Condoms and contraception

Condoms, you, and your penis

Who's responsible for contraception? The man or woman? In the days of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which are uncurable, not to mention AIDS, it's a really important question.

I don't think I'm doing anyone an injustice if I say that in the past it has always been the man who's resisted the idea of slipping a condom on his penis.

Why? Well, in the past condoms have reduced the sensations a man feels when making love quite dramatically - and, if we're honest, men can be rather selfish in their desire to get the best sexual pleasure. 

So, leaving aside other health issues such the ability of condoms to prevent STDs, it comes as good news that the modern latex condom is a very different article altogether - thin, sensitive and hardly noticeable.

In addition, there's now a polyurethane condom, which is so thin it's practically invisible.


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Other pages on condom use:

How to put a condom on your penis


Effectiveness of the condom as barrier contraception

Since the condom is first and foremost a contraceptive, we need to know if it works.

This depends on whether people use it properly or not, although in that respect it is no different from any other contraceptive.

 The actual failure rate in a "typical" population is around 12 per cent per year, which means out of every hundred women whose partners are using the male condom as a contraceptive, 12 would get pregnant in a year.

This seems high, but the typical population includes couples who don't use it all the time and people who don't use it properly.

The real failure rate for couples who use the condom properly and consistently is only three percent a year, which is about as effective as contraception gets. 

When you combine this fact with the knowledge that the condom is one hundred per cent effective in stopping the transmission of the AIDS virus, it looks like a great asset for men and women alike.

These men need different sizes and shapes of condom

different penis size requires different condom size different penis size requires different condom size different penis size requires different condom size

different penis size requires different condom size condom on erect penis condom on erect penis

However to maintain maximum sensitivity, you must get a condom which fits, preferably also a condom that matches the shape of your glans.

This is important because penises do come in different shapes and sizes: 42% of men have a penis that is widest at the head, while 27% say theirs is widest on the shaft, and 12% say they have the greatest girth at the base. 

The condom manufacturers have responded to the differing anatomies of men by producing condoms with wider heads, tapered shafts, and so on, all designed to fit different shaped penises.

A Snugger Fit condom for the smaller penis - or a Trojan Magnum?

What about penis size? First, there isn't a standard for condom length, but Durex say that only the most well-endowed man would find a normal condom too short.

This can be important, because when a condom isn't unrolled all the way to the base of the penis, the ring at the end of the condom will be someway up the penile shaft. It can then enter your partner's vagina during sex, and this may result in the condom coming off your penis completely.

However, there is a standard for circumference in Europe, at least: 104mm.

If this is too big (though I suspect standard condoms will fit the majority of men) there are smaller condoms such as Mates Conform (98 mm around), Lifestyles Form Fitting, RFSU Mamba (102mm around) and Contempo Exotica (98mm around).

The very smallest condom available is the Exotica Snugger Fit, which is both slim and short, so there is no need for the man with a smaller than average penis to feel left out. Larger condoms include Trojan Magnum and Durex Gold (a longer one). T

here are, of course, many others.

Now, I know what you're thinking: this is all very well, but how do I find out what I need?

First of all, the issue for you might be whether or not you are allergic to latex: very few people are, but if so, you need a polyurethane or lambskin condom.

Secondly, you might want an extra strong variety if you're into anal sex.

Next, look at the issue of size. I know there is an element of pride here, but you probably have some idea of how "average" your penis is. If you really don't know if you're packing a big pecker, buy different sized condoms and see which suits you best.

Then there are different anatomical designs - for example, if you have a penis with a large glans, you'll want a condom that can accommodate this without numbing it.

Some men find that the greatest sexual pleasure comes from having a condom that is loose around the head of their penis, so that the movement of the latex on their glans creates yet another source of sensation during intercourse.

Incidentally, spermicidal lubricant can be really irritating to your penis.

Manufacturers' websites:

Slip Sliding Away

If you need extra lubricant for sex, you'll need to be careful what you use with your condom.

 Any oil based lubricant will destroy a latex condom - whether it's the thin or thick variety - almost at once.

Polyurethane condoms are immune to this problem. If you use a water-based or condom-safe lubricant you'll be fine in any circumstances.

But how to find the right condom for your penis?

Some of the online condom sales companies have introduced helpful programs that guide you through your requirements and come up with different options. Or you could simply buy a wide selection and try them out.

What if putting on a condom turns me off and I lose my erection?

Well, it can happen. The act of stopping making love to fumble with a condom can cause some men to lose their erection.

If so, then the embarrassment factor is at work. Perhaps being more open and frank with your lover might help?

For some reason, other men find the whole process of putting the condom on to be highly erotic, especially if their partner does it - but if she or he does it with their lips, do remember to tell them not to bite.

Feel good even with a condom

Sex is supposed to feel great, not just good! And so the old latex condom has given way to a whole range of new products designed to snugly hug your penis, provide headroom for a larger glans to move freely, conduct the warmth of her body to the sensitive parts of your penis and, stimulate her vagina.

These changes started with the manufacture of some very thin condoms in Japan - and Western manufacturers were rapidly forced to respond by changing and updating their own ranges.

You can see a wide variety of products here.

If you're allergic to latex, the Avanti by Durex is the answer - made from polyurethane, it will conduct the heat of your partner's vagina so well you'll feel like your penis is in intimate contact with her flesh.

Another excellent  polyurethane condom is the Trojan Supra, so fine it is almost invisible.

By the way, using a condom can help you to last longer during sex. This is because it can reduce sensitivity of the penis and allow you to receive vaginal stimulation as you thrust into your partner without tipping you over the edge of orgasm and ejaculation.

There are of course also special delay condoms with anesthetic lotion located in the tip of the condom - this numbs your glans during sex and hopefully gives you more staying power!

More information on contraception can be found here.

The female condom

The female condom is a device which a woman can insert in her vagina.

The US version is  called Reality, and there is another version called the Femidom. You may find that you or your gal prefer the feel of this. 

The idea is that a "tube" of polyurethane - like a wide condom - goes inside the woman, as deep as her cervix, where a ring stops the condom going deeper. The polyurethane clings to the side of her vagina and warms up to body temperature, while the outer ring remains outside her vagina.

One possible advantage, apart from the fact that the woman has control of contraception, is that the device can be inserted some time before sex. See more information here: the female condom. 

Which supplier? Which condom?

Here are the facts and information that you need to make an informed choice about the best condom for you. 

We will give you recommendations about the right condom, whether you want the largest, smallest, fruitiest, strongest or most innovative.

It is our mission to help you find the right condom for you and your penis so that you can enjoy sex with confidence - and have some safe sexy fun.

Condoms sized for small, medium and large penises

Not all men are created equal. Some of us have small penises, some large. Some have big knobs, some small.

Some have thick shafts, some thin. Fortunately you can find something to suit you whatever the size of your endowment.

The widths shown below are of the condom when it is laid flat and measured across: you can't relate them easily to the girth of your penis. The best thing is to get a selection and try them out until you find something you like.

Also, many condoms have wider heads or narrower necks. A figure like this: 49/44 mm refers to the width of the shaft and the narrowing at the neck.

A figure like this: 54/60 refers to the width of the shaft and the widening of the head.

A wider head is designed to feel better, basically the theory is that it doesn't trap the nerves of the glans and allows greater sensation.


Brand Width (mm) Length (mm)
Smaller sizes
Contempo Exotica  49 160
Lifestyle Snugger Fit 49/44 180
Beyond 7 with spermicide 50 194
Average size
Durex Extra Sensitive 52 190
Sagami E 53 200
Visa Vis 53/42 200
Durex High Sensation 53 193
Crown 55 190
Lifestyles Midnight Desire 54/60 180
Larger styles
Durex Avanti 60 180
Durex Ultra Comfort  52/60 210
Trojan Magnum 54/60 205
Trojan Magnum Extra Large 64 205


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How To Give A Woman An Orgasm

We are probably much more familiar with women who have a problem reaching orgasm during sex - and masturbation in a fair number of cases. Indeed, it is not uncommon for women to have trouble reaching orgasm, so a man who wants to know how to pleasure a woman must pick up a few tips.

The clitoris does not receive enough stimulation during intercourse to bring a woman to orgasm.

There are actually rather a lot of ways in which women can reach orgasm during sex, and they are described on many sexual advice websites including this one, which is designed for men who need to find ways to bring their partner to orgasm during intercourse.