When It Comes to Condoms, Size Does Matter!

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Condoms, like people, come in all sizes and colors. The condom movement has become mainstream in the prevention of STDs as well as a way to reduce your risk for pregnancy. As I started my research on this topic I was surprised by the history of condoms … for some odd reason I thought condoms were a fairly recent invention. Boy, was I wrong.

The earliest use of male condoms have been traced back to around 1000 BC, when the ancient Egyptians used a linen sheath to protect against disease. A wide variety of penis coverings have been used over the ages; animal bladders, intestines, tortoise shell, leather loin cloths and rubber, with the more recent invention of latex.

In 1873 the New York Times ran the first ever advertisement for “Dr. Power’s French Preventatives.” The “French disease” was another name for syphilis. During the following decade it became illegal to advertise any type of birth control or to send them mail order.

Until the 1920s, condoms were made by hand dipping from rubber cement. These condoms aged quickly and the quality was poor. In 1919, latex entered the scene and condoms grew thinner, odorless and had a much longer shelf life.

Public health education programs strongly advocate that consistent condom use does minimize the spread of sexually transmitted disease such as HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea; as well as reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy. It is estimated that by 2015 the worldwide need will exceed 18 billion condoms a year.

With women and girls accounting for just over half of all people living with HIV worldwide, female HIV prevention mechanisms are still desperately needed. The newest female condom, FC2, received FDA approval in March 2009. Made of nitrile (a type of rubber or polyurethane) material, it is a 6.5-inch-long sheath or pouch with a flexible ring at both ends. They have a silicone-based lubricant inside but do not contain spermicide. Unlike the latex versions, this one can be used with either water or oil-based lubricants. In addition, nitrile conducts heat well, so sensation is preserved. The downside is they are not easy to insert, can be noisy, and the ring on the outside is visible. There is also a higher rate of pregnancy prevention failure.

Over 10% of white men fall outside 5-7 inches

There are several other types that have not been FDA approved. The World Health Organization will review a new latex condom following 2011 clinical trials.

FYI: The female condom should never be used with a male condom, as the friction between the two may cause breakage.

Mass production of rubber and latex condoms were initially developed with the average penis size in mind (penis size average, erect, is 5-7 inches long with a girth of 4.5-5 inches). This poses a problem for the men who fall outside of these averages. Too tight and a guy will be miserable. Too loose and well, at the very least, he might be called Daddy!

Condom fit can range from a feeling of strangulation to slipping right off while doing the deed. The proper fit is imperative to receive comfort as well as the benefits of protection. Having a condom break or slip off during sex greatly increases your risk for disease or pregnancy. Take the time to know what size you need and purchase the correct ones. The condom should fit snugly (no wrinkles), cover the entire erect penis and leave a small space at the tip. You will find an attachment you can print out to custom size your condoms and order them through a discreet website such as THEYFIT condoms.

Snugger Fitting 6-7″
Standard Fit 7-7.8″
Larger 7.2-8.1″
XL Over 8.1″

Go to Condomania for online guidance for condom sizing and purchasing. There are hundreds of styles and brands; sizes, shapes, with and without spermicide, flavors, colors. ribbed varieties, etc.


5 of the 55 sizes available from TheyFit Condoms

Most people don’t realize the variety of companies and sizes those companies make. You need to do some research because not all “standard fit” are the same between companies. If there is no wording like XL, Magnum, or Snugger, you can be pretty certain they are the average fit size. But that, too, can vary. The best solution if you are a frequent flyer is to do the condom fit guide and get the right ones for you.

This brings me to the age old question; Who should bring the condom to the party?

I know that women oftentimes will carry condoms just in case they find themselves in an amorous situation and the guy is unprepared. Most sexually active people theses days are not going to play unwrapped. After learning about all the varieties now available, how in the world do you know what size to carry? Do you carry a variety pack? OMG, this could get really awkward. Do you carry the size chart, too? That could spoil the moment for sure. It seems to me that MEN need to take this one on themselves; unless of course they want us whipping out our trusty little measuring device to see which of the variety travel pack we need to open up.

Sex can be complicated enough without having to worry about a condom falling off and having to find it later. So my advice to you men is be a good scout and make sure you are always prepared!

In discussing this column with friends and family, many questions popped up regarding condom use. Why don’t men like to use them? How should a woman bring the topic up and ask a man to use a condom? What are the barriers to having condoms accessible? Should we provide teens with condoms to reduce their exposure risk? Should you use a condom for oral sex? And many more. I will do a follow up column “The In’s and Out’s of Condom Use” to answer your burning questions and post your answers to the questions here.

Intimately Yours,
Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at asyoudesire@ymail.com with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling. www.bodylogicmd.com

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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30 Responses

  1. Avatar GeoP says:

    Life is so much easier with pre-marital abstinance/post-marital monogamy. It's worked for me. And I didn't get married until I was 30. Pre-marital abstinence CAN be done.

    • Avatar rmv says:

      Thank you GeoP! I think you may have said it all.

    • Dear Geo,

      WOW you are amazing and also very unusual. Unfortunately that is not the choice of the vast majority. Because of that we do have a responsibility to openly discuss other options for those who are not as committed to abstinence and monogamy as you and your bride have been. Certainly the path you have chosen has simplified life a great deal and we can all learn from you. Thank you for reading and for writing in.

      All the very best to you both and I'm sure you are great role models for all those who know you.



  2. Avatar Ed says:

    Understanding sizing of condoms is tougher than figuring the size of the cup at a coffee stand, they start at large and go upward to uber gigante luxo grande. Other than finding the ones that fit, it's important to understand condom materials and that oil based lubricants degrade latex. Condoms are also good for covering your toys prior to use, especially those that are not dishwasher safe.

    Remember also that lube is good for everyone involved.

    We need to educate our young'ans about how to protect themselves and others sexually and give them all the options available.

    Have fun and be prepared.


    • Hi Ed,

      I've already written Volume II – "The In's & Out's Of Condom Use" and will be addressing the lubricant issue for sure.

      I have some ideas about how to deal with our kids…. I'm sure I will hear from the "Just Say No" fans on this one!

      Thanks for reading… and Stay Safe and Sexy!


  3. Avatar Confused when young says:

    Well, I remember my first purchase of condoms. I picked a register with a guy. When it was my turn, the condom package did not register. He picked up the phone and the whole grocery store heard, "Price Check for small Trojans on isle 3." Never had an erection since. And that is why we never had kids.

  4. Avatar Kisha says:

    Agree that providing condoms is the man's responsibility for the points you addressed. On a humorous note…imagine the look on a child's face when they get into Mom's purse for the keys, a tissue, or money and find a variety pack and guide to proper condom fitting. AWKWARD! Not a problem if a man carries one in compartment of wallet or in his pocket. Just sayin…

    • Hey Kisha,

      Thank you for reading and commenting! You are the best! And that story sounded a bit like a voice of experience? Hahahaha…

      Yes… Note to Men… It's our ovaries and we take the pill… It's your penis, YOU bring the wrapper!



      • Avatar Kisha says:

        Ummm….no it did not happen, but I would not want to try and explain that one….that's for sure!

  5. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:


  6. Avatar Bryan says:

    Nancy keep up the good work! Education is absolutely the key. In countries that don't mandate ignorance they have much lower rates for teen pregnancy, std's, etc. Sticking ones head in the sand obviously does not work. When we have found someone like Joycelyn Elders who speaks frankly on the subject our answer is to make them disappear. Go Nancy, Go……

  7. Avatar amber asaro says:

    Keep up the great work Nancy. I always enjoy your column here at anewscafe.


  8. Avatar Steve says:


    I think condoms are a great idea but unfortunately dont care for wearing them.

    Although I do,would much prefer a partner I know and trust to be clean so she and I can experience skin on skin.

    Size has been an issue….most condoms feel too tight…even magnum xls..which is odd as im not huge..was circumcized in my mid-late twenties.Length is only 8-8.5 and the girth is close to that of a can of shaving gel.

    Is there an alternative 'larger' condom besides the magnum xl? Somthing thinwalled that can still provide adequate protection when having sex with a woman Id just met?

    • Hey Steve,

      Go to the website I mentioned as they offer custom fit condoms just for YOU. Download the FITKIT and find out exactly what size you wear then order appropriately. That is the least you can do for yourself until….

      Stay safe and enjoying life!


    • Avatar Gamerjohn says:

      Hey Steve, this is an advice column not Penthouse letters. Keep the fantasy stuff out. As for your actual size, try the Japanese brands, I hear they fit the pencil nubs.

      The first couple times I used condoms, they broke because they hadn't been kept properly. Wallets are not a good place.

      • Leave it you GJ!

        My follow up column (coming soon) is all about the in's and out's of condom use… including how long you can keep them in your wallet (or glove box or freezer). Stay tuned!


  9. Avatar E's Escapades says:

    oh yes it's me again!!! I once bought 'glow in the dark' condoms for my husband as a joke… he put it on and strutted around the bedroom with his you know what glowing green!!! We were laughing so hard we could barely do it!!! But the best was this past Christmas, imagine my surprise when I reached in my santa stocking and pulled out a box of honest-to-god BLACK condoms!!! Well! I bookmarked that website for future purchases!! So fun and we are 'old' no need for condoms but it spices things up!! until next time,,,,,,

    • Oh Thank you E!!! I love your stories!

      And you are proof that condoms can be an added bonus of fun and adventure, even when they are not needed for the more serious reasons. How great for those who can combine the two!

      Keep up the sexy living! Obviously it's working GREAT for you two!


  10. Avatar Ryan says:

    What is the healthiest option for birth prevention? I am concerned about the effects of pharmaceutical birth controls, are there good websites or books with information that you can recommend? Also part of the problem is sometimes condoms break or dry out, and feel not that great, is there a condom consumer reports or something? Tips for comfort? thanks

    • Great questions Ryan,

      There are a lot of methods of birth control… there are natural methods which require some research and effort… Birth control pills are still the most effective however are adding synthetic hormones. The next best option is a mechanical barrier: IUD, Condom or Diaphragm.

      I mentioned two great sites for condom information in my columns. http://www.condomania.com & Condom Country. They do not hold up well when carried in your wallet or glove box… heat degrades them. So make sure you have a fresh supply. Also the fit is really important. If you have not downloaded the fit kit I suggest doing so then order a box that are custom. It might make all the difference in the world for you.

      Using correct lubricant with them is also key. I just spoke with someone who still uses Baby Oil. That is a huge NO NO! One it's a petroleum base which is really bad for us ladies, and two it breaks down latex which is really bad for us all. Try a few types of lube to find one you both like. They are NOT all created equal!

      Thanks for writing and I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes ok?

      Stay curious and informed,


  11. Avatar chattycat says:

    My man is not even five inches and he tells me to buy condoms that don't fit, every time. He doesn't understand reality I guess, and I can't tell him.

  12. Nice sharing of condom info. Thanks Nancy!

  13. Avatar ethan says:

    You know, I have used many condoms many condom bands before, for my suggestion;
    1. LifeStyle easy to buy in the market, but it is a bit expensive.
    2. Dulex this similar to LiftStyle as well.
    3. Soft Condoms, for a band you can buy only online, so the con is that it is hard to find in the market, but the price is cheaper than both bands above and it comes from medical expertise so 100% safe and well design.

    Invisible by Soft condom is by far the best condom I have ever used. you can literally feel everything when you are inside her. the second I am in I can feel the warmth, never felt the warmth with other condoms. I would highly recommend this with water-based lube. literally, the next best thing compared to not wearing a condom. but this is the best option, because you should always be protected!
    Click >> https://www.softcondoms.com/

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