Let's Talk (Intelligently) About Sex

Size Matters

If you want to have really safe sex, it’s important to choose a condom that fits. Men come in a variety of different sizes and so do condoms. Although condoms are extremely stretchy and flexible, using an appropriately sized one does matter. A study published in the February issue of the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections found that men who reported that their condoms fit poorly were more likely to experience slippage, breakage, and sensation problems for themselves and their partners.

I’m actually curious about how many of the men who felt like their condoms fit badly did so because they were wearing them wrong – which would also explain some of the high breakage. Condoms are extremely stretchy, and although fit does matter, it seems not unlikely that improper use could also have an effect. Unfortunately that can not easily be judged by self report.

Even if good condom skills play a role in how comfortable condoms are, there is still a good deal of variation in how well any given condom will fit a man – particularly for those men who fall at extremes of the penis size spectrum. That’s why it’s important to do some condom comparison shopping. Buy a sampler online, grab a bunch of boxes at the drug store and share them among your friends, or take them from a variety of bars, but try a number of different condoms on and see which ones work for you. If you find a type of condom that fits, not only will it be less likely to fail, you’ll be more likely to use it.

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