1. Your cycle
  2. Sex
  3. Sexual health

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

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.

Condom Sizes: The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to having safe sex, condoms are one of the best ways to keep yourself safe. They provide protection from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But to use condoms properly, you need to make sure you’re using the right condom size. 

Read on to learn more about condom sizes and how to choose the right one.

Why does condom size matter?

Although it might not be top of mind, condom sizing is actually pretty important. Think about it — you wouldn’t want a surgeon wearing a big, baggy glove that could fall off at a moment’s notice or a glove so small their fingers might pop right through. It’s the same with condoms. That’s why knowing how a condom should fit is very important if you want to have safe sex.

Condoms, overall, are a very effective method of protection. They prevent STI transmission, and they’re a great option for couples who wish to use non-hormonal contraceptives.

But it’s very important to keep in mind that a condom that’s the wrong size is much more likely to fail. Condoms that are too loose are more likely to slip off during intercourse. Meanwhile, condoms that are too tight could break more easily. Condom sizing can also affect pleasure during sex.

Identifying condom size — best practices

There are two important measurements you need to take into account when it comes to condom sizing: girth and length. Keep in mind that both measurements should be based on penis size when erect. 

  • Length: use a ruler

To measure penis length, hold a ruler against the pubic bone while erect. Make sure you measure from the base to the tip of the penis.

  • Girth: use a string or a measuring tape

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.

  • Try a condom size calculator

There are many condom size charts that can help determine the best condom size for you, but an online condom size calculator can make it even easier for you. These calculators will provide a general condom size guide, and they will determine exactly which types of condoms will fit best. Many of these calculators can even recommend specific condoms according to your ideal condom size.

All-in-one condom size chart

Use the measurements you have to determine what size condom is right — below-average, above-average, or average. This information will help you choose your condom size more easily.

  • Size: below average

Condoms labeled “snug fit” are best for a penis that is shorter than the average length of 4.7–6.3 inches (12–16 centimeters) when erect.

Keep in mind that the minimum size for condoms is 6.3 inches. If your penis is shorter than this, it’s very important to make sure the condom is a good fit girth-wise, since this will lower the chances of slippage. You can also use condoms that don’t feature a reservoir tip, and pinch about half an inch at the tip of the condom to create the reservoir yourself. 

  • Size: average

The average erect penis length is 4.7 to 6.3 inches, and the average erect penis girth is around 4.7 inches or 12 centimeters. Condoms labeled “regular fit” are suitable for this size. Most condoms are made for this size range.

Snug condoms can be used for added sensation and pleasure if the penis is on the shorter end of average. But if a snug condom feels too tight, it’s better to stick to regular ones.

  • Size: above average

Large condoms are usually around 7.5 to 8.5 inches (19 to 21.5) centimeters long and are appropriate for penises that are above-average length. 

Not by condom sizing alone: other factors to consider while choosing a condom

Condom size is very important, but it’s not the only thing that you need to consider when choosing a condom. There are other factors that can affect their effectiveness and how pleasurable sex is for you.

Material

Most condoms are made of thin latex that provides an effective barrier against even the smallest pathogens. This works for most people, but if you or your partner are allergic to latex, you’ll need to find a different material. Other materials condoms are made from include:

  • Polyurethane: Condoms made of polyurethane are thinner and conduct heat better, so they’re also a common choice for people who want increased sensation.
  • Lambskin: Lambskin condoms are made from a membrane found in sheep’s intestines. These condoms are very thin, but they don’t provide protection from STIs, which is why they should only be used by two people who are certain of their STI status who only want to prevent pregnancy.
  • Polyisoprene: Polyisoprene is very similar to latex, but it doesn’t contain the chemical compounds that cause an allergic reaction in some people. 

Lubrication

Many condoms come pre-lubricated. There are many different types of lubricants, and some of them even produce additional sensations, such as heat or cold.

Don’t use oil–based lubricants in combination with latex condoms. Oil can degrade the latex and lead to condom breakage. Instead, choose silicone or water–based lubricants.

Thickness, texture, and shape 

Thinner condoms usually increase sensitivity during sex. Some condoms come with texturized surfaces and shapes which are meant to increase pleasure. 

Finding the condom size that fits you can make it easier for you to have safe sex that is also enjoyable for all parties involved. Condoms are vital if you want to prevent STIs in addition to pregnancy. 

Condom sizing is relatively easy to figure out once you have some measurements. Then, you can experiment with all the other factors involved in condom selection and have an amazing, sex-positive experience with your partner!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2598697/

https://www.condom-sizes.org/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25586147

Read this next