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Dawn Stacey M.Ed, LMHC

Hmm... Does Size REALLY Matter?

By April 18, 2014

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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":

What Have Been Your Experiences with Condoms? Once you find that "perfect" non-mood ruining condom, I WANT TO HEAR!

  • Share Your Opinion: What Are Your Favorite Condom Types or Condom Brands?
  • Please vote in my Condom Poll (you can chose as many answers as applicable):

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    Photo 2013 Dawn Stacey

  • Comments
    April 18, 2014 at 12:09 pm
    (1) Abfast says:

    I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i’m happy studying your article. But wanna statement on some common things, The site taste is great, the articles is in point of fact excellent : D. Excellent task, cheers

    April 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm
    (2) David Kent says:

    I also recently purchased some “THEYFIT” condoms and now longer have to worry about excessive tightness, so that’s a bonus. I would rather wear nothing at all though, but that is not the point.

    April 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm
    (3) Simon says:

    I bought some custom fitted condoms from a company called TheyFit – I used to suffer from condoms being too loose and slipping off (and being a bit too long). Now it’s not an issue and I just get on with the fun stuff :-)

    April 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm
    (4) edwards says:

    Condoms that don’t fit can break, reduce sexual pleasure and cause couples not to use them… resulting in unwanted pregnancy and the spread of possibly deadly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). That’s the news from researchers at the U. of Kentucky and the Kinsey Institute. The solution: Use fitted condoms.

    April 18, 2014 at 9:01 pm
    (5) Special Shape Condoms says:

    Let’s not forget their are specialty condoms that are shaped so that they have a lose flared head with a tighter base. The increased head room is supposed to improve sensitivity while the tighter base helps to keep the condom on.

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