What Size Do Those Condoms Come In?

Sex With Jewrotica

Written by Mara Yacobi. Mara, a certified sexuality educator and licensed social worker, is Jewrotica’s resident sex educator. Check out Mara’s latest posts on Raising Awareness with the Help of the Superbowl, Sukkot: The Fun & Fertile Festival, Summer and Sex, Getting in Touch, Resources for the Curious and The Many Flavors of Pleasure.

Rated PG-13

Please note: The following post is about condoms. Judaism’s laws on contraception vary widely when it comes to what methods of birth control are permitted and which methods are not. Traditionally (or from an orthodox perspective) condoms are not permitted because it is thought that this is “wasting the seed” that fulfills the mitzvah to be fruitful and multiply. However, the information and perspective in this post takes a more liberal view of condoms and the Jewish obligation to protect one’s health as the first priority. You may even be surprised to find out that one of the leading pioneers in creating the condom as we know it today was a Jewish man, Julius Fromm.

What Size Do Those Condoms Come In?

Think about all the junk mail that lands in your spam folder every day. Off the top of your head, can you identify the most common type of solicitation you receive? Chances are it’s for a pharmaceutical product. From diet pills to mood modulators, spam solicitations know no boundaries. But which pharmaceutical product specifically comes to mind, especially considering the title of this post? Did you guess “penis-enlargement pills”?

I have no doubt we have each received on numerous occasions an email with a subject line that goes something like this: “Pill for Male Enlargement” or “Enlarge Your Penis by 6 Inches Guaranteed.” In fact, such emails are so frequent that they have become a normative component of junk-mail culture. Although we may trash these emails over and over again, they continue to show up and prey on the insecurities of men of all ages, including adolescent boys who are grappling with developmental questions like, “Am I normal?” and “Is my penis big enough?” Even adult men wonder about their penis size and/or its ability to satisfy their partner. Of course, women, too, receive such emails, leading them to consciously or unconsciously think about the correlation between penis and size.

At this point, you may be wondering if those penis-enlargement pills and gadgets really work? In short, no! There is very little scientific evidence to support any claims that pills or pumps can enlarge the penis. In fact, they can cause more harm than anything else. Men are best off learning to accept the size of their penis and stop comparing themselves to those who are more than generously endowed.

So what is the average size of a penis? you might be wondering. Well, it’s about the size of a Grande Coffee at Starbucks…Yup, it’s true! That’s a fun fact I recently learned at the National Sex Ed Conference. More scientifically speaking, according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine (2014), the average man’s penis is 5.6 inches long and 4.8 inches in girth when erect.

Chances are if you are a man reading this post, you may have already known how you “measure up.” This post isn’t intended to cause you any unnecessary anxiety. In fact, just the opposite: the truth is, penises come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and girth. Also, keep in mind that when we question how such measurements are obtained, there’s plenty of room for discrepancy.

While some women may be intrigued by penis size, most women do not find it to be a deal breaker when it comes to vaginal-penile intercourse. And I would be remiss not to mention that when it comes to experiencing sensual and sexual pleasure, there are many ways to seek, receive, and give pleasure—penis or no penis.

Interestingly, what has gained media attention this past month is a study that identified the one place size does matter: the locker room. Dr. Christopher Morriss-Roberts interviewed male athletes, both straight and gay, and “found that men look at each other’s cocks, as a gauge to see how big or small they are, comparing themselves to the rest of the team or men in the locker room. The activity of checking out each other occurred irrelevant of sexuality and the type of sport; all participants noted that they looked at each other’s cocks in the locker room.” The research goes on to say that “Those with the larger penises were revered and idolized by their teammates as a symbol of masculinity.” (Study reported in the Huffington Post.)

This article got me to thinking about another place that size matters: the condom aisle. Like penises, condoms come in a variety of sizes, but in general, condoms are sold in sizes such as: snug, large, or extra large. These choices leave a guy wondering how he measures up from package to package—literally and figuratively. Heaven forbid he is seen purchasing and/or wearing a “size-small” condom, which could translate into not being strong, fast, or big enough. But not to worry…marketing companies are one step ahead of that fear; they don’t label condoms “small” or “medium”; instead they use catchy words and phrases such as snugger fit, grande, magnum, king size, and super magnum to name a few, these are common in a large range of online condom stores and physical stores.

At some point, sexually active males must undergo the process of selecting the right size condom while keeping in mind that finding the best fit involves far more than finding the “right size.” Ultimately, if a condom is too baggy or too tight, the whole notion of preventing infections and pregnancy could be undermined.

With that said, there are many options to choose from, and it’s not just about small, medium, and large. It can be about shape, too: straight-shafted, form-fitted, and flared are a few choices. There are also other qualities to consider like, texture, material, lubrication, and novelty. When it comes to material, condoms can be made from lambskin, latex, polyurethane, and the newest material on the market, polyisoprene. While each of these condoms are effective in minimizing one’s risk for unintended pregnancy, lambskin condoms, which are actually made from lamb intestines, contain pores that may allow for viruses to seep through. If you have a latex allergy or are vegetarian and against using any animal products, polyurethane and polyisioprene (often marketed as SKYN) are the way to go. As for ribbed, studded, textured or flavored (for oral pleasure only) there are endless choices to explore. Just make sure you always select a condom made by a reputable company to ensure it’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Novelty condoms are just that and should be used for novelty purposes only.

With so many pleasure-enhancing features that condoms companies have developed, finding the right fit to maximize the pleasure takes just a little research. And finding the right size should involve a few different factors, such as girth, length, and comfort. The following are some additional tips I learned from a fellow sexuality trainer at the National Sexuality Education Conference for getting the most from the “right” condom:

1. Girth: Determining the girth of the penis is an important step to finding the right condom size because condoms should feel comfortable around the penis to increase the sensation and pleasure. So how does one determine girth? Save your toilet paper tube! This seemingly useless tube can actually be used to help find the right condom size. Simply place your erect penis into the tube, and if it fits comfortably, you may want to check out condoms that are typically marketed as “large.” If the penis fits into the tube without touching the sides of the roll, you may look for a slimmer condom that is typically marketed as “snug.” And if you can’t fit your penis into the roll, it’s best to look for condoms that are marketed as “extra large” or “magnum.”

2. Length: Figuring out the length of the penis is fairly straightforward. Hold a ruler firmly against your pubic bone and then measure to the tip of your erect penis. Once you have found your measurement, check out the following link, which can help you identify several condom choices by brand based on length and girth. If you do happen to click the link, you will notice that the chart lists condoms by length with the smallest option coming in at 6.87 inches. Compare that with the average penis size of 5.6 inches and it’s no wonder why it may hard to find the right fit. Since condoms are considered a medical device, the Standard for FDA approval mandates a narrow range of condom sizes, including the requirement that all condoms must be 7 inches or longer. However, a European company called TheyFit has led efforts to modernize the international regulations in the United States and Europe by working with medical researchers, manufacturers, standards organizations and non-governmental organizations to offer a range of 95 different condom sizes! The website claims that they will be accepting orders for shipment to the United States in in 2014.

3. The Head (aka Glans Matters): The head contains the most nerve endings, making it the most sensitive part of the penis. If you add just a bit of saliva or water-based lubricant inside the condom, you may discover increased sensation. Note: be sure to only use water-based lubricant (such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly) as oil-based lubricant will cause the condom to break. While it’s important for the condom to fit snugly at the base of the penis, leaving room at the tip is important for comfort and to ensure the air is out of the tip so it does not break.*

The Next Generation of Condoms

One of the greatest challenges in using condoms is that it can decrease sexual pleasure. Sex should feel good. That’s why The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offered $100,000 in grant money toward research for improving today’s condom. In response, 800 chemists and inventors followed in the footsteps of German Entrepreneur Julius Fromm, who invented a process for making thinner, seamless rubber condoms in 1912. Fromm continued to refine the manufacturing process and the quality of condoms until, being of Polish-Jewish descent, he was forced to sell his company and flee Germany in the late 1930s. Ultimately, the Gates Foundation awarded 11 recipients for a new and improved condom. The proposed new condoms feature materials that are half as thin, twice as strong, flex for a longer duration of time, provide the sensation of natural skin, heat that radiates when touched and even one that’s pulled over like a sock rather than a traditional condom that penis must squeeze into (source from the Slate Website: Bill Melinda Gates Foundation Unveils 11 prototypes for a better feeling). How’s that for an advancement in condom technology? I would say it’s a wrap!

*If the condom breaks inside of a female partner, Plan B or emergency contraception is available over the counter and can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse which may reduce the risk for an unintended pregnancy.

Mara Yacobi is a Certified Sexuality Educator, Licensed Social Worker and Founder of JLove and Values. Mara lives in New Jersey with her family and dreams of becoming a talk show host and finding more hours in the day.