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    How condom sizes work and why fit is important

    Updated 03 February 2023 |
    Published 01 November 2019
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Jenna Beckham
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Jenna Beckham, Obstetrician, gynecologist, and complex family planning specialist, WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, North Carolina, US
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    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Condoms make sex safer, but did you know they come in different sizes? Getting the right fit is so important, so read our condom sizing guide before you buy.

    We don’t need to tell you that using a condom is one of the best ways to practice safer sex

    Not only do condoms help protect you from unplanned pregnancy if you’re having penis-in-vagina sex, but when used correctly, they’re also one of the only forms of birth control that will keep you safe from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), whatever sex you’re having. (Just a note: This article will focus on male or external condom sizing, but you can find information about internal condoms in our guide to safer LGBTQ+ sex here.)

    Lots of people also prefer condoms to long-acting reversible contraception, such as the implant or an IUD, because they’re non-hormonal and only need to be used in the moment.

    But did you know male condoms are available in three different sizes: snug, regular, and large? And fit really matters? Let’s deep dive into condom sizing so you know what to buy.

    Why condom size matters

    Although selecting the right size of condom might not seem like a priority when you’re ordering online or stocking up at the supermarket or pharmacy, fit is actually really important. 

    In order for a condom to do its job properly, it needs to be the right size. Condoms that are too loose are more likely to slip off during sex, while condoms that are too tight could break more easily. That puts you at a greater risk of unplanned pregnancy or STIs.

    How condom sizes work

    So, you know you and your partner need a condom, but how are you supposed to know what size condom to buy?  

    The only real way to figure out what condom size you need is to measure your partner’s penis when it’s erect, which might seem a little embarrassing or strange to begin with, but remember the outcome is going to help keep you both protected from STIs and unplanned pregnancies. 

    Penises come in all different shapes and sizes, so there are two important measurements to take into account when it comes to condom sizing: girth and length.

    • Length: Hold a ruler against the pubic bone (find it at the front of the pelvis) while erect and measure from the base to the tip of the penis.
    • Girth: Take a flexible measuring tape and measure around the thickest portion of the erect penis. If you don’t have a flexible measuring tape, wrap a piece of string around the penis. Mark the spot where the string crosses, and then measure the length of the string with a ruler.

    You could also try an online condom size calculator. These calculators provide a general condom size guide and can determine exactly which types of condoms will fit best. Many of these calculators can even recommend specific condoms according to your ideal condom size.

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