Are His Condoms the Right Size? Here's Why It Matters

Help your condoms fight the good fight.

Condoms, man. Those little guys have the potential to protect us from sexually transmitted infections, diseases, and pregnancy. Considering the burden they have to bear, we should be making their job as easy as possible, right? Turns out we might not have been. Because the thing is, as much as we all (hopefully) got a sex education of some kind, it often slips our mind that condoms come in different sizes.

And it’s a pretty big deal

Apart from the obvious reasons – such as preventing the conditions mentioned above – wearing ill-fitting condoms can be dangerous. Sex expert Sammi Cole of LoveHoney explained to Allure that they also run the risk of causing significant discomfort to both people involved. ‘Use a condom that’s too big, and it could come off or bunch up during wear. Use a condom that’s too small, and it can roll down or split, as well as cut off circulation to the wearer.’

Red unpack condom compare measuring tape

So, how do we know which size is the right size?

Typically, condoms come three sizes:

  • Small (or ‘snug’): These provide a good fit for penises that are up to 5.08 cm in width and 17.78 cm in length.
  • Medium (or ‘standard): These suit a penis of about 6.35 cm in width and 19.05 in length.
  • Large: These are suited for penises that are over two and 6.35 cm in width and about 23 cm long.

However, based on a chat I had with my boyfriend while researching this, it might not always be the simplest thing in the world to actually find the condom size you’re after. According to him, he’s not actually seen condoms in varying sizes while buying them in South Africa. As for me? I’ll be frank – in all the years I’ve purchased condoms, I’ve never even thought to A) measure a partner’s penis and B) purchase the condoms accordingly.

Nonetheless, it behooves us all to know how to correctly gauge our partner’s condom size.


This is how to measure a penis for a fabulously-fitting condom

1 First up

The penis should be erect while measured.

2 Measure it from the very tip

To where the shaft meets the pubic bone.

3 When it comes to measuring the girth

The thickest part of the erect penis should be used. This varies from person to person.

4 When it comes to identifying the correct size

‘Many condoms will use width (the size of the condom across) rather than girth (the size of the condom around), so you’ll have to break out some middle school math for an accurate measurement,’ Cole explains. Daunted? Don’t be. ‘Just grab your phone calculator and divide the girth of your penis by π (3.14) to get the correct width.’ Remember to keep an eye out for the correct unit of measurement, depending on the brand you’re using.

5 The cheat sheet for those who hate math

Cole concedes that while measuring the penis is certainly the most accurate way to go, there’s another, simpler way to find the right fit. Grab the cardboard tube that comes inside a toilet paper roll, and slip it on over your partner’s erect shaft. ‘If it’s too tight, you might find larger condoms work best; too loose, and you might be better suited to small or snug condoms. If it’s just right, then standard condoms are most likely to be your best bet.’

While finding condoms of varying sizes might not be as easy as popping into your nearest Clicks or Dis-Chem, a quick look online shows that some online stores stock them. They might not be as cheap as we’d hoped, but they’re an absolute necessity.

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