Agence France Presse (02.15.10) - Friday, February 26, 2010
Almost half of men who use condoms find they are ill-fitting,
according to new research, which can impair both sexual
pleasure and the condom's protective abilities.
For the study, R. A. Crosby, of the College of Public Health
at the University of Kentucky, and colleagues enrolled 436 men
ages 18-67 who had used a condom for vaginal intercourse in
the previous three months.
Of the men, 44.7 percent reported experiencing ill-fitting
condoms. This alone more than doubled the risk of breakage,
slippage, loss of erection, and difficulty of either partner
reaching orgasm. Poorly fitting condoms were also five times
more likely to irritate the penis. Problems related to fit
made many users remove the condom during intercourse, with the
consequent loss of its protection against STDs and pregnancy.
The authors suggested the study's findings show the need for
public health messages to encourage men to buy the proper size
of condoms. Since the study is based on self-reports, its data
are somewhat limited, they acknowledged.
Another difficulty that needs addressing involves the terms
that should be used to indicate condom size, the authors said.
"The old saying is, 'Women don't have penis envy, men do,'"
said co-author W.L. Yarber. Condom makers would be well-
advised to label the smaller sizes "large," moving on to
"extra-large" for medium and so on, Yarber suggested.
The full report, "Does It Fit Okay? Problems with Condom Use
as a Function of Self-Reported Poor Fit," was published in
Sexually Transmitted Infections (2010;86:36-38).