/u/joetheyfit & Reddit
Sadly, /u/joetheyfit is gone. Banished by the admins from Reddit despite being, well, pretty damn awesome:
Some people are taking it rather badly:
But there's no need to stress.
If you have any condom related questions, queries or concerns, or would like to receive a free sample of TheyFit, simply complete a submission form:
Also, here's the condom FAQ Joe wrote for Reddit users:
Q. What are redditors favourite condoms?
Make the condom fit and that's most of the battle won. Think about shoes - your favourite shoes to wear aren't the ones made from a fancy material etc but the ones that fit you the best. Fit, comfort and pleasure go hand in hand. It's extraordinarily similar when it comes to wearing a condom & a penis. This image explains the importance of fit for bigger guys, but it's just as important for smaller guys too (a condom that is too big will slip, or fall off entirely). So, there isn't necessarily "a condom" that *all people* will enjoy, because each person has a different sized erection (length and girth). Things like dots, ribs and spirals? Flavours? Thin? Mostly marketing nonsense (very effective for sales, though!). The key to getting a condom fitting correctly is something called nominal width yet 99% of people have never heard of it.
Q. Nominal what now?
Nominal width. It's a condom industry term and means the width at or near the opening of the condom when it's laid (squished) flat. You need to match the nominal width of your condom (41mm - 69mm) to the girth of your erection. Too small a n/w and the condom will feel tight, and sucky. Too big a n/w and the condom will slip and fall off. Strangely, this concept is not taught in safe sex classes...
Q. I lose my boner when using a condom/I can't come using a condom – what gives?
A tight condom can kill a boner/stop an orgasm at 50 paces – so check that you're not using a condom that is too small for you. Something called "nominal width" is the key, and just +/- 2mm is enough to make your condom sex awesome vs really rather sucky. If fit is okay, and you lose your hard-on when putting the condom on or can't come during use, then it’s likely *psychosomatic* - your mind is telling you to expect a bad experience, so your body delivers one. That negative connotation of condom use and associating it with bad sex can be a hard cycle to break - masturbating while wearing a condom is a good way to get used to the sensation, without the 'pressure' of having to perform.
Q. How can I put a condom on without interrupting the moment and losing my erection?
A neat experiment is to not tell your lady which particular type of condom you are using, and see then if she can tell the difference. It's hardly science, but can be fun! On the other hand, if the **guy** is enjoying his condom, he's likely to put in a good performance. Then that in turn will likely satisfy your partner too.
Q. Which brand of condom is the SAFEST and least likely to break? Do condoms break? Why?
All condoms sold in the EU/US (and other developed countries) have to undergo normalised testing during manufacture (as dictated by the ISO and other regulations, which also dictate what sizes/thickness they can be).
So if you're buying condoms that are legally available (inc. free) in your country, you can rest assured they have been tested to a high standard and will be safe to use. Over large enough sample sets, all brands/variants of latex condom are of statistically equal reliability, although it's easy to see why if you've had a particular type break (can be quite traumatic) you might differently.
One myth is that 'ultra thin' break more often than regular condoms do. In clinical studies this isn't the case, and when you understand that the difference in thickness between ultra thin condoms and standard ones is approximately 1/5th of a human hair (20 microns), you start to understand why. One study found that extra thick condoms fail just as often as regular condoms too.
We (as an industry) don't fully understand what causes breakage. Secondly we consistently witness "breakers" - that being people who experience much higher than average breakage rates (average being about 1.5%). The best theory is it's something to do with their technique.
Q: It's embarrassing buying condoms in the store / standing in line is stressful / there are too many different types to choose from.
Consider buying online? It’s private and discreet, and you can take as long as you need. The condoms arrive in plain packaging the next day, or within a few days – and best of all, they’re usually cheaper! Worried about parents opening the package? Just write "GIFT FOR MOM - DON'T OPEN" as the 2nd line of your shipping address. It gets printed on the shipping label and bingo.. instant privacy. Although.. you may have to then buy her a gift!
Q: Aren’t condoms just one-size-fits-all? The latex can stretch right? I’ve seen a video on YouTube where the condom fits over the guy’s head.
Latex does stretch – to quite crazy amounts (about 700%). But there is a world of difference between ‘fitting’ and ‘fitting comfortably’. A condom will stretch to fit over my head, for example, but it certainly won’t be comfortable. And that’s before we consider what happens when the unstretched condom is too **big** for the penis it’s being put on. Latex cannot ‘shrink to fit’!
Multiple clinical studies since 1993 have found nearly 50% of men complain that condoms didn't fit them correctly (meaning too big as well as too small – so not just guys bragging). So think of it like buying shoes - it doesn't matter what material, shape or type of shoe you get - if it's the wrong size for you then you're never going to have fun wearing it. Same deal with condoms.
Getting the correct fit boils down to something called nominal width, which 99% of people have never heard of and 100% of safe-sex-ed classes do not teach. You can detect a difference of just +/- 2mm in nominal width, and it makes all the difference to whether or not you enjoy condom sex. Nominal widths are available from just 41mm (girth 3.2") all the way up to 69mm (girth 6.5"+) so you're bound to be able to find the perfect one for you.
Q. What’s this I hear about different rules for sizes – US vs Europe? Can that really be true?
Yes. Condoms are regulated medical devices and the regulator in each region will decide what condom sizes are allowed.
All condoms in the US for example must be at least 170mm long (6.8"). Most are actually 205mm (8") meaning length is rarely inadequate - quite the opposite problem - the majority of men get a 'bunch up' of extra latex at the base of their penis, which not only looks odd but can act a bit like a tourniquet. In Europe we have condoms as small as 3" and as long as 9.5".
As for widths, this is related to something called nominal width, which is the width of the opening of the condom when laid flat. In the US, condoms must have a nominal width between 47-57mm. But in Europe, we get nominal widths of 41-69mm. Some people use mail forwarders to get European condoms into the US.
Q. What does an incorrectly fitting condom look like/what are they meant to look like?
Q. Tell me about THIN condoms – are they just marketing?
Pretty much. There’s no evidence (meaning independent clinical study data) that guys feel more when using thin condoms. That might seem counter-intuitive until you learn that:
1. the difference in latex thickness between regular and 'thin' condoms is approximately 1/5th the thickness of a human hair - about 20 microns
2. there’s up to 15% tolerance during manufacture, because it's so difficult to maintain this tiny difference
3. some manufacturers can only bulk make 'thin' condoms when it's just the tip that is 'thinner'
4. other manufacturers add chemicals to the latex mix to make the latex more transparent, as this is often enough to make people think they are thinner
Not surprisingly it’s a controversial topic – because marketing condoms as ‘thin’ happens to be a really effective way of selling them, and charging more. Fact is, all modern condoms are super thin to start with. Manufacturers argue amongst themselves whether a particular type of condom can be marketed as thin or not.
Q. Tell me about THICK/EXTRA SAFE condoms – are they just marketing hype?
You’d be surprised. A clinical study looked at whether thick condoms (marketed as ‘extra safe’) were any less likely to fail than regular condoms, when used for certain types of sex. The surprising conclusion was that there was no statistically significant difference in failure rates between the two types of condom.
Q. I’ve heard that the withdrawal method is just as effective a method of contraception as condoms are. What gives?
Ultimately you’re relying on the lack of viable sperm in pre-ejaculate. Here’s some study data: "Forty samples of pre-ejaculatory fluid were examined from 27 volunteer men. Samples were obtained by masturbation and by touching the end of the penis with a Petri dish prior to ejaculation. Eleven of the 27 subjects (41%) produced pre-ejaculatory samples that contained spermatozoa and in 10 of these cases (37%), a reasonable proportion of the sperm was motile."
Q. Do penis sizes really differ that much? I’ve always heard they all look the same when erect.
It's exactly the same as all body metrics.. weight, height, foot size, distance between eyes.. a lovely bell curve (amusing choice of term) when plotted on a graph. SFW graphs courtesy of a Lifestyles' survey of erection sizes a few years ago: Length and Circumference. In my work I see penis sizes ranging from 3” to 10” long, and circumference 3.5” to 7.5” every single week. So yes, penis sizes really do differ a lot!
Q. Tell me about available condom sizes
The range of sizes traditionally available is actually really limited. It owes more to clever marketing than anything else. For example, Magnum and Magnum XL have the same length and opening width as each other and both have smaller openings (54mm) than most standard European condoms (55mm). Yet ask an American and they will swear blind that Magnum condoms are for well-endowed guys only.
Conversely, condoms marketed as ‘Close Fit’, ‘Snug’ or ‘Slim’ (industry terms for “small”) are barely any smaller than standard condoms – in fact they’re all still at least 7 inches long!
Q. Tell me more about Magnum condoms – I’m sure they are meant to be just for guys with donkey dicks?
Here's what the VP of marketing at Trojan said about the subject in 2010:
"(the Magnum condom) is the same length as standard condoms, with the same circumference at its base" Mr. Daniels said. “Some people feel more comfortable with that width, but you don’t have to be an overly endowed man to use a Magnum and enjoy it,” he added.
And here’s what Psychology Today said about the same Magnum myth:
“The copy tries to upsell the Trojan customer to Magnum, and the Magnum customer to XL. It's easy to see why men fall for this particular sales pitch. It's also easy to see why Trojan loves Magnums. A box of 12 regular Trojans retails for around $5.99; a box of 12 Magnums or Magnum XLs is $7.99. That's a 33 percent premium. Then there's Magnum Ecstasy, at $10.99 for a box that contains only 10. I doubt that anyone buying a product called "Magnum Ecstasy" does the math, but that's over twice the unit price of the regular Trojans. Were these gloves instead of love gloves, "small," "medium," and "large" would retail for the same price. So the Magnum premium is pure profit.”
A magnum and magnum XL are actually the same size at the base as each other, and in turn very similar to regular condoms:
Magnum: Length 205mm, nominal width 54mm (flare to tip 60mm)
Magnum XL: Length 205mm, nominal width 54mm (flare to tip 65mm)
A regular Durex: Length 205mm, nominal width 55mm (no flare)
The opening (nominal) width is critical for most men as this is usually the widest part of the shaft (and also where the condom 'holds on'). It's a remarkably common myth/meme that Magnum are 'big'.
Insinuating that a condom is for well-endowed guys is remarkably effective at creating sales, however :-D
Q. Dude! Do an IamA!
I did one a while back on the topic of fitted condoms. 190 comments and it was a blast. It’s also how I ended up addicted to Reddit.
Q. What is the BEST condom in your opinion?
Get a condom that fits your penis perfectly. Fit trumps everything else! In fact, one study found that POOR FIT led to a marked increase in problems:
"Results: In controlled, event-speciﬁc, analyses of 436 men, those reporting ill-ﬁtting condoms (44.7%) were signiﬁcantly more likely to report breakage, slippage, difﬁculty reaching orgasm, irritation of the penis, reduced sexual pleasure, interference with erection, erection loss, dryness during sex. Finally, they were more likely to report removing condoms before penile/vaginal sex had ended.
Conclusions: Men and their female sex partners may beneﬁt from public health efforts designed to promote the improved ﬁt of condoms."
Much more work is going into such studies with results to be announced in the coming months.
Q. Why does this concept of one-size-fits-all for condoms even exist? Isn’t it obvious that penises come in lots of different shapes and sizes?
Medical condoms were invented 500 years ago as custom fit, it was only the latex revolution in the 1930s that decided upon making 1 or 2 sizes, and relying on the stretch to do the rest (which does pose the question - what about the small guys? does latex magically shrink to fit them?). Making condoms in only 1 or 2 sizes meaning you can make lots of them, relatively quickly and most importantly.. cheaply.
Most people have been conditioned into thinking that one-size-fits-all is adequate enough when it comes to condoms. Of course, we wouldn't accept such a system for things like shoes, or clothes, where comfortable fit is key to enjoying wearing them.
Q. Sometimes when I am using a condom, a white fluid seems to build up at the base. It looks a lot like semen – has the condom broken?
This is a surprisingly common concern/frequent occurrence. It doesn't help that the fluid looks so similar to semen. It's usually a mix of lady juices and condom lube. Here's an experiment to try next time you're having the fun times, which will hopefully set your mind at rest. Before you ejaculate (but after some time) have a look down. If enough time has passed, it's very likely you'll see exactly the same fluids - ergo it's unlikely to be your semen.
Q. Tell me about NUMBING GEL condoms – are they just marketing?
Desensitising condoms are solid science and there’s some clinical data to back up the mechanism of action. Although, because sex is as much about psychology as it is physiology, telling a guy a condom will make him last longer might have an effect even if it was just a normal condom!
Q. Tell me about "dick maths"
Making condoms means I know more about fitting latex to dicks than is healthy for a straight guy to know :-) I'm also a trained mathematician. Put the two together and you get "Dick Maths" :-D
Here's the math. Take the nominal lay flat width number and multiply it by 2. This gives the equivalent circumference of the un-stretched latex circle. Let's use Magnum XL as our example. Magnum XL condoms have a nominal lay flat width of 54mm.
So in this example, 54mm x 2 = 108mm. Now, if your circumference is any bigger than this number, the latex will need to stretch to fit you, right? And the bigger you are, the more the stretch. Well, a little stretch is a good thing - it's actually necessary to keep the condom in place during the good times. The problem comes when you have too much stretch. Then the condom is going to feel tight, and tight is bad when it comes to putting things on your penis.
So how much stretch is an okay amount? Well, it's a little subjective for sure (some people actually like the sensation of a really tight fit...) but about 20-25% stretch from normal is tolerable for most guys.
So 25% of 108mm = 27mm.
108mm + 27mm = 135mm.
So if your circumference is any greater than 135mm (5.4 inches), you are going to have a bad time with this particular condom. It's likely going to feel much too tight for you at the base.
There are some other cool things about dick math. Latex stretch is not uniform. Little condoms stretch less (proportional to their starting size) than bigger condoms. So the bigger the condom is to start with, the great that % stretch number is.
TL; DR - big dick? you need math to get the right condom
Q. Do some sperm get through the wall of the condom in the couple of seconds they are in the condom before i pull out?
No. Not unless the condom punctures or tears or the semen itself spills out of the condom before you take your penis out. This does not happen unless the condom slips off.
Q. What do you think about the condom industry?
I have lots of thoughts, not many positive! Condom science/math is pretty straight forward. Unfortunately, the industry has recently been overcome with complete nonsense marketing and branding. Some examples:
-'large' brands like XL, or <insert very popular US brand> that are physically little different in width than most standard condoms
-a UK 'XL' condom that is precisely 1mm wider nominal width than the same manufacturer’s standard condom
-ultra thin condoms where the difference in latex thickness is sub-mm (1/5th the thickness of a human hair)
-extra thick condoms where the difference again is sub-mm, and clinical data suggests they are no less likely to break during particularly risky types of sex
-ribs, dots, spirals, flares - where no single clinical study has ever found a link between the 'innovation' and pleasure, for either partner. In fact for ribbed condoms, many women complain that the ribs scoop lube/lady-juice OUT with every thrust - that's bad.
What these misleading things actually do, is put guys off using condoms >full stop<. If you genuinely need a larger condom (or a smaller one) and rightly buy a supposedly larger/smaller condom for your requirements, when you continue to have a bad experience then it puts you off using condoms at all. Nobody stops to question whether their large condom is actually larger, or their small condom actually smaller - because we just assume they genuinely are. I think this sort of activity is doing a lot of damage to people's faith in condoms (especially young people.. if young men have bad experiences with condoms during their formative/teenage years, they are less likely to continue using condoms through their 20's and 30's).
It's time to start being honest with people!
Q. What can I do about sensitivity? Does a condom impact on my sexual pleasure? I can't feel ANYTHING AT ALL/I can't come when I wear a condom
First, check that your condom fits you correctly. A tight condom will kill sensation because the opening will act a little like a tourniquet (rubber band) at the base of your erection. Since it's at the base that all the nerves and blood vessels exit, tightness at this spot is a really bad idea. But loose condoms can have just as much impact - a loose condom will slip and slide, failing to transmit the sensations of sexual intercourse satisfactorily.
The industry spends millions of dollars trying to sell the idea of "<insert condom name> feels like nothing at all".. hello, do they understand what a condom is? A (very thin) layer of latex between peen and vagina. That's NOT how mother nature designed sex.. she made bareback sex awesome through intimacy, flesh-on-flesh engineering. Adding a (very thin) layer of latex to the mix is always going to change that sensation to some degree. But that's not to say condoms can't equal great sex - the trick is to *minimise* the impact they have.
95% of the impact is dealt with by making your condom fit correctly. The right length, and not too tight, or too loose. The other 4% can be dealt with by a few drops of condom-safe lube inside the condom, or applied to your helmet before you put the condom on.
The final 1% of impact? You kinda have to accept that. You're getting laid, after all :-D
Q. Is there any science behind better fitting condoms? I just think.. why hasn't this been addressed before?
It's 2 distinct issues:
1. the current marketing of "xl" condoms, or "magnum", which insinuate they are substantially different when in reality they aren't i.e playing to "ego" - yes, this is mostly horseshit and should be pointed at and shamed
2. the *need* for different sizes of condom - this is most definitely real. More sizes have been called for by the scientific community for over 20 years - a study in 1993 first identified that one-size-fits-all condoms don't fit nearly 50% of men.
Making just 1 or 2 sizes, and relying on marketing to do the rest, means condoms are really easy, quick and cheap to manufacture. But it does absolutely nothing for pleasure, or a secure, safe fit. When you think about it, how crazy that we don't even consider "measuring up" before buying a condom.. of course size (fit) will make a difference. Some of the studies include:
“Self-reported penis size and experiences with condoms among gay and bisexual men”
So the evidence is pretty convincing. As for the concept and belief that men will be more likely to want to use a condom that is more comfortable? That's just common sense.