STUDY: Does Size Matter? Report Examines Links Between Penis Size And Condom Failure

condomA new study out of Hunter College bears out some interesting data regarding penis size, condom failure and unprotected sex.

Researchers from Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) surveyed nearly 500 gay and bisexual men to determine if the fit and feel of condoms impacted how regularly participants used them. Dr. Christian Grov, the study’s lead author, hypothesized that standard one-size-fits-all condoms might be inadvertently encouraging men to engage in unprotected sex if they’re frustrated with ill-fitting prophylactics.

The results indicated:

* Nearly half of the respondents reported condom slippage during sex and almost a third reported condom breakage in the previous three months.

* Less than forty percent of those surveyed said it was “easy” to find a condom that fit them.

* There was also an association between condom breakage and unprotected sex, suggesting that some men may have unprotected sex simply because they cannot find proper fitting condoms.

* Most of the men surveyed indicated their penis length was between 6 and 8 inches, though there was a good amount of variation in both length and girth.

“These findings indicate that the fit of a condom matters,” says Grov. “A client at an HIV service agency might see a bowl filled with ‘standard’ condoms and have to ask a provider if they have other sizes available. That extra step could make the difference between someone leaving with a condom—the right condom—or going home empty-handed.”

In recent years condom makers have been introducing more sizes. (UK manufacturer TheyFit offers 95 custom-fit sizes.) But what most of us find at clinics, bars and corner stores are still the generic one-size-fits all variety.

The study, “Self-reported penis size and experiences with condoms among gay and bisexual  men,” will be published in Archives of Sexual Behavior in February.