bonus.
* In Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Theatre/SwanLake'' retelling ''Literature/TheBlackSwan'', [[spoiler: Odile]] gives Odette two magical necklaces for a wedding gift--one is a fertility charm, the other is "the opposite."
* In the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' series, [[WitchSpecies Shota]] gives Richard and Kahlan a pendant that's meant to keep them from conceiving as a wedding gift, because she believes that their child will become a monster. Of course, in the next book it turns out the thing failed because of [[AntiMagic the Chimes]], so Kahlan, who ''also'' believes her child will be a monster (as male Confessors all turn out to be), [[GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion considers an abortifacient before deciding to keep it]]...and then is beaten nearly to death, [[ConvenientMiscarriage losing the baby anyway]]. The pendant isn't mentioned much later, though the two do go back to an active sex life once she recovers.
* Creator/GlenCook's ''Literature/GarrettPI'' novels mention a kind of amulet, worn on a woman's wrist, that prevents conception and [=STDs=]. This turns out to be notably plot-relevant in a few of the books. On one occasion, the ''lack'' of an amulet is what the viewpoint character notices, because it was very relevant to the situation he and his client were in. [[spoiler:Also relevant to the plot, as her already being pregnant helped set a crime in motion.]] Later in the series, use of amulets allows Singe the ratwoman to suppress her breeding cycle, which is essential for her independence as ratpeople are ''very'' prolific if Nature is allowed to take its course.
* ''Literature/TheAssassinsOfTamurin'': Makina Seval's right-hand sorceress Nilang provides her AmazonBrigade, including the heroine, with potions, salves, and herbs to prevent pregnancy. No details about the "preparations" are described for us.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', it is mentioned that heartleaf tea works as a contraceptive. Nonetheless, [[spoiler: Elayne]] doesn't drink it when she should have and gets pregnant.
* The ''Literature/{{Inda}}'' universe takes the concept a step further. Women don't drink an herbal potion to ''prevent'' pregnancy; they won't get pregnant ''unless'' they drink it in advance. It's one of many little peculiarities of everyday life caused by the magic latent to the world. Of course, this, combined with the [[STDImmunity magically-induced nonexistence of [=STDs=]]], leads to [[EverybodyHasLotsOfSex lots and lots of loving]].
* In Creator/TadWilliams' ''Literature/TheWarOfTheFlowers'', the main character Theo is pulled into the realm of TheFairFolk and eventually has an romantic encounter with a girl named Poppy. Before they have sex, she tells him that girls in that world learn a magical charm (essentially a minor spell) to prevent pregnancy once they hit puberty.
* In the ''Literature/{{Graceling}}'' world both Katsa and Bitterblue use seabane, an herb that serves as both birth control and an abortifacient. In the companion novel, the eponymous Fire is given birth control plants by her father, and Fire later makes the decision to take a certain type of medicine that will leave her permanently unable to have children.
* Typically, the "advanced" human species in Creator/OlafStapledon's novels have a very high level of control over their bodies, and one consequence is that they won't conceive unless they actually want to.
* In ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'' the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood have developed their Prana-Bindu nerve control to such a degree that they can choose when to get pregnant and what gender of child to conceive. It makes their work of breeding the Kwisatz Haderach possible but doesn't make much room for love.
* In many of Vonda N. [=McIntyre=]'s novels, everyone learns to control their fertility by way of a process similar to {{biofeedback}}. In ''Literature/{{Dreamsnake}}'' (expanded later into "Of Mist and Sand and Grass") this technique is known simply as 'Control' and works by altering blood flow to the generative organs, The treatment that renders healers immune to poisons and diseases also sterilizes them; however, it's stated that if they ''did'' conceive, the baby wouldn't be viable. As a result, they don't take chances, and learn "biocontrol" anyway.
* In Creator/RandallGarrett and Vicki Heydron's ''Gandalara Cycle'', the women of a HumanSubspecies are completely aware of their own fertility.
* In the ''Literature/VoidTrilogy'' by Creator/PeterFHamilton contraceptives are mentioned a few times; outside the void it is implied that one of the features of bionics is a built-in contraceptive and inside the void a concoction is ingested by the males to make them temporarily infertile.
* In a WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids example: the ''Literature/GreenSkyTrilogy'' makes a point of this. A common, parasitic shrub that grows in the tops of the city-trees has a contraceptive effect, and wafers made from the shrub are freely available among the Kindar. In fact, the Ol-Zhaan social elite and those between 13-25 are required to take them, ostensibly so they can concentrate on their social responsibilities (apprenticeships for ordinary Kindar, administrative tasks for Ol-Zhaan). More sinisterly, making sure the Ol-Zhaan cannot have families keeps them from passing on potentially dangerous knowledge and keeps them isolated from ordinary Kindar. The fact that contraceptive herbs do not grow underground is part of the reason for the Erdlings' food shortages, as they are simply too many and the food sources too few. As a result, sex is one of the few things the Kindar are much more open about than Erdlings.
* ''The Case of the Toxic Spelldump'' by Creator/HarryTurtledove had the main character commenting on various forms of contraceptives in the {{Magitek}} UrbanFantasy world of his, including the traditional (involving crocodile dung), before saying his was a jar with a rooster's cock and a few other things stuffed under his bed. His girlfriend has a different method.
* In the ''Literature/BlackJewels'' trilogy, there are several references to a "contraceptive brew".
** Notably, this being a 'verse in which women are the dominant gender, it's ''males'' who take the contraceptive brews. The only healing brews we see women drinking are general healing tonics and those designed to ease menstrual discomfort.
* In Rene Barjavel's ''Literature/TheIcePeople'' (La Nuit des Temps) the people of the highly advanced ancient civilization all wear keys--actually rings with a pyramid-shaped setting. The key is used as both a debit card and an ID card, and is also an infallible contraceptive. People speak of taking off their keys when they want to have children.
* In the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' books, it's mentioned offhand that Highborn women can control their fertility. However, the social structure frequently puts them in social situations where they must voluntarily give up this control to fulfill a contract. Kendar women can do the same, but not with a Highborn lover, which is a common source of problems.
* In Elizabeth [=McCoy=]'s ''Herb-Witch'' Duology there is widely available Dry Tea, made using the blood of maidens (the term being much stricter than a technical lack of intercourse). And, unlike many versions, there are variants for men and women. This is specifically a preventative, though there are different potions to cause abortion.
* In a twist, the ''Literature/{{Deverry}}'' series, herbal preventatives aren't specifically referred to, although herbal abortifacients are a few times. The character Jill's problem with conceiving is presented as something much more basic: lots and lots of exercise,[[note]]a problem noted with women athletes in activity-heavy sports[[/note]] and a questionable level of nutrition at times.
* Sholan women in the ''Literature/SholanAllianceSeries'' can control their own fertility naturally, at least until some of the Leska pairs are exposed to the genetically altered ni'uzu virus.
* The second ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' novel, ''Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess'', mentions a weed-like plant created by an unknown female spark which acts as an effective contraceptive when brewed in a tea. Few women in Europa go without their morning 'Maiden's Cup'.
* The governments of Earth in ''Literature/TheColorOfDistance'' have been enacting population control methods for a few generations. All adults, male and female, are required to have taken a contraceptive shot. It can be temporarily reversed later after they've been approved to have a child. Aliens, healing Juna Saari, innocently reverse that shot permanently. She then has the bad luck to have an affair with a man who never had the shot-his father was concerned that it could damage his fertility, and anyway as long as any women he slept with were sterile what would it matter?
* Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's ''Literature/PlanetPirates'' series has contraceptive implants that last a few years before needing replacement.
* Creator/ElizabethMoon's ''Literature/FamiliasRegnant'' series likewise features contraceptive implants, which are standard for women in Familias space. The fact that some of the other factions ''don't'' use them is a plot point twice.
* In the Literature/BooksOfTheRaksura, queens and female Arbora (that is, all fertile female Raksura, as the warriors are sterile) can suppress their fertility at will.
* In ''Literature/TheRedTent'', Leah brews a tea from a type of fennel seed (possibly sylphium?) each day for a few years after multiple pregnancies started taking a toll on her. She gets pregnant again, though, after she runs out of seeds while the midwife is away on business.
* When Cherijo Grey Veil consummates her romance with Kao Torin in ''Literature/{{Stardoc}}'' she mentions having taken a contraceptive injection beforehand, which Kao later informs her was rather pointless since Jorenian males can naturally suppress their half of the process.
* In ''Literature/TheIronDragonsDaughter'', there's a spell of contraception. [[ButWeUsedACondom Not a 100% reliable one, though]], since the goddess who powers it ''wants'' couples to have children.
* In the ''Literature/OneRoseTrilogy'' by Gail Dayton, the women of Adara can have themselves protected by a contraceptive spell. It's apparently 100% effective, unless something interferes with the heroine's own "Godstruck" magic. Abortion is apparently legal in Adara "before the soul takes root", but since the only character we see consider having one is talked out of it, we don't see if that would be magical as well.
* Discussed in ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'' when Morgon hears the women aboard his ship talk about the dangers of unprotected sex and starts figuring out how to make a magical contraception amulet.
* In ''Literature/AxisOfTime'', in the 21st century, women can receive an implant that can be controlled via a tablet and provides 100% contraception until such time as they choose to deactivate it or it stops working on its own (it has a finite life). [[HotScoop Julia Duffy]]'s implant is nearing its life, and she fears having a child, so she initiates the implant's final function, which permanently sterilizes her. When her husband finds out, they have a big fight over it, followed by a divorce. [[spoiler:Then he dies in a plane crash... [[FakingTheDead maybe]]]]. Since then, she becomes a mess, drinking and screwing her way through the war, regretting her decision and blaming herself [[spoiler:for his death]]. She finally gets better when she starts to go steady with Prince Harry.
* Similarly, in ''Literature/HonorHarrington'', women can get a 5-year contraceptive implant. It's actually mandated for any front-line female officer, but they have a right to extract the implant at any moment, but pregnant women are taken off ship duty and reassigned to safer (less radioactive) postings until they give birth or (more likely in this setting) put the fetus into a tube to be brought to term artificially. Implants are supposed to be replaced every 5 years. [[spoiler:Honor spends some time on a prison planet and is listed dead. When she comes back, a clerical error means that her implant is not replaced on time, so she gets pregnant during her affair with Earl White Haven]].

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' gives Peacekeeper women the ability to hold an embryo in stasis for up to seven cycles (years). This way they can "recreate" as much as they want (encouraged by the PowersThatBe to relieve tension) and pregnancy and birth (aided by ExpressDelivery) can be rescheduled to more convenient times.
** Also, the "contraceptive shield" Velorek installed in Moya to prevent Crais from impregnating her with a gunship hybrid. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Nice Job Breaking It, D'Argo.]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' mentioned contraception in a couple different episodes: On ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' Kirk offered to provide an overpopulated species with whatever contraceptive devices they needed (in 1969 this was far more controversial, and the anti-contraceptive species rejected him), while ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' has "contraceptive injections" which have to be taken regularly to prevent pregnancy (Sisko neglecting to take his results in his wife becoming pregnant).

* There's a Swedish folk song called ''[[ Uti vår hage där växa blå bär]]'' (really a matter of LyricalDissonance here) that is a really sweet high strung choral thing about meeting your beloved on the meadows. The refrain is basically reciting a bunch of flowers. It got famous during the nationalist movement in the late 1800s, when learned men would collect all kinds of stories, music and songs from the lowly peasants. Most of the songs were deemed unsuitable for the fine music salons of Stockholm, but this one was an instant hit. Little did the learned men and their ladies know, that the flowers mentioned were those used as abortifacients or contraceptives...
-->''Out in our meadow the blueberries grow\\
If you want me for anything that's where I'll be.\\
Come roses or sage, come lovely mint, come balm.\\
Pretty little flowers ask you to dance\\
If you want I'll make a wreath for you.\\
I'll put it in your hair\\
Sun goes down, but hope rises.''


[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** An article on hedge wizards in ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' magazine #163 had a list of minor herbal and alchemical potions available from hedge wizards. One of these was 'maidenweed', a potion that leaves females infertile for a month.
** A similar herb is included in the TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}} supplement ''Gazetteer IV'', where it's listed alongside various poisons used in Borca. Justified, in that Borca was created to meet the needs of a BlackWidow darklord, so its native plant life naturally fulfills ''all'' her toxicological needs.
** Contraceptive herbs (such as nararoot, which is effectively maidenweed) are hidden away in the mundane equipment list in the 3.0/3.5e ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms Campaign Setting'' book.
** ''The Book of Erotic Fantasy'' provides a few more possibilities, from spells to 'sheaths' and even birth screens.
** In a Living Campaign setting for ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' 3.5 called Living Arcanis, priestesses of Larissa (the Divine Harlot) had spells for pregnancy, disease, sexual prowess, etc. Mind you, this was the goddess of the 67 acts of debauchery, one of which (maybe more) involved the undead.
** The ''Book of Vile Darkness'' lets the Bestow Curse spell cause indefinite sterility, an option that probably attracts a few willing victims.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', there is a potion called Maiden Tea that renders someone who drinks a dose infertile for a month (if female) or a week (if male). It's moderately expensive and therefore not available to most people -- but [[AGodIsYou most player characters]] in ''Exalted'' don't have any problem making the big bucks. And large doses can induce abortions, very large doses can render a character permanently sterile.
** There's also a Merit in the ''Player's Guide'' that allows one complete control of one's own fertility.
* ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheForsaken'' has a magical Rite that will render a werewolf sterile for one month. It's often used on female werewolves during risky times, as the fetus isn't protected by the shapeshifting process. The fiction section dealing with the Rite involves a pregnant werewolf forced to deal with a mage who wants to claim a werewolf fetus for magical power; she takes a humongous risk to shift and tears the mage to pieces, crying all the while.
* ''TabletopGame/ArsMagica'' provides several spells for preventing or terminating pregnancies, although since every self-respecting Hermetic mage takes regular doses of a LongevityTreatment that renders them permanently sterile, they don't come up as often as they might.
* ''TabletopGame/TheDarkEye'' has a contraceptive herb that is considered sacred to the goddess of beauty, love and wine, which tends to be 100% effective. Witches can also learn to strike somebody barren, while this is traditionally used as a curse, some more enterprising witches have found an alternate market for this effect.
* The ''[[TabletopGame/MageTheAscension Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade]]'' supplement ''The Swashbuckler's Handbook'' is concerned with "enlightened" Renaissance courtiers, swashbucklers, and courtesans. Hence, one of the sample magics which it describes is "Courtesan's Draught", which reduces the risks of sexual activity.
* In ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'', in [[ProudWarriorRace the Clans]], for members of the warrior caste, sex is purely for recreation. To prevenet pregnancies, all female warriors are given implants that render them infertile. There's one known case of a female warrior getting pregnant- Cadet Peri, who deliberately sabotaged her implant in order to conceive a child with Cadet Aiden, [[BrotherSisterIncest her sybkin]]. This child would eventually grow up to become a mechwarrior under Aiden's command, Mechwarrior Diana.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/FableII'' provides the player with condoms made from animal intestine, which may sound like something they made up but is [[AluminumChristmasTrees actually historical]].
* ''TheWitcher'' video game makes the same point about a Witcher being sterile as exists in the books. And as in the books, the protagonist can get plenty of use out of it.
* In ''Franchise/MassEffect'', it's implied that asari matings only bear fruit if the 'mother' asari wants to become pregnant as their reproduction is really closer to modified parthogenesis than anything else.
* Although it's not really an issue in-game (with one major exception for female characters in a romance with Alistair), Grey Wardens in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' are apparently sterile (or practically sterile). The darkspawn taint apparently has an impact on the character's vigor; Morrigan in particular mentions some rather lurid tales about the Grey Wardens' fabled [[DoubleEntendre endurance]].
** WordOfGod states that Grey Wardens ''can'' conceive with a normal person (though the chances of success are notably reduced) and produce completely healthy offspring, but a pair of Wardens together is all but sterile.
** The prequel novel ''Franchise/DragonAge: Literature/TheCalling'' has the newly-recruited Duncan being approached by a young female mage who wants to test out the rumors of the Grey Wardens' endurance. In the same novel, a female Grey Warden conceives a child from [[spoiler:King Maric]] who is named [[spoiler:Alistair]].
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' doesn't really address the issue, though [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]] is a normal human and only one of the love interests (Anders) is a Grey Warden. Though Sebastian has taken a vow of chastity and Isabela is implied to be infertile.
** Wynne mentions that mages seldom have babies by accident because "there are ways to prevent it". However, considering that Wynne herself had an "oops" baby once, their contraception methods aren't 100% effective. (Fans like to speculate on how, exactly, this works. Some note that there's actually a spell called "Barrier"...)
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'': The main antagonists, the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Sufficiently Advanced]] [[AliensAreBastards Bastard]] alien empire known as the Combine, have completely prevented humans from reproducing for twenty years using an invisible "Suppression Field" emitted from their EvilTowerOfOminousness, creating a ChildlessDystopia where the human race slowly dies off and the Earth is stripped of resources. The plot of the vanilla game resolves around getting rid of it.

* ''Webcomic/AModestDestiny'' has one character consider taking herbs to force an abortion. Yet another step on the slippery slope into DarkerAndEdgier that is the works of Sean Howard.
* In ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'', a "Protection Scroll" is put to use in a flashback where Luna loses her virginity. The asshole who took it doesn't want to use it, but she insists (and Dominic, viewing it via postcognition, cheers - and nearly punches out the person implanting his false teeth in the process).
** They're also mentioned when Gregory loses his, and when Dominic and Luna finally sleep together. Apparently they're fairly common.
*** However, it seems Dominic [[spoiler:didn't need to worry about getting anyone pregnant; he's sterile]].
* Similarly, Roy of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' was the result of a Protection spell failing.
* ''Kit N Kay Boodle'' has "boinkberries", which are the world's most effective contraceptive ''and'' best performance-enhancing stimulant (going by the fact that everyone in the comic has sex dozens of times a day).
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', [[ Grace can't get pregnant in her non-human forms]] and a person given a female form by the TransformationRay Gun is [[ sterile for several days after transformation]].
* In ''Webcomic/ErrantStory'', any woman who knows the contraception spell can cast it by using her finger to draw the correct symbol on her lower abdomen and waiting at least five minutes. It has to be the ''right'' symbol, though; Meji's mother found out what happens when she was drunk and drew the wrong one.
* Women in ''Webcomic/TheMansionOfE'' consume a plant called stiflebloom which prevents pregnancies for a month.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/TalesOfMU'' has "Rings of Protection From Pregnancy", [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything which are single-use, and are packaged in foil packets]]. Unfortunately most of them use cold magic, which Mack is vulnerable to.
* ''Podcast/MetamorCity'' has fertility suppression amulets, incubi burn through them in a month.
* [[ This]] AlternateHistory involves silphium (see below) being an effective contraceptive and thus altering the course of history.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[ Silphium]], a plant commonly used as an oral contraceptive in Ancient Greece and Rome. So commonly used in fact that its now believed to be extinct. Its seeds are speculated as a possible origin for the ♥ symbol.
** Before the advent of legal abortions, certain herbs were used to make nostrums to "induce powerful menstruation and return the woman to her natural rhythm". They include such things like pennyroyal, rosemary, black cohosh, tansy, etc. Effectiveness is very hit-and-miss and overdoses can be fatal.
* Similarly, various recipes for contraceptives were found in ancient Egyptian texts; and while the efficiency of some of those is questionable (drinks made of celery base and beer), there are some which were probably effective as they contained effective spermicides such as acacia gum ([[OlderThanFeudalism which is still used in modern birth control pills]]). In fact, the oldest known document referring to birth control is the Kuhn gynecological papyrus (around 1850 BC).
** The Egyptians also had reasonably effective "barrier" contraceptives and reasonably effective spermicides, although in both cases part of the contraceptive value may have been from the {{squick}} factor. A cervical cap made from crocodile dung and full-wax honey ''would'' be a good barrier and the honey is going to be a good spermicide by dehydrating sperm and reducing motility... but may have dampened everyone's spirits as well.
** Ditto the early condoms, used from at least the high medieval period- literally a sausage-skin (yes, a pig's gut, but hey, lots of people eat them) with one end sewn up. They were intended to be washed and re-used. They'd probably have been far more successful if they hadn't been, well, you work it out.
** The real Casanova also talks about using a lemon-skin like a cervical diaphragm. As the above examples, it works in theory- lemon juice is certainly a pretty good spermicide- but it's also very irritating on sensitive areas; worse, even modern diaphragms, which are fitted to the user, take some trial-and-error to fit properly (they also have quite a high failure rate, not because they fail when used correctly but they're not the most convenient of methods)- a far less flexible lemon peel randomly chosen for an individual would have been very awkward.
** Another pre-industrial form contraception was the contraceptive sponge-a plug of natural sponge on a string (these still exist today, in modernized form). Like modern sponges, they would have been soaked in the nearest thing available to spermicide- usually vinegar, maybe with tansy or pennyroyal. They would have been... well, better than nothing.
* Papaya itself is a fairly normal fruit in Asia and other tropical regions, but eating too much will cause miscarriage and it's specifically used as emergency contraception in certain regions. ''Unripe'' papaya is even more notorious, to the point where doctors often advise pregnant women to avoid papaya entirely until the baby comes to term.