Q: My boyfriend is larger than average, in my experience, and he complains about condoms being too tight when we have sex. He says it’s more difficult for him to have an orgasm with a condom on, vs. him masturbating or me giving him oral sex. The condoms we’re using (Durex Extra Sensitive) are long enough, but they leave a mark around the base of his penis when he takes one off. I’m not sure if this is normal for condoms — I’ve never checked with previous partners, but they also never complained about condoms being too tight. Are Magnums and other “large size” condoms really that much bigger than the rest of the choices on the shelf? I’ve heard that it’s a marketing gimmick to get people to spend more money on “specialty” condoms, but it seems to make more sense that condoms would come in different sizes.
A: Condoms absolutely come in different sizes, and not just regular or large. We have dozens of condom manufacturers to choose from, and most offer something in every size. Typically, condom width can vary from 1.9 inches to 2.7 inches, and length can vary from 6 to 9.5 inches. It just depends on the brand and size you’re buying (one company’s large might be another company’s medium).
There’s also a company in the U.K. that will customize your condoms. TheyFit offers 95 different length and width combinations to offer the best fit possible for every guy. The bad news, of course, is they’re not FDA-approved. Maybe you have a friend across the pond who’s willing to order some and ship them over? TheyFit’s website (theyfit.co.uk) has a special ruler that you can download and print out, then compare your numbers to a chart that reveals the best size. Sounds like some quality boyfriend-girlfriend time to me.
Selecting the right-sized condom is more important than a lot of us realize. A condom that’s too big can slip off during sex, possibly exposing both partners to STIs or pregnancy risk. A condom that’s too tight around the head can rip open and have the same result. If a condom is so tight at the base of the penis that it actually restricts blood flow, damage can occur and erectile dysfunction may follow. Nobody wants that. A bad fit can also cause discomfort for both partners, which can lead to a lackadaisical attitude about using them. Tsk-tsk! Make sure the condoms you’re using are snug but not restrictive, with enough room in the reservoir tip to hold all of his semen without exploding. They need be rolled all the way to the base, to keep from accidentally slipping off during sex. Have your man put it to the masturbation test; he should be able to comfortably jerk off while wearing a condom, from erection to ejaculation.
For all the magical things that they do, condoms are relatively inexpensive, especially if you order them online from sites like CondomJungle.com and Condomania.com. The sites are very searchable; you can find condoms that offer more headroom than most, or condoms that are just larger overall (which might be better for your boyfriend). Guys who need a more snug fit will find plenty of options, too. Also, look for sampler packs from those online retailers. The best condom for your boyfriend might be from a company he’s never even heard of before. The so-called condom of the stars — porn stars, that is — is Okamoto’s Crown condom. It’s thinner than most condoms on the market, which provides increased sensitivity, but it’s also roomy enough to fit the James Deens and Lex Steeles of the world.