How to Tell If a Condom is Too Small

A condom is supposed to fit snugly, like a second skin. It should also leave room for the reservoir at the tip.

But too many people struggle with finding a condom that fits properly, and that can make it hard to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Here are some ways to tell if your condom is too small:

1. It’s too tight

When men say they can’t feel their partner or that a condom feels tight, it often has nothing to do with the length of the dick (or the nominal width of the condom). A snug fit can be uncomfortable and even cut off blood flow which decreases sensation. It can also restrict the erection making it harder to reach orgasm. Condoms that are too tight can also break during intercourse putting both partners at risk for STIs and pregnancy.

Condoms come in different sizes for a reason, and no one-size-fits-all. Wearing a condom that is too big can lead to sexy-time pain and it could cause the condom to tear, leaving fluids to seep out and expose both partners to STIs or pregnancy.

Measuring the girth of the penis is the key to finding the right size condom. A good measurement takes a bit of practice, but it’s important to do while the penis is fully erect so you get an accurate reading. To do this, use a tape measure or a narrow strip of paper to wrap around the thickest part of the shaft, close to the head. Then note where the measure overlaps to find your girth size. You can then match your girth measurement to a brand’s chart to find the best condom size.

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2. It’s too loose

Condoms are effective birth control and additional protection against STIs, but they can’t do their job if they don’t fit well. If a condom is loose, it can slip down during penetration, and that doesn’t just put the sexy stuff in jeopardy—it can also expose the partner to fluids in the urethra. Plus, a baggy condom doesn’t transfer sensations very well and can leave a lot to be desired in the orgasm department.

A good way to test a condom for fit is by using the reservoir tip as a guide. The tip looks like a dome and should sit at the base of your penis. The rim of the condom should form a circle around the tip, and you should be able to roll it on easily with your finger.

If you’re having trouble putting on a condom, or it feels painful or uncomfortable, it may be too small. It’s best to try a few different brands of condoms to find the right fit, and remember that it’s better to size up than down.

To measure your penis, use a ruler or measuring tape and wrap it around the base of your penis (where it meets your pelvis). You can also use a piece of string to get a more accurate measurement. Then, compare the results to the condom sizing chart for your brand of choice.

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3. It’s too long

As much as we’d all like to think condoms are one-size-fits-all and that any box of XL Trojans will work, it’s not that simple. There’s a reason that condoms come in different sizes, and wearing the wrong size can lead to everything from decreased sensation to even an unwanted pregnancy.

Thankfully, we live in an age where many condoms have their length and girth measurements listed on the packaging. So, if you’re feeling the pain of an incorrect fit, it may be time to start using a tape measure to get the right sizing down.

The ideal fit for a condom is snug enough to prevent slipping and sticking, but not so tight that it limits sensation or causes pain. It should also reach to the base of your penis and leave about a half-inch reservoir at the tip, says White.

To test the length of your penis, use a flexible tape measure or piece of string to gently wrap around your erect penis from tip to base. Then, wrap a condom over that and make sure it covers the full girth of your penis without leaving any extra rolled condom at the base. Then, compare that length to the condom’s length measurement on the package. If it doesn’t match up, it’s likely too short. A good rule of thumb is to buy a condom with a length equal to or slightly longer than your penis, Levkoff adds.

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4. It’s too wide

When a condom fits correctly, it feels snug and secure. It should be like a second skin. But a condom that is too tight can choke off blood flow and cause pain, as well as reduce pleasure for both you and your partner. Plus, it can increase your risk of STIs and pregnancy (Cecil, 2010).

While it’s true that one size doesn’t fit all (and it would be hard for Goldilocks to get her hands on our box of extra-large Trojan Magnum XL), it’s still important to wear a condom that is the right length and width for you. It’s especially important to measure your girth while you’re fully erect (read here for how). Your girth measurement is what helps ensure that a condom doesn’t end up being too baggy or too tight.

Wearing the wrong condom size can jeopardize its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and STIs because it’s more likely to break or slip off during sexual activity. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to find the right condom – and have a discussion with your partner about it before you make love.

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