I’m trying to buy condoms but am a little overwhelmed by the options. How do I know which condom is right for me?

ML: Thanks for asking this important question! Absolutely—when purchasing condoms, there are a multitude of options from which you can choose. From various sizes to ribbed vs. unribbed, flavored vs. glow-in-the-dark, this decision may feel like a daunting one. In this post, we are going to talk through a number of the factors that impact efficacy, comfort, and personal preference that will allow for the best experience at the end of the day.

AG: One straightforward way to start getting a sense of what condoms might be right for you is to measure your erect penis. You’ll want to measure both the length (from the pubic bone to the tip) and the girth (the width of the penis which you can get by dividing the circumference by 3.14). Condom manufacturers sell snugger fit, regular fit, and larger fit condoms which will fit different penises depending on these two measurements.  

ML: In addition to the fit of the condom, there are other things to consider when finding a condom that’s best for you and your partner(s). Some of these may include: ribbing, or texturization of the condom, flavor, color, material, thickness/thinness, added sensation, and amount of lubricant on the condom or in the packaging.

AG: A lot of variation! It’s worth remembering too that though most condoms come with some lubricant in the packaging this is generally just to prevent the condom from tearing as it is unrolled and so more lube can always be added! Again, we know this list can feel overwhelming. Finding the perfect condom isn’t always super quick, and can really just be more of a process of experimentation. It can be worth trying on the condom before the sex act to ensure that it fits well enough to be effective and comfortable, but you’ll get the best sense of what works the best for you with time and through trying different options.  

ML: Here on campus, there are multiple locations at which you can pick up a variety of condoms and other safer sex supplies for free. Feel free to stop by the sixth floor of HUHS in the Center for Wellness & Health Promotion, the Women’s Center, the BGLTQ Office, or at SHARC Office Hours in house dhalls where you can also ask any additional questions as it pertains to sex and sexual health. Here’s a map that points out these places!

AG: We wanted to end by briefly noting some of the pressures and expectations that may come with buying condoms. Many people may feel that they need to use larger sized condoms. In fact, studies show that 25% of men have tried magnums (extra-large condoms) when in reality these are really not necessary for most people. The average penis size is 5.16” long while a magnum condom is made for penises that are 8.07” long...so a big difference! The truth is that sex will feel better and that the condoms will work the best when they fit your penis appropriately. For some people it can feel that others may judge their condom choices however, picking something that fits well will really result in the best and safest experience for you and your partner(s). If picking up or buying condoms in public is nerve wracking, there are also certainly ways to buy them discreetly online!