Ha! Did you think I was talking about the size of a man’s tackle? Not so, silly dears! Confidentially, I’ve NEVER met a set of twig and berries that I didn’t like. I’m talking, of course, about condom sizing.
Did you know that condoms come in different sizes? And I’m not just talking about “normal” and “magnum”, either. Condom manufacturers diligently test, measure, and I guess focus group test their condoms, and not all condoms are created equally. Condoms vary in base width, tip width, length and thickness, sometimes greatly and sometimes minutely. Since the biggest complaint I hear about condoms are “I don’t feel anything”, followed closely by “they are way too tight/loose/baggy/chafing” I thought it was high time I look into the matter, to hopefully shed some (red) light onto the subject.
(This is a note to say that I’ll only be looking at condoms available in the US. I’ve found out that Europe has 93 different sizes of condoms! I’ll bring back one of their sample packs when I go to Europe this summer!)
So, let’s begin!
My favorite brand, Durex, is first up on the testing block. Durex offers a wide range of condoms, from “standard” latex, to extended pleasure, to “snug” fit, and so on. For this little demo I’ll only be bringing in my personal favorites (and one that I think needs talked about).
Measurements were found on www.Condom-Sizes.ORG or the brand’s own website. Note that the “base” measurement is referencing the base of the condom, while the “head” measurement is referencing the circumference at the widest part of the head of the condom. These sizes (if you care to measure yourself) should help with proper fitting.
And remember, dear readers, that the LENGTH of a condom is far less important their the WIDTH. Condoms will stretch to a point, but they stretch much further in length than in width. If you are having troubles, consider trying a condom with a wider base!
“Standard” Condoms: These condoms should be perfect for those “regular” guys. Not sure if you are “regular”? According to HuffPo (shut up), a study of over 1,000 men revealed that the average American penis is 5.6″/14.2cm long and 4.8″/12.2cm wide (circumference). Any “standard” condom will vary slightly in width, length and thickness, however, so don’t feel like you have to stick with what you currently use.
The Extra Sensitive condom is lubricated, with a reservoir tip, and smooth (as in no ribbing or studded) sides.
Width: 2.04″/52 mm
Head Width: 2.13″/54mm
This is one of my favorites because is it so THIN! I once won a bet with a friend, she didn’t believe that a thinner condom could withstand the same friction and overuse as a standard condom. I whipped one of these babies out, put it over my hand (which is much bigger than ANY man could be) and started rubbing it. The lubrication held up like a champ, and it was only after I’d rubbed off all the lube that I finally snapped the thing. Lubrication is so important with condoms of any size or thickness, it’s really a saving feature.
This USED to be my favorite condom, until they decided to switch from non-latex polyisoprene to plain, old latex. The upshot is they kept it thin, thin, thin, soft and smooth, and that dreadful latex smell and taste is almost non-existent. Thinnest condom I’ve found, and with a tiny drop of lubricant into the reservoir tip before applying can make the experience feel down right… well, bare!
Crown “Skinless Skin” Condoms (note: link goes to outside buying source as I couldn’t find this brand on the manufacturers website)
These are probably my second favorite after Durex Avanti. They are made by a very respected Japanese company, Okamoto (www.okamoto-condoms.sg) and use a very special kind of latex. They also carry non-latex condoms, but I’ve never tried them. One of their very nifty features (other than being the preferred condom for porn shoots) is that they are tinted pink! They are very proud of their “bareback” feeling the condoms give, and to be honest with you, they aren’t far off from the truth!
Head Width: 2.08″/53mm
Base Width: 2.08″/53mm
“Snug Fit” Condoms The following are condoms that are purported to have a snugger fit, either at the base, through the shaft, or both. Almost no condoms narrow at the tip, as there has to be room for the resulting ejaculate at the end, AND a roomier head area offers up more sensation, better sensitivity, and hopefully a more enjoyable experience.
Before you get all nervous about buying said “snug fit” condoms at your favorite sex store, realize that there are a large number of men who’s penises actually get thicker in the shaft, while the base is relatively smaller. Snug fit condoms can help with slippage in these circumstances. There are also men who are smaller than “average” and these condoms will give those men more confidence, as no one likes worrying about a slipping condom. Lastly, there are “average” to “above average” sized men who like to use snug fit condoms for the same reason some men wear tight jeans; they like the tight feel and don’t give a damn what other people think! Keep in mind, the base of a condom shouldn’t hurt you. If it leaves an impression on your penis or if you feel as if you are wearing a constrictive device (and that ISN’T something you already wanted) remove it, find a wider based condom, don’t continue to injure yourself. I don’t need to tell you the horror stories of what lack of blood flow (and “stuck” blood) can do to a penis.
Latex condoms with water lubricant and Aloe, designed to prevent irritation and relieve women’s discomfort. These condoms are tinted green, which can sort of freak out a girl on the first try. These aren’t a favorite of mine, but I know enough women who complain of irritation due to condom friction that this might be a good bet. These are made by the same people who make Crown, which speaks to their quality. If you have a “green” mentality, these can make you feel like you are using more natural products, without worrying about transmission of STDs and/or pregnancy.
Width: 2″/ 50.8mm
This poor brand gets a little flack, since ‘kimono’ makes one think of the Japanese, and to that old canard about how all Asian men have small penises. While the base of these condoms are a little smaller than “standard”, they seem to work well for both slightly smaller and average sized gentlemen. These condoms get consistently good reviews, ratings, and feedback, and their “hydro” version with water-based “aqua” lubricant is especially nice. And, they come in very pretty colorful packages, which really makes this Mag Pie happy!
As a general rule I dislike the Lifestyle brand. I find them difficult to unroll, their packaging seems needlessly durable (as you really want to just RIP OPEN a package and go, go, go!) and I am just not a fan of rainbow-color condoms. However, they are one of the most ubiquitous condom brands around, usually the brand being handed out at free clinics and sex clubs. Since I’ve heard good things, and since they are SO prolific you might not have a good choice, I list them here.
Width: 1.75″/ 44,5 mm (below head)
Base width: 1.92″/ 49mm
Length: 7″/178 mm
Thickness: 0.0027″/ 0.07mm
“Magnum” or “Larger Fit” Condoms Firstly, let me reiterate that the width of the condom matters much more than the length, and sadly, most “large” condoms just add length without addressing the width issue. I have wasted more money than I care to mention on what I thought would fit my more endowed gentlemen only to find ourselves twiddling our thumbs because condom companies can’t seem to create a well-crafted XL condom. However, there are exceptions, as there always are, and those are the following.
Once again, I bring out the Lifestyles. This is a larger version of the non-latex “Skyn” condom that I seem to detest so much. I really appreciate this particular condom because it is one of the only “large” non-latex condom. I’ve never had an issue with these when I’ve had the occasion to use them, and I have many a girlfriend who likes these.
Length: 7.87″/200 mm
Width: 2.20″/56 mm
Thickness: 0.0028″/0,07 mm
You will notice the lack of Trojan brand condoms on this list. I usually don’t like them. My opinion is slowly changing, as I’ve been testing out their newer, considerably larger collection of condoms, but I don’t feel confident enough yet to sing their praises. I do, however, make the exception for the Trojan XL. While the regular “Magnum” is a joke, it’s far too long with no change in base width, this one is their largest condom in their collection and it really does offer the comfort a larger man would need. They DO have a tendency to break, I’ve noticed, seemingly regardless of lubricant. So I’d use caution until you figure out how you work with them.
Head width: 2.56″/65mm
And again with Kimono! All the good things I’ve said already still apply, with the caveat that these are more suited for the slightly above average man.
Head width: 2.34″/59.5mm
What can I say, I’m a Durex whore. You would think that I’d be getting a kick back for all the promotion I’ve done for them, but sadly they seem completely unaware of my love affair with them. Perhaps it’s for the best, I’ve discovered that one should never meet their heroes, and I extend that out to one should never meet their high-pillared centers of affection.
Nominal width: 2.24″/57mm
OK class, have we all learned something today? I hope so! If you are curious as to why I’ve decided to write this article now, it’s because I’ve recently been offering the use of female condoms for my tryst-makers, and that got me thinking on types of condoms and why some women (and men) swear by one brand or the other. The curious nature of the condom, the offer of the Gates Foundation of a lot of money for someone to invent a better condom, the insanely, pointlessly expensive quality testing procedures that keep non-latex materials inaccessible, all of these were floating through my mind. So, as is my wont, I decided to write a bit about it and hopefully get some knowledge out there.