The Long Hard Truth About Extra Large Condoms

man-with-giant-condom-packCondom makers would love to have you think that their “extra large” condoms are significantly larger than regular sized ones. Of course, every man wants to feel more manly and that he measures up well against his peers. So condom companies come out with condoms that are just slightly larger than their standard product line and package these as “large” sized in order to entice their male customers to buy more of their products.

They play a game with the consumer using marketing tricks, but the condom makers aren’t totally to blame for this problem. Their hands are tied by the FDA which has imposed legal limits on the sizes of condoms that can be sold in the US. The reasons for this are two-fold. On the one hand, condoms need to pass tests using standardized testing equipment. And for some reason the FDA didn’t have the foresight to employ testing equipment that can accommodate condom widths suitable for the 10% of the population with the largest penis circumferences.

On the other hand, they probably don’t trust men with average sized penises to stick to buying regular sized condoms. In this regard, us men are idiots. We all want to think we’re bigger than the next guy, so we’ll insist on using “large” sized condoms even if a regular sized one is a good fit.

How Much Bigger Are Extra Large Condoms?

So the truth of the matter is that extra large condoms are made for average sized men. They just simply aren’t that much bigger. I got the idea to start this website from my own frustration with trying to find condoms that were wide enough. I wanted to find a size that would fit and put together a size chart to help other guys who had the same problem. Even the largest size I could find in the store was uncomfortable to wear. I’m not hung like a porn star or anything, so I was wondering what the problem was. It turns out that the available range of sizes doesn’t really have me covered.

The range of nominal widths for condoms that can legally be sold in the US is 47-57mm. How big is that? The nominal width is a flat width, which works out to half of the circumference of the condom when not stretched at all. So that makes a circumference of between 94-114mm allowed.

A condom needs to stretch a little in order to fit the wearer securely, but too much stretch and it becomes uncomfortable and more likely to break. The ideal amount of stretch required is around 10%. So if we add an extra 10% to the un-stretched condom circumference, we arrive at a range of 103.4-125.4mm for the actual erect penis circumference that condoms are made to fit. If the metric system makes your head spin, this works out to approximately 4-4.9 inches.

So what does this mean for any guy whose penis circumference is 5 inches or greater? He’s out of luck and forced to squeeze into an ill-fitting condom (unless he orders a truly wider condom from outside the country) .

Consider this—about 5% of the male population in the US has a penis circumference of 5.5 inches (140mm) or greater. These guys should be wearing a condom with a nominal width of at least 63mm, but the largest available is 57mm. The Trojan Magnum is not even made to the maximum width possible, it’s only 54mm. Even more amazingly, the Trojan Magnum XL is still shy of the maximum allowable width at 56mm.

The Trojan Magnum Ribbed and Magnum Thin are actually the two widest latex condoms you can find in the US, with nominal widths of 57mm. This is still well short of the 63mm that would be ideal if you happen to have a girth of 5.5 inches, but on the plus side the Magnum line is shaped with more room at the head, so you may still find them significantly more comfortable to wear.

The extra large condoms made by some other companies are even smaller. For example, Lifestyles KYNG line has a nominal width of only 51mm, making them smaller than a regular sized Trojan. Kimono MAXX are the same 51mm wide.

Just how ridiculous is the situation with condom sizes? To put things in perspective, this would be like as if women’s bra sizes were limited to A-cup and B-cup only, and then labeling B-cup as a “large” sized bra. Yes, condoms are more elastic than bras, but can you imagine if every woman with Double-D sized breasts was forced to squeeze them into a latex bra with B sized cups? It is unthinkable, but that is exactly what guys with a large girth are expected to do.

2 Big Problems with Condom Sizes

xl-condom cartoonCondom sizes are an important factor when it comes to enjoying safe sex. As many men have found out, getting the right size can make all the difference in their love life. Unfortunately for some of us, there are two problems that make it difficult to find a condom that truly fits well.

The first problem is restrictions put on condom manufacturers by the government, and the second is the psychological marketing tactics that the condom makers themselves employ.

Big Government Gets in the Way of Big Condoms

No matter what your political leanings are, I’m sure there are some cases where you’ll agree that government pokes it’s nose in where it doesn’t belong. One case in point is the FDA restrictions on latex condom sizes that can be sold in the US. These regulations only allow for condoms with a nominal width between 47-57mm. This range will be comfortable for someone with an average penis circumference of around four and a half inches.

The problem is that not every man has average girth. Some of us are a little thick around the middle—to the point where even the largest condom sold will be uncomfortable. In fact, it is estimated that between 5-10% of men living in the US have a penis circumference that is too large to fit into a 57mm condom comfortably and safely.

Yes, this is a safety issue as well. Stretching a condom beyond 10% increases its chance of breaking, and the likelihood of breaking increases exponentially with increased width. A man with a 5.5 inch circumference penis really needs to be wearing a condom that can’t be legally sold in the US. A 57mm condom has to stretch out at least 23% to accommodate him.

Latex can stretch out, but this increased stretching increases the chance of breakage and also puts uncomfortable pressure on whatever is stuffed inside. The main problem from an engineering point of view is the ring at the base of the condom. A condom that is too tight-fitting will pinch very tightly at the base. In some cases this makes it very difficult for the condom to be rolled down the shaft to put on properly in the first place. It digs into the flesh and won’t roll any further. Some men may give up trying to roll it all the way and enter their partner with the condom only half-way rolled down. This makes it more likely for an accident to occur in which the condom pops off the top and they risk exposure.

A condom that is too tight also makes it difficult for many men to enjoy sex because it can kill their erection. The base pinches so tightly that if they begin to lose their erection anytime after putting the condom on, they won’t be able to get their erection back until they remove the condom completely since it is cutting off the flow of blood to the area.

The Male Ego Won’t Allow Proper Condom Labeling

The second major problem that gets in the way of men getting a properly fit condom is the psychological tactics used in marketing them to the consumer. Our sense of manhood is closely tied up with our ideas of penis size. It’s a big no-no for condom makers to label any product as “small” because they don’t want to insult the manhood of any of their customers. So they have to brand small sized condoms with term such as “snugger fit”, implying that it is intended to be a tight-fitting condom and not simply one just for smaller than average penises.

On the other hand, the word “large” and any related adjectives are very much encouraged. Men want to validate their manhood by using a large sized condom, implying that they are well-endowed above the average. The problem of course is that a truly large sized condom—one made for men having the top 5% of penis girth—would be much too large for the average sized penis. It would slide off too easily and be a health hazard.

So condom makers play a game with their customers to stroke their egos. They create “large” sized condoms that fit an average sized penis. Most men can use a large sized condom safely, and the deceptive package labeling gives them a reason to feel more manly than their peers.

The people who are out of luck in this situation are those who really do need a wider than average condom. Maybe the word “wide” is the keyword here that could offer a solution. If the FDA would reverse course and approve condoms to be made in a greater size range to match the reality of different sized people, then condom makers could come out with a line of “wide” condoms in addition to the “large” ones. That way, guys who actually need a wider condom could buy one, and average sized guys could still buy “large” sized condoms to keep giving their ego a boost.

Where to Keep Condoms

keep-calm-and-carry-condomsIf you’re a red-blooded male, you might be one of the millions who’s always prepared. You’ve got one of your trusty condoms in your wallet, a couple stashed in your backpack and some tucked inside your glove compartment.

If that’s the case, you’re doing it wrong. Very, very wrong.

You need to store your condoms in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity will wreak havoc on the condom’s latex over time, leaving your condoms prone to breakage at the worst possible moment. The only time you want to have them in your wallet or glove compartment is when you know you’re going to use them that night; otherwise, your body heat is going to gradually degrade the latex on the ones in your wallet, and the oven-like environment your car turns into on a hot day is going to break down those kept in your glove compartment.

If you keep your wallet in your back pants pocket, then that makes it a doubly bad place to store a condom as the friction from sitting and putting pressure on it could also cause damage. If you want to carry one on your person, a jacket pocket would be a better choice—but again, just slip a condom in your pocket when you know you’ll be using it that night. You don’t want to be carrying the same old condom around with you for weeks or months at a time. If you do like to carry one with you at all times for “just in case”, then make sure you replace it with a fresh condom frequently.

So where do you want to store your condoms? Anyplace in your home that doesn’t rise above room temperature will work just fine. While the best way to store your condoms is to keep them in their original box, that’s not strictly necessary as long as you’re keeping heat and humidity out of the equation. Put them in a drawer of your dresser or night stand, tucked discreetly on a bookshelf, or anyplace else that’s not prone to heat and humidity.

Although you want to keep them in a cool place, the refrigerator or freezer are too cold, which could also lead to damaging the latex.

While we’re on the subject, make sure that the condoms you’re using haven’t gone past their expiration date. Yes, just like milk and bad romances, condoms come with an expiration date and you don’t want to take unnecessary chances with your sexual health or your partner’s by pushing your luck.

How to Put on a Condom

how-to-put-on-a-condomPutting on a condom is a skill that most of us take for granted—we’ve been sexually active for years and using condoms during sex is second nature. You are using condoms, right? Good. Just checking. Anyway, over time, we might get into sloppy habits, assume we know exactly what we’re doing while missing a step, or just plain get complacent. So here’s a brief refresher on how to properly wrap that rascal before you and your partner get down to a serious love groove.

First, make sure that you’ve got lubrication on hand. Many condoms are manufactured with their own lube, but it’s often not quite enough for intercourse. Now that you’ve gotten your lubrication situation squared away, make sure that your penis is fully erect. One of the most commonly raised objections to wearing condoms is that putting one on destroys the mood. But you can have some fun with it. Putting on your condom can be an audience participation event, so if you’re not quite at full mast, be sure to invite your partner to give you a hand.

Okay, you’re standing tall and proud. The next step is to actually put this thing on. Place the rolled condom over your penis, pinch shut the tip that serves as the reservoir, and unroll the entire length of the condom over your penis. If you find it very difficult to roll the condom all the way down the shaft of your penis, it might be because you’re using a condom that’s too small. Have a look at the size chart to make sure you’re getting one that is the right fit for you. Make sure that you haven’t got any air trapped in the condom—that can lead to breakage and defeat the purpose of our endeavors. Once you’ve completed this step, your condom should be snug and secure, ensuring that you’re all set and ready for hot, safe sex.

Condoms are one of the simplest prophylactics ever developed and one of the most effective STD defense measures. They’re easy to put on and with the types of rubber used in today’s condoms, it doesn’t feel like you’re going in wearing a wetsuit. Be safe, have fun, and always remember your condoms.

How to Use Condoms: Effective Usage of the Male Condom

condom-in-handMost readers may well be familiar with how to put a condom on, though if you’re one of the few that doesn’t use condoms, it’s time to change your thinking. It’s a dangerous world out there, and you’ve got to protect yourself and your partner. So let’s have a quick refresher on how to use a male condom correctly.

You may feel overwhelmed with the sheer variety of the types of condom out there. Lubed, ribbed, colored, flavored, and available in a zillion different types of materials. The important thing is just to use a condom, period. Whatever type you choose, even one that’s pre-lubed, you should keep some extra lubricant on hand to ensure comfort. The way to use a condom is pretty much the same regardless of what features it has or what materials it’s made of. You’ll first want to learn how to put a condom on correctly. Simply place the rolled condom at the head of your penis, and unroll the condom down the shaft of your erect penis. You’ll want to make sure that when your condom is unrolled, the reservoir at the head of your penis is large enough to collect your ejaculate, otherwise your effort can be thwarted by your ejaculate flowing down the condom and leaking out of the base.

Even if you’re an experienced user, it never hurts to have a refresher in how to use condom. The male condom is extremely effective in curtailing the spread of disease and preventing unwanted pregnancy, but only when used correctly. So take time now and again to review how to put on a condom; your sensual life will be all the better for it.

How to Use Female Condoms for Maximum Effectiveness

woman_holding_female_condomThe female condom is a relatively new contraceptive product, having made the scene in 1988, and if you learn how to put on a female condom properly, you’ll find that it is a remarkably safe and effective form of birth control. Female condom effectiveness relies on proper insertion, so it’s important to learn how to use a female condom. Female condom effectiveness is high, with five pregnancies per 100 users when inserted correctly, but degrades to twenty pregnancies per 100 users when misapplied. Female condom effectiveness can be increased through the application of spermicide or concurrent use of birth control pills. So read on, and we’ll cover the vital details of the female condom.

The female condom is typically made of polyurethane and it’s basically a cylindrical receptacle with rings at each end. As to how to put on a female condom for vaginal intercourse, slip the closed end into your vagina and guide it in until the first ring makes contact with your cervix. The ring at the open end of the female condom should extend just a bit outside your vagina. Learning how to put on a female condom for anal intercourse involves the same basic procedure. Insert the female condom so that it’s deep within your anus, with the ring of the receiving end of the female condom left outside your anus. Bear in mind that you should only use water-based lubricants with latex condoms for the condom’s structural integrity. Female condom effectiveness plunges if an oil-based lubricant eats away at the female condom.

When learning how to use a female condom, it’s possible that your partner’s penis may miss the condom’s entry ring or pull free during intercourse. If this happens, simply remove and rinse your female condom, and now that you know how to put on a female condom, simply re-insert it. Your first few uses of the female condom may involve some trial and error, but you’ll quickly learn how to put on a female condom.

You’ll also soon come to appreciate the advantages of the female condom. It doesn’t rely on your partner maintaining his erection to remain in place, plus the friction of the female condom’s outer ring against your clitoris can trigger simultaneous vaginal and clitoral orgasms. Inserting a female condom can also turn into scintillating love play for you and your partner. Make your education in how to use the female condom a sensual experience for you both as you teach your lover to guide the female condom in firmly and snugly.

The female condom gives you a new option when it comes to safe sex and it gives you a greater measure of control in sexual encounters. It isn’t difficult to use and you’ll be pleased with the female condom’s effectiveness and the increased sexual freedom it provides.