Did you know that condoms that don't fit properly are more likely to slip off, break and (hold your breath here) decrease the pleasure of both partners during sex? Yep, these are some of the reasons keeping people away from using condoms -- and not using condoms greatly undermines all the public health benefits they could provide. Trying to help the poor condom out, Crosby et al. conducted research (the first of its kind I might add) using an event-specific analysis to examine the effect of ill-fitting condoms on several aspects of sexual functioning. Hmm? Sound interesting?
This was a pretty intriguing study. The men had to complete a questionnaire asking them to indicate whether the condom they last used fit "OK" or was too long, short or wide and then asked about their experience using the condom. 440 men replied (who met the criteria of being at least 18 years old, used condoms for sexual intercourse in the past 3 months and had the ability to read English). The average age of the participants was 29.6 years old.
Results using an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) revealed that 195 men (44.7%) reported having used a condom that did not fit well.
Of these 195 men reporting bad-fitting condoms, they were more likely (than men whose condoms fit) to report:
- Condom breakage (AOR=2.6)
- Slippage (AOR=2.7)
- Difficulty reaching orgasm - both for their female partners (AOR=1.9) and for themselves (AOR=2.3)
- Irritation of the penis (AOR=5.0)
- Reduced sexual pleasure - both for the men (AOR=2.4) and their female partners (AOR=1.6)
- That the bad-fitting condom interfered with erection (AOR=2.0), caused loss of erection (AOR=2.3) or became dry during sex (AOR=1.9)
- Removing the condom during intercourse (AOR=2.0)
Crosby et al. explain, that "the increased likelihood that men using ill-fitting condoms will remove condoms before sex ends constitutes another form of condom failure."
On first glance, these results may be a bit worrisome, so it is important to point out that though bad-fitting condoms may cause potential issues with the men (and their female partners) who use them, only a sizable minority of men actually report problems with condom fit. This study was also limited by its dependence on self-report by the participants. Yet, the authors conclude that, "men and their female sex partners may benefit from public health efforts designed to promote the improved fit of condoms."
So What Does This All Mean???
CONDOM SIZES MATTER People! The last thing any couple wants during an intimate encounter is "the moment" being ruined because the condom doesn't fit. Then... what do you do? Take it off, say a quick prayer, and hope you aren't in the market for buying a pregnancy test -- or just roll over and go to bed frustrated and disappointed. Either option doesn't sound too romantic to me!
So, here are some ways you can prevent this problem so it doesn't become an issue the next time you and your lovey are "in the mood":
- Determining Penis and Condom Size
- Condom Size Chart (match your size to the perfect condom)
- How Do I Choose a Condom?
What Have Been Your Experiences with Condoms? Once you find that "perfect" non-mood ruining condom, I WANT TO HEAR!
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