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.

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  • petensfo

    I think this is a dubious survey.

    I’ve been having protected sex my whole life & rarely has there been a problem.

  • Mooz

    The results indicated: That men who have unprotected sex, tend to overestimate their penis size.

  • FireFromHeaven

    I can fit a standard latex condom over my fist and down past my wrist.

  • murphy0071

    A heterosexual friend of mine always used the largest available condoms. He had a massive appendage and the condoms broke and resulted in three abortions. They just don’t make them for the well endowed. When will we get a pill for men?

  • Redpalacebulleaglesox

    Bottom line, if it’s comfortable, it’s used. Gee, what a surprise. This one is right there with the study Canadian scientists did with fifty lab rats. They held them underwater for a thousand consecutive hours. the result, they all died of drowning. therefore, water was considered too dangerous for your health. Sheesh!

  • mlbumiller

    @FireFromHeaven: you might be able fit your fist into one, but it if you left it on for an hour i am sure the circulation to your had would be decreased and you would be uncomfortable.

  • technicolornina

    @FireFromHeaven: I staffed the GLBTQIA table at Club Rush with a bunch of other lesbians one year, and when we got bored we started seeing what weird stuff we could do with the giant jar of condoms and lube we’d gotten from some local gay group (I don’t remember which, might have been PFLAG, all I know is the health clinic definitely would not have given us lube packs with names like Pop Your Cherry and BlowBerry). When we got tired of condom finger puppets and condom bracelets we decided to test the old “a condom can fit over your head” theory and what do you know . . . I didn’t pull it down to my neck because I was afraid of getting stuck, but I did indeed get a condom all the way down to my chin without breaking.

    I think it’s way, WAY more likely that the majority of guys who aren’t using ’em don’t know how to, properly. If you don’t put it on right, it’s going to snap or come off. Period.

  • toren123

    Being a bottom, I can’t speak to the problem in respect of comfort. I try to have an assortment on hand, and included in that assortment: [regular], large, and extra-large. Beyond that, I can only hope the top I hook up with has brought condoms that fit him comfortably, because I am sure comfort has an impact on usage. I suspect, however, that there is a limited correlation between comfort, and stretch characteristics which likely vary between one brand or type and another. Being able to stretch a condom over one’s head does not suggest that particular condom would be comfortable on a guy’s erect penis.

  • ides79

    I’m glad someone finally is doing a study on this. And it’s really annoying when the guy behind the counter in the bodega looks at you and says you don’t need the magnums. And yes you can fit one of the no frills brands on but they rupture after a few minutes of friction if they are too tight. Roll one up your arm then rub it for a while and see what happens. Also it’s hard to maintain an erection when it’s cutting off your circulation. It sucks when you can’t preform cause you can’t find a condom that is big enough. I think if multiple sized condoms were more readily available it would encourage men to find the size that fits right. They don’t have to be small, medium, large & extra large they can use starbucks sizes, Tall, Grande, Venti & Trenta.

  • ides79

    @FireFromHeaven: but try to rub it for 10 minutes and see what happens even if you keep applying lubrication.

  • dab822

    ok…vers guy here and not the largest comparatively. they are tight and cut circulation. that only serves to decrease sensation. never had one break, but have been bruised by the one size fits all. never mind the fact that i have to not have had sex for a month to feel anything through them. yeah even the trojan magnum brand

  • Dinodogstar

    My theory is that this lack of usage for larger-sized men, stems from that ‘Big Dick Attitude”, that all men, straight and gay, aspire to. That I’m the alpha male, invincible and the leader of the pack because I’ve got a big one. If, like me you are hung like a horse( ok a pony but still), the other half of the sexual interlude is assumed by the to be just lucky that they even get to hook up with such a stud, and they should be tahnkful and not demanding, not safe. Prize bulls are as in peril of disease as the most lacking in size, but that attitude trumps any sort of rational thinking about sex.

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