“As part of the gender almost universally considered to be the most vain, I find it kind of amusing that we take it as a given that men shouldn’t have to come to terms with the penis nature gave them.”

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The post title is a quote from this Broadsheet piece (found via) which highlights an Atlantic article entitled “The Challenge of Marketing Small  Condoms,” in which one learns:

… According to the medical journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, 45 percent of men reported that they had experienced an ill-fitting condom within the last three months.

The misfits were significantly more likely to report breakage and slippage, along with difficulty reaching orgasm, both for their partners and for themselves, and a host of other sexual mishaps. Not surprisingly, men with ill-fitting condoms were more likely to take them off before sex was even over — all of which adds up to a massive failure for the one job a condom exists to fulfill.

Aside from a realistic range of sizes, there is a dizzying amount of condom variety. A non-exhaustive list: ribbed, for her/his pleasure, studded, lubricated, extra thin, scented, textured, unscented, flavored, extended pleasure, colored, with/without spermicide, glow in the dark, lamb skin, warming. But aside from the machismo-imbued “Magnum” designation, you’d be hard-pressed to find any size labels. What’s a modestly endowed guy to do? And perhaps more importantly, are the condom manufacturers being irresponsible by not being transparent in their sizing? Do they even make small condoms?

In fact, there is some size variation in condoms, but it’s couched in jargon. LifeStyles has by far the most direct code, called “Snugger Fit.” Here is a sizing chart for Durex condoms.

Trojan seems to have recalibrated its sizes a la Starbucks (and there is something appealing, if patronizing, about the idea of buying a “Tall” condom when in fact it’s the opposite). The company organizes its products by Regular, Large, and Extra Large. Ah, so the regular is actually a small? Wrong. The regular is actually regular — 35 of their 42 lines fall under this category — not exactly following the bell curve. …

–Ann Bartow

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