Condoms are only as effective as the person who uses them. Just as using the wrong type of condom to prevent STIs and pregnancy -- such as lambskin condoms rather than latex condoms can lead to unsuccessful results, relying on the wrong condom sizes can also cause problems. There are several ways that condom malfunction could occur, and having the wrong size condom can lead just to that... failure.
When it comes to choosing a condom, size may very well matter. There are various condom sizes available -- since not all men are built the same, neither are condoms. Finding the most compatible condom size will increase your comfort level while wearing it. This can also lead to more pleasure and less condom excuses. When condoms fit properly, they are most effective. This is because they are less likely to break (from being too tight) or slip off (because they are too loose).
Even though latex condoms are super stretchy, if condom sizes are too small, discomfort may occur. Typically, the body of most condoms are roomy enough to accommodate men of almost any size. Condoms may feel too tight around the tip (where it is not as elastic), especially if you are well-endowed. Condom manufacturers have tried to solve this problem by making condoms where the width of the main body is the same as standard condoms, but the size of the condom tip is enlarged. This is the most effective way to address condom size. By keeping the body of the condom smaller and widening the reservoir tip, the condom it less likely to slip off during sexual activity. Of course, there are also bigger condom sizes that not only add width, but length as well.
The results of a survey conducted by Durex revealed that the length of an erect penis can range from 4 to 9 inches. Penis width, on the other hand, only varies from 1 to 2 inches (sometimes more - but not typically). Of the approximate 3,000 of respondents surveyed, 50% felt that standard condoms did not fit properly. Fifteen percent said that condoms were "too loose" or "much too loose" whereas 25% reported that condoms were "too tight." Ten percent claimed that condoms were "much too tight." The most concerning statistic was that 44% of the men surveyed revealed that they had experienced a condom slipping off or breaking in the past. These results are similar to existing research on condom fit.
Given that condom sizes do affect the fit, comfort and effectiveness of condoms, you should make an effort to find a condom that is most suited for your body. To do this, you may have to try out several types of condoms before finding the one that provides you with the best fit and the most comfort. This may also not be a time to completely rely upon your friends because they may be “shaped” differently than you, so what works for them may not be the best fit for yourself. When experimenting with different brands and condom sizes, it may be a good idea to buy the smallest pack available (even see if a store sells a certain condom brand individually). This way, you don't waste your money on larger packs of condoms that you will probably not use if the size was wrong. This task, unfortunately, becomes even more difficult because most condom brands have their own definition of what is considered to be standard and large condoms. In general though, condoms are available in snugger fit sizes, standard sizes, and large (XL or XLL) sizes.
Given that condom sizes range quite a bit, another helpful tool to have at your disposal is a place where you can compare condom sizes of various brands and types. This way, you can begin to eliminate condoms that you don’t think will fit before stepping foot in a store or ordering them online.
Durex Scientific. Penis Size Survey. Accessed August 2011.