Sex Transm Infect 85:127-131 doi:10.1136/sti.2008.033050
  • Behaviour

Penile dimensions and men’s perceptions of condom fit and feel

  1. M Reece,
  2. D Herbenick,
  3. B Dodge
  1. Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
  1. Michael Reece, HPER 116, 1025 East Seventh Street, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA; mireece{at}
  • Accepted 28 November 2008
  • Published Online First 11 December 2008


Objectives: Sexual health professionals continue to promote correct and consistent condom use among sexually active individuals yet research indicates that some men remain resistant to using condoms because of perceptions that they do not fit properly or feel comfortable. This study empirically assessed relations between men’s penile dimensions and their perceptions of condom fit and feel.

Methods: Data related to demographics, a bivariate calculation of erect penile length and circumference, and perceptions of condom fit and feel were analysed from 1661 adult men from 50 US states

Results: While many men reported that condoms generally fit fine and feel comfortable, at clearly identifiable intersections of length and circumference relations between penile dimensions and perceptions of condom fit and feel existed, particularly for those men who felt that condoms were “too long” (p<0.004), “too short” (p<0.001), “too loose” (p<0.047) or “too tight” (p<0.001).

Conclusions: These analyses provide empirical insights into the relations between bivariate penile dimensions (the intersection of length and circumference) and men’s perceptions of the positive and negative aspects of condom fit and feel. Those men with the most negative perceptions of condom fit and feel may benefit from an assessment of their condom-related concerns as a component of community and clinic based STI prevention interventions in order to help them select from the variety of condoms in the marketplace that they may find to be better fitting or more comfortable.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Received by the Indiana University-Bloomington Institutional Review Board.

  • Contributors: MR and DH were responsible for the design and conduct of this study. MR led the development of the manuscript. MR, BD and DH all contributed to the interpretation of statistical analyses and the development of the manuscript.