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The great condom conundrum
A new study says ill-fitting condoms lead many men to practice unsafe sex. Is there an easy way to wrap up the problem?
 

Millions of men are trying to wear condoms that are too big for them, suggests a new study published in the journal "Sexually Transmitted Infections." Of the 436 men interviewed by Kinsey Institute researchers, 45 percent reported having used overly capacious condoms, which are far likelier to slip off or break — or simply be stripped off mid-intercourse. The problem, of course, is pride: Most men don't like buying small- or even medium-sized prophylactics. So what's the best way to get males of all shapes and sizes to enjoy the benefits of proper condom usage?

Smaller men need to learn the lingo: The main problem, says Shaw Alff in Creative Loafing, is that condom makers only successfully market their different size options to "men with larger than average penises" (think, Trojan Magnums). Smaller sizes, on the other hand, are characterized by opaque "advertising lingo." So for any of you guys with, um, "friends" who might need help interpreting: "Snug" equals smaller.
"The hidden market for tighter condoms: loose rubbers cause big problems"

'Vanity sizing' is the answer: To resolve this issue, condom makers have to accommodate mens' insecurities, says researcher Bill Yarber during a podcast with BMJ.com. And the best way to do that is "to start calling their smallest size 'large,' and then move on to 'extra large' for medium size and so on." Remember, "women don't have penis envy, men do."
"Size matters, say condom experts"

Yes, but what are the linguistic implications? We doubt whether vanity sizing could really work, says Jeremy Taylor in Asylum. But if it does, and "prophylactic makers" stick with the super-sizing strategy "long enough," maybe "the English language will be graced with fantastic new words like 'gigantinormous'" — which is future "condom code for 'totally average.'"
"Improper condom fit is becoming a major problem"

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SEE RELATED STORIES ON THE WEEK:
Casual sex: Bad for men?
Love in the time of hooking up
The 'man boob' epidemic

 

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