A study regarding condom use that was recently published in the Sexually Transmitted Infections medical journal is gaining a lot of public attention. According to the findings, nearly half of the men surveyed indicated poor fitting condoms during prior months of intercourse. While the importance of using a well-fitted condom cannot be overstated, it does raise the question of why so many men are experiencing this sort of problem in the first place. Could penis size, and in particular the condom industry's apparent disconnect with the actual requirements of their customers, be the culprit behind this disturbing phenomenon?
Kinsey Condom Survey
Another complaint was that condoms made intercourse less pleasurable and resulted in greater difficulty in achieving orgasm. For this reason, many stated that they took off the condoms before they finished having sex. This behavior obviously exposes men to sexually-contracted diseases and ultimately defeats the entire purpose of using condoms in the first place.
The researchers who conducted this survey concluded:
"Men and their female sex partners may benefit from public health efforts designed to promote the improved fit of condoms."
What's Size Got To Do, Got To Do With It?
Although the researchers conclusion offers sound advice, it does beg the question of why condom makers seem oblivious to the needs of their customers. With so much emphasis on developing pleasure-producing male contraceptives, and recent strives to educate men on the importance of safe-sex, it appears almost counter-intuitive to manufacture products that don't even fit well.
Clearly the root of the problem stems out of two specific circumstances. Firstly, many men have no idea whatsoever the condom size they'll actually need. It's not like you can go into a store and try on condoms until you find one that matches. Since penises come in all shapes and sizes, it's not always easy to determine which condom will offer the correct fit.
Secondly, while there is a dizzying array of condom varieties (ribbed, lubricated, scented, flavored, colored, etc.), the actual selection of sizes is limited. The majority of brands are marketed in Regular, Large and Extra Large sizes – you'd be hard-pressed to find a condom that is labeled 'Small.'
This predicament usually results in men guessing about which size is right for them. Unfortunately this means that sometimes the condom is too small and this can cause discomfort or breakage. Other times the condom is too large and either becomes loose or simply falls off.
Getting Condom Size Right
The only true way to be sure that a condom fits correctly is to buy a sample of different sizes and test each one independently. Since condoms are often purchased in the spur of the moment, this might not always be practical or even possible.
Even if you find a condom that does fit, this won't account for variable changes in penis size that may occur over time. If you're practicing a penis enlargement method for instance, you'll need to periodically check that the condoms you're using are still fitting properly.
The bottom line is that unless you're in a committed sexual relationship with a partner you trust, condoms are a necessity. If the possibility of pregnancy and/or the contraction of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is not an issue then you may not have to worry. For many men however, condoms are a way of life. Until condom manufacturers come up with a better and more transparent system for sizing, the burden remains on us alone to make the right choice.
Posted by PRS
Friday, February 26th, 2010
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Kinsey Institute Staff Publications
Erection loss in association with condom use among young men attending a public STI clinic: potential correlates and implications for risk behaviour
Condom Discomfort and Associated Problems With Their Use Among University Students
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