Author Archives: Lara

Lara_Profile_Pic_Condom_hot

About Lara

I am co-founder and contributor at Condom Monologues, specializing in queer approaches that aim to affirm sexuality. My graduate work includes digital storytelling research with feminist organizations at the American University in Cairo. I am in a loving relationship. I prefer traveling over settling. I sneeze whenever I eat dark chocolate.

#TwitterWTF? Let’s change their condom stance

Social businesses who exists to normalize and improve public knowledge of safer sex are not allowed to extend their messages on Twitter.

Twitter’s ad policy is under pressure to change their convoluted and conservative stance against condom (and other contraception) promotion.

This week, Melissa White, founder and CEO of Lucky Bloke, sent a letter to Twitter owner Dick Costolo, urging him to take condoms off their blacklist. She also launched a petition for the public to get on board in ending this faulty policy.

This is the tweet that got Lucky Bloke kicked off the @TwitterAds program because it was deemed too sexually explicit. tweet-censored1

This hardly seems too sexual for daytime viewers! Twitter would not respond to White’s requests for more information. That was it. Her safer sex promotion went on complete lock down.

Unfortunately, we live in a time in which the clutches of puritanical fears continue to muffle public discourse around safer sex. Why haven’t we shaken this off by now?

#Tweet4Condoms because sexual care is health care and global health! http://bit.ly/LBpetition

We know that access to condoms does not entice young people to start fucking in locker rooms. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics- a very official authority on health) released a position statement last October arguing that condoms should be made available in public schools and other community venues. With the backing of numerous studies, they firmly state that access to condoms does not cause sex. To be clear, it increasing the chances of young adults practicing safer sex. In fact, as Amanda Marcotte reports, nearly half of the studies cited by the AAP show that kids who have access to condoms and condom education have sex later than kids who do not have access.

So what does this have to do with Twitter? Their block on condom advertising and messaging stems from this cultural shame we’ve constructed around sex. Consequently, instead of being a platform to discuss and support safer sex messaging, Twitter reinforces stigma of condoms usage.

[UPDATE: More sexual health businesses and organization have spoken out about their struggle with Twitter's policy, including The STD Project and Bedsider]

Lucky Bloke isn’t alone of course, as Twiter’s blockade is far-reaching and unconditional. The company Momdoms explained that their custom product for condom storage has also been deemed “too x-rated”, making it virtually impossible for Momdoms to share their videos and promotions to a wider audience. They showed Condom Monologues a copy of Twitter’s notification. It’s the same message Lucky Bloke received: “Your company is ineligible.”

Join Us!
stop_censorship1

Let’s show Twitter that condoms are perfectly normal, lovable item, and essential health items. Not something to exclude from public space! Visit this Action Page to share images, tweets, and links to your friends and networks.

How Young Gay Men Are Changing the Meaning of Swag

The term “swag” is generally used to describe someone of confidence and respect. A group of young guys from ASCNYC’s mPowerment program have revamped this meaning to make people recognize that taking care of your sexual health is fundamental to respect. This post is about S.W.A.G.

Members of S.W.A.G.

SWAG guys making safer sex sexy, handing out condoms and lube and talking to folks about knowing their HIV status.

Sitting in a New York bar or night club you may be lucky enough to chance upon the lively SWAG Mpowerment - a group of 19 – 29 year old gay and bisexual guys who are on a mission to normalize HIV prevention and safer sex. They jump bar to bar in a sort of flash-mob way, passing out condoms, lubes and information pamphlets about HIV testing. You might even get a free candy.

“It’s a really effective way to get condoms out there,” says Lance, one of the members of SWAG. “Sometimes people will be really curious and ask questions and that starts a dialogue which can lead to a person in another day or two getting tested at the agency.”

That agency is the ASCNYC which initiated SWAG Mpowerment five years ago as part of their outreach to reduce HIV transmission among YMSMs (Young Men who Have Sex with Men). Young gay and bisexual men between the ages of 13 – 24 are the hardest hit by new infections in the United States today.

What’s different about SWAG- which stands for “Sexy With A Goal”- is that, instead of focusing solely on individual risk behavior, the project addresses wider interpersonal and social issues identified by the group volunteers and coordinators themselves; issues like asserting safer sex, self-esteem, homelessness, racism, homophobia, education and employment pressures. All aspects which directly and indirectly impact young gay men’s abilities to consistently know their status and take care of their sexual health. As Guy Williams, Assistant Director of Prevention at ACSNYC explains, “SWAG is like family for a lot of the guys because they can’t really be themselves around other family and friends” due to deeply rooted stigma of being gay. SWAG is a safe sex-positive and fun space for these young men to forge meaningful friendships and take on community issues that impact them most.

Over our phone interview, Williams explained that their condom distribution strategy came about through a series of rejections by bar and club owners who didn’t like SWAG’s proposal to set up an information table in the bar and hand out condoms to patrons. “Many bar owners said ‘Nah, that will kill the mood because patrons come in to have a good time. They don’t want to talk about HIV,” Williams describes. “So what SWAG decided was, well, if we just run into clubs and bars quickly and just hand out condom packs and leave than we didn’t need the owner’s permission.”

This is just one of their many project activities. Along with weekly meet ups and educational outreach, SWAG members organize pro-gay events ranging from talent shows to more serious affairs like taking on New York State congress by speaking with policy makers about the dire need for funding to support young gay men. SWAG has also produced this “Why Safer Sex Is Sexy” video.

Throughout June, which is Gay Pride Month, SWAG is launching a weekly event series titled “The 50 Shade of Gay”. Gay porn stars will come in and talk with young men about HIV prevention in the porn industry, such as HIV testing practices, safer sex negotiation, and “sero-sorting” they face in the industry. They’re also launching a video in June that crushes one-dimensional gay stereotypes. Members will tell and represent their own stories of what it means to be gay and share their video across the internet.

As William explains, SWAG Mpowerment is about addressing HIV status, testing and prevention, but “doing it in non-traditional ways that are not always talking about HIV. That’s why we are always trying to do fun and inventive stuff to support each other.”

SWAG is always open to new members and volunteers. They are also searching for volunteer sex educators who have experience teaching and demonstrating condom usage. They meet Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays between 4:30 and 6:30 at 85 University Place, 5th floor, New york, NYC, 10003. For more information, contact Guy Williams [email protected]

Shout out! New Collaborations in HIV Advocacy

New relationships of advocacy are vamped. Lara, an editor of Condom Monologues, explains what’s in store to help creatively support the HIV Disclosure Project.

Gay Pride, Toronto, 2011. Photographer Wayne Bristow. Posted with permission.

Gay Pride, Toronto, 2011. Photographer Wayne Bristow. Posted with permission.

Hi there! As an editor at Condom Monologues writer’s collective, I am excited to announce my collaboration with the HIV Disclosure Project. I will be actively involved in their social media, mostly on Twitter (@sexpartnersHIV), helping promote their blog, their campaigns and continued dialogue with HIV networks and allies. I’ve teamed up with them because I fully support their work to re-frame the way HIV impacts interpersonal relationships.

The HIV Disclosure Project is

…designed by and for the HIV community to work through obstacles that prevent people living with HIV from disclosing their status to potential sex partners. Drawing from various tools in theater, humor, storytelling, photography and more, the project functions to address stigma that takes place on the dating scene. Everyone works together to educate the public and change perceptions of people living with HIV.

What we want is a world in which every HIV disclosure to sex partners is received with acceptance, understanding and tolerance.

Emphasis on story and lived experience is what bridges The Disclosure Project and Condom Monologues. Condom Monologues is a growing archive of personal narratives and story illustrations made collaboratively with the storyteller and graphic artists. As a collective dedicated to sex education through real life storytelling, I feel this partnership will sharpen Condom Monologues’ focus on HIV awareness and open our platform to respectfully listen to the concrete realities of managing stigma, disclosure in the dating scene, and navigating safer sex options without fear.

Watch Out For New HIV Public Messages

Also newly on board the HIV Disclosure Project is Wayne Bristow - HIV advocate, blogger for PositiveLite.com, Canada’s best online HIV information magazine and he is their social media coordinator. He has taken part in two of the CTAC Positive Sex – Train the Trainer workshops and recently facilitated one where he trained some of his peers through community engagement. Emanating such passion and advocate spirit, Wayne is an invaluable asset to the HIV Disclosure Project. He is currently planning the video production of HIV public service announcements for the HIV Disclosure Project. In his spare time Wayne is a hobby/freestyle photographer.

If you are interested or have questions about the video project contact [email protected] 

I am excited to help support and engage in such a crucial and progressive movement. Let’s keep the dialogue expansive and inclusive. Meet you on twitter!

Lara
Editor & contributor @CondomMonologues.com

How Many Times Can You Change A Condom To Latex Free?

Well, if you are Durex Avanti you can be transformed at least three times.

As the world’s most widely distributed condom brand, Durex have a lot of strings to their pleasure bow: offering consumers an abundance of various shapes, textures, lubes and sex accessories to choose from. When it comes to latex free options, however, the company puts the onus on just one condom, yet even this single choice is not without confusion. Durex Avanti, previously the name of their latex-free rubber, is in fact a latex condom. The non-latex option has been recently rebranded Avanti Bare Real Feel™. In fact, this latex-free option has been through a few rebranding rotations. DurexNonLatexArticle

In 2008, it was replaced from being made of polyurethane to synthetic polyisoprene. Polyurethane is a type of soft plastic; polyisoprene is the latest latex-free technology, chemically similar to rubber latex but without the proteins that cause allergic reactions (see our article about the differences). In Europe, the product’s current name is simply, and explicitly, “Latex Free”. The North America version, however, is not so straight forward.

Michael Gesek, from Durex Consumer Relations Canada, explained to Condom Monologues, that when multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser took over Durex in 2011 they lost supply of the materials to make Avanti Bare and thus it was discontinued in North America. Recently the polyisoprene product was secured again and is renamed Avanti Bare Real Feel. Besides the (longer) new name, nothing is different about this new polyisoprene rubber. It’s now rolling out on store shelves.

However, few consumers know that Durex did not offer latex-free condoms for a period in the midst of company turn over. In fact, Avanti Bare went from being made of polyisoprene to becoming just a standard latex condom. Yet despite this very dramatic product change, Durex kept the name and package similar to the latex free version- as if condom shopping isn’t confusing already!

As expressed by Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, this move was irresponsible and “a major packaging fail!” In response, Lucky Bloke listed a consumer warning on their site. It’s unclear what Durex’s strategy was for informing the public about this change. One may assume that when Durex lost supply of the polyisoprene condom, they may have sent a notice to selective distributors with the expectation that sellers would inform consumers. To the best of her knowledge, Melissa White does not recall any advanced warning from Durex.

So, please be aware that Durex does offer a latex-free condom now, just make sure not to pick up the former Avanti Bare and read packaging extra carefully!

This article is meant to clear up confusion around Durex’s non-latex options. We include a link to our affiliates at Lucky Bloke which may earn us a small commission.

Why We Should Stop Using Fruits & Veg in SexEd

The banana (or cucumber) penis prop in sex education has got to go. I think it’s an outdated euphemism that helps adults (not young people) feel more comfortable talking about sexuality. Shyfully skirting topics only reinforces the mechanisms of shame around sex. It creates an environment in which certain question can’t be addressed. Hence ignorance perpetuates. At it’s core, the banana is a symbol of non-pragmatic, fear-based sex education.

Character 'Jonah Takalua' from Summer Heights High getting schooled in sex "practicalities".

Character ‘Jonah Takalua’ from Summer Heights High getting schooled in sex “practicalities”.

Like so many Americans, my sex education in high school was minimal. It was covered only once in the entire four years during a single, out-of-the-blue gym class. Topics were rushed and general. Looking back, I realize how heterocentric and cis-genedered sex ed was simply by the way information was presented and what was intentionally absent. How to use a condom, however, is the most vivid lesson I remember.

Us 14 – 15 year old boys and girls were instructed to sit on the basketball court floor and watch our gym teacher (a bleach-blond nutritionist who always wore L.L. Bean fleeces) pull out a single condom and banana from her canvas sports bag. “Now, who will volunteer to help me put this on?” She cheerfully asked us.

Of course, no one raised their hand so she picked the student who was talking under his breath to another student. “Brad, come on up and show the class how to use a condom.”

This was discipline.

Brad stood in front of the class with a grin and demonstrated how to open the condom wrapper. He handed the wrapper to the teacher in exchange for the banana. Then holding fruit in one hand and latex in the other, he placed the condom over the top and vigorously struggled to pull it down the, um, shaft.

“No no no!” blurted the gym teacher. “You’re skipping a very important step. You must make sure not to trap air in the top hat.”

Top hat?

Brad struggled trying to simultaneously pitch the tip and roll the condom down one-handedly. “Here, let me help you.” The teacher reached for the banana’s shaft and said, “You hold the hat while I roll,” and started to inch down the condom.

The awkwardness and humor of it all distracted me from actually understanding how to put on a condom. If anything, it seemed far more complicated because it required more than two hands.

How about suggesting to practice by one’s self? To masturbate with a condom? Or discuss ways partners can put condoms on together? Or ways to negotiate condom use? Or the variety of condom options that are out there?

Practical, matter of fact approaches are much more effective at equipping young people to make informed choices.

I think a penis or dildo model should be used instead of these foody phallics. Moreover, a dildo is great for including information about queer safer sex and toy sharing. Condom use does not only apply to penis!

The plastic penis prop by Justin Hancock of Bish Training is a stellar example of condom instructions for the real world.

Penis models are so less awkward.

Penis models are so less awkward.

Watch Bish Training’s condom use here.

How were you taught condom usage? What props were featured in your sex education (if any!)?

STI vs STD: Is it important?

The term “STD” (sexually transmitted disease) is increasingly replaced by “STI” (sexually transmitted infections). Is this change (which started as early as the late 1990s) a matter of political correctness? An effort to reduce stigma affiliated with disease? Or are there real distinctions between infection and disease, hence adopting a more medically accurate term?

The correct answer: all of the above.

In the days before "STDs" there was only "venereal disease", and sex workers were the culprits. Image from the DailyMail.co.uk

In the days before “STDs” there was only “venereal diseases”, and sex workers were the culprits. Image from the DailyMail.co.uk

Medical Jargon

Usage can be confusing because the medical distinctions between infection, illness, disorder and disease often overlap. In general, however, “infection” is only considered an illness or disease when symptoms occur. Many sexually transmitted bacteria and viruses are contagious without causing symptoms (or may have asymptomatic periods). Just a handful of these include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes simplex, HPV, hepatitis and HIV.

Most STIs are treatable. Some strands of HPV can be wiped out by the immune system alone (but not always). But some STIs are not curable, like herpes and HIV (as of today). Contrary to popular confusion, it is not correct to differentiate STIs as “curable” and STDs as “incurable”.

The major distinction is that all STDs are caused by infections. However, not all infections develop into illness or disease. Also, a disease is always associated with symptoms; an infection is not so consistent.

Does this mean it’s wrong to use “STD” in the twenty first century? I would argue no. In many instances, STI and STD are used interchangeably and refer to the same thing.

Why I Say “STI”

I think it boils down to semantics and meaning. Some people feel that dropping the word “disease” only reinforces stigma. Why not just face the fear head on? The more we speak of “disease” the more normalized it becomes, right? Well, not necessarily. “STD” eventually replaced the more euphemistic term “venereal disease” by the 1980s, yet stigma firmly remains.

Personally, I prefer the term STI for two reasons. Firstly, “STI” is a broader term thus more inclusive. Secondly, using the term STI helps raise awareness that physical symptoms are not a reliable way to determine your status. A person can be infected with no symptoms and pass on the infection to others without having a disease.

Serious point here: According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people who are living with HIV today in the United States do not know their status (CDC 2013). In fact, people who do not experience symptoms and/or are not tested are the ones most likely to pass on infection to others. There are serious consequences when STIs are left unknown and untreated. It increases the risk of infection for other STIs and disease. In short, ignorance (RE: stigma) of getting tested and assuming you won’t get an STI is the greatest cause of infection.

Resources: Here are just a few smart spaces we recommend to learn more about STIs and prevention, stigma and facts. Visit Planned ParenthoodThe STD Project, the SexEd Library, the NMAC (National Minority AIDS Council), the Guttmacher Institute, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

The fabulous sex educator, Andrea Renae (@theandrearenae), recommends the Judgement Free Health Care Providers directory, which is inclusive of LGBT and Queer people, Asexuals, Demisexuals, Polyamorous relationships, sex workers and people living with HIV. There is also the safer sex video Pleasure Rush initiative (NSFW) by GALAEI.

Ask questions on the InformedAboutSex forum.

Specifically for teens and young adults: Scarleteen, GYT (GetYourSelfTested) and Laci Green.

Gwenn’s Condom Research and Personal Use

There’s been a lot of talk in the past 12 months about women’s preferred contraceptive methods. With the coining of the “Pull Out Generation” and the launch of the ACA’s (Affordable Care Act) contraception mandate, much of this talk has been centered around birth control. This is an important discussion that pleases many sex educators: it’s about applying informed choices to people’s lifestyles and relationships, and determining the method that best suits that person’s circumstances.

However, hardly any time in this discussion has attended to those women who use the simple condom as their primary contraception. Even less attention is given to STI testing and prevention. These important topics have been swept aside and treated as a separate issue that seemingly doesn’t apply to long-term sexual relationships.

I spoke with a woman who fits within that cohort of condom-using relationships. Gwenn Barringer is part of the well known sexual health and HIV activist duo, Shawn and Gwenn. Gwenn wrote her Master’s thesis about condom usage in short term and long term relationships among college women.  Now she is a public speaker and vlogger busy busting HIV ignorance. Her approach?  Using her 15+ years sexual relationship with her HIV positive partner, Shawn, to teach others about sexual health.

Over email, we talked about Gwenn’s research findings on the likelihood of condom use in “trusting” relationships. We connected her thesis to her personal life and the contraception strategies that she’s chosen. First, Gwenn lays out the terms of her research and main findings:

Yes, Gwenn found that women in shorter relationships depended on condoms more than women in long term commitments. This wasn’t a big surprise. What was striking was deciphering the meaning of “short” and “long-term”.  Gwenn states, “I found across the literature that a short term relationship was defined as 3 weeks or less, and therefore a long term relationship was defined as more than 3 weeks. This is what I used in my study to define relationship length, so when we are talking about condom use being decreased in long tern relationships, we are talking about a month or so.”

Gwenn continues: “My findings had a lot to do with the vague notion of trust. Women felt like they trusted their partners at the magic 3 week mark. I wish I had more time back then to go further with the trust notion but that was beyond my scope at the time. I do find anecdotally that college women feel that time spent with a partner equates to trust. And while I understand this, I try to encourage STI testing as a trusting experience.”

Gwen makes a key point- notions of trust and sexual health are intrinsically linked. This is a fairly general statement because what “trust” actually means varies from person to person. But all contraceptive methods- all consensual sexual acts -involve degrees of trust. “Pulling out” relies on a partner to be in control of his climax. Condoms are also about partner cooperation and protecting each other.

However, when it comes to public discourse around birth control in long term (heterosexual) commitments, male condoms are often portrayed as unpopular. In fact, some people struggle with getting their partner to use a condom because the other views it as a symbol of distrust in their relationship. Gwenn responds to this contradiction:

“As far as my thoughts on the condom paradox of trust, I do think that is an interesting observation. I feel like it has to do with trust but also has a lot to do with breaking some fantasies that people have about new partners. When you are in a new relationship often times it seems like everything is perfect and magical. Thinking about or discussing a condom inserts the realities of life into that which isn’t always fun.”

We ended the interview by Gwenn reflecting on the prevention regime Shawn and her practice. She is quick to debunk the notion that condoms connote distrust and non-commitment.

“My own relationship has an incredible deal of trust. I don’t think you can really be in a healthy relationship without trust and I certainly don’t think you can be in a serodiscordant relationship without a great deal of trust. That trust for Shawn and I came out of much communication about sex before we ever had sex.”

“Our prevention strategy is condoms each time we have sex. When we first were together, I was also on hormonal birth control but discontinued that (for reasons not related to Shawn’s status or our sex life) about 6 years ago. So we are also using condoms at this point as pregnancy prevention as well. We have discussed the issue of Shawn’s “infectiousness” due to his undetectable viral load and while we haven’t made any major changes to our sex life because of that, we do feel another level of security because we know it would be highly unlikely for him to transmit HIV to me even if there were a break or slip.”

There is no single birth control that suits everyone.  However, condoms remain the only birth control that prevents STI infection. The issue of transmission should not be glossed over when discussing contraceptive methods. Furthermore, the conversation needs to include and represent serodiscordant couples and relationships in which both or one partner carries STIs.

You can read and watch more of Gwenn at her blog and YouTube Channel, Shawn and Gwenn.

Understanding Consent

Follow @Condommonologue and @Radsexpdx

To share this poster, simply copy the HTML embed code below and paste into your blog post, tumblr or anywhere else that uses html:

Let us know how and where you share the poster and we’ll swing by.

This poster is inspired by one of the most progressive pieces on consent yet. “The Consent Post” by Elena Kate exposes the inherent problems of the “No means No” approach and re-frames consent as “Yes means Yes”. What’s more, she goes beyond simple definitions by acknowledging nuances and complexity. It is contrary to what most sex education programs teach (if consent is mentioned at all!); consent is not a single uniform act of permission. Elena writes that consent is an on-going, “cooperative investigation of options, and a careful, considerate selection that is approved and preferred by all parties involved”.

What do you think?

Check out more illustrations by the Condom Monologues collective!

3 Tips for Decoding Condom Size

A guide to understanding how to convert penis size for best condom width.

Knowing condom size is one thing.  Knowing what size best fits is another. Condom shopping is a daunting task no thanks to marketing gimmicks. Even looking past the clutter of overused adjectives like “thinnest” and “most sensitive”, you still need to decode the actual size dimensions (if they are labeled at all!).

Companies typically report the condom width only.  This is determined by laying the condom flat, so it does not match penis circumference.  So how are you sure that this one-dimensional measure will match your three-dimensional penis?

It’s not like you can take a box of condoms to the changing room and try one on before you buy.
HowManyBoxOf3

One blogger has taken on this condom conundrum by collecting numerous studies. “Alex”, the creator of Condom Sizes & Facts, is not an expert, but he has organized findings from various scientific surveys to allow readers come to their own conclusions about condom sizing. We got the opportunity to ask Alex about some of his personal conclusions.

He breaks down three things you need the know about average penis size surveys before you start believing that you are abnormal, and he gives pointers to keep in mind when condom shopping.  Also, he fine tunes the magic number 2.25 from our formula:

Penis girth / 2.25 = approx condom width

We begin with republishing this data from his blog. The table matches penis to condom size. From this data, you may understand why an “average” size man may fit a magnum condom. These numbers are approximate guides from the research on Alex’s blog. Fitting may vary depending on condom elasticity and personal preference. Affiliate links within. 

Penis Girth to Condom Width Chart

Penis Girth
Condom Width
Penis Girth
Condom Width
e.g. Major Brand Condoms
InchesMilimeters
3.70 - 4.131.8594 - 10547-
4.14 - 4.331.85 - 1.97106 - 11047 - 49LifeStyles Snugger Fit, Caution Wear Iron Grip, Durex Enhanced Pleasure
4.34 - 4.531.93 - 1.97111 - 11549 - 51Glyde Slim Fit, LifeStyles 3SUM, RFSU Mamba, Beyond Seven
4.54 - 4.721.97 - 2.09115 - 12050 - 53LifeStyles Ultra Sensitive, Kimono MicroThin, Beyond Seven Studded
4.73 - 4.922.05 - 2.17121 - 12552 - 55LifeStyles SKYN, Trojan BareSkin, Durex Love
4.93 - 5.122.13 - 2.24126 - 13054 - 57Trojan Magnum, LifeStyles KYNG, LifeStyles SKYN Large, RFSU Grande
5.13 - 5.312.20 - 2.36130 - 13557 - 60Glyde Maxi, ONE The Legend, Magnum XL
5.52 - 5.912.36 - 2.52141 - 15060 - 64
> 5.912.72>15069Trojan Naturalamb, FC2 internal condom

View the original table which also explains the research behind these figures. To view more condom size, check out our condom size calculator.

Condom Monologues: First of all, how would you like to be credited?

Alex from Condom Sizes and Facts: That’s a perfect first question. I don’t want to be credited because I am not an expert. Data I have collected are public and I did not produce them. I barely used them to make my opinion and decided to share it.

CM: In your investigation into penis size, you explain that very few studies sponsored by condom companies actually produce sound scientific data. In fact, average penis size may be smaller and more varied than companies have previously reported. Please cite which penis size survey(s) you trust the most and why?

CSF: First I would like to be perfectly clear: penis size is not interesting “per se”, especially length, which is what most people mean when talking about size. You have 3 kinds of studies:

1) self-reported measurements: men report their penile dimensions. The averages are typically 15.6–16.6 cm for length and 12.2–13.6 cm for girth.

Examples: Kinsey study, Internet survey by Richard Edwards, Durex survey.
These studies are of poor interest and rather have readers feel inadequate due to the somewhat high over-estimates.

2) pharmacological measurements: measurements are conducted by researchers , either directly or by men after a proper training. The averages are typically 12.9–14.5 cm for length and 11.9–12.3 cm for girth.

They are of great value, but one needs to get the whole article to judge the quality: some have been performed on men with erectile dysfunctions, some use a very small sample, where representation is heavily questioned, methods of measurements often vary (base, mid-points, under the glans, “bone pressed” or not), or the measurement itself is different (width, circumference, and mode of erection).

The Wessells and the Schneider studies are very good examples.

3) The last kind is a hybrid between a) and b). These are the self-reported studies where:
the sample has been carefully selected (or big enough to cancel the possible bias),
a harmonized measurement method is clearly explained to ensure standard practices and avoid inconsistencies, men are motivated to measure their penis carefully and to report accurate data.

The averages are typically 13–14.2cm for length and 12–12.2 cm for girth.

The Herbernick and TheyFit studies are good examples. Their values reside in the huge samples from which they get the data.

There is no survey I trust the most. Rather, it is the consistency through the various serious surveys which should be trusted.

CM: In order to determine proper condom width, would you recommend dividing penis circumference by 2.25? How do you arrive at this approximation? And what do people need to consider about elasticity?

CSF: Actually, researchers (Gerofi for example) have come to the conclusion that a condom should be stretched about 10 to 20%. This, translated in ratio between penis circumference and condom width gives a 2.2 (10%) to 2.4 (20%) division factor.

2.25 represent a 12.5% condom stretch. And to be perfectly honest, it is only my personal taste, with my preferred condom brand. I really don’t like condoms fitting too snugly, but I do want a minimum grip to ensure safety.

The above values are calculated from an average elasticity, one has to know that it is the consequence of 1) condom thickness and 2) latex recipe.

You may not know these parameters when buying a condom. But be sure they do vary a lot between brands and condom types because companies use different ingredients. For example: TheyFit recommends a 2.37 dividing factor for its condoms.

The most important thing to understand is that you can use these figures as a guidance, but be sure to do your own research and trials. Real experience should always be the deciding factor.

CM: What is the most surprising thing you’ve come across in your penis-condom size research?

CSF: Two things: Condom latex recipes change drastically and thus vary condom elasticity.

Second, like many men, I discovered late that the fitting problems I was experiencing were not “normal” (not just something I had to put up with) nor a consequence of an inadequate technique. I was truly surprised the first time I changed my condom size and discovered what a good fit could mean: no more anxiety, all gone in one breath!

Have comments? Questions? Still not sure what condoms will fit? Leave a note below or message us on FB or Twitter.

We Now Have a Condom Calculator!

That’s right. The overcrowded matrix of condom dimesions has been hacked and neatly reorganized by our techy team. Located in the top menu of our Home page under “Condom “Sizes”. This nifty tool allows you to custom search size, material, flavors, brands, etc., across 100 hundred condoms all in one place.  It’s an upgrade from our archaic condom size charts in which you need to scrool lists and lists of products. The calculator does the searching for you and helps you pinpoint your preferences. Give it and try and let us know what you think! Updates and improvements are never ending. Go to the Condom Size Calculator.  CMRuler-803px-withtext