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Rather than condom reform, try slipping on the right size

“It’s time for a new condom.”

That phrase, usually indicative of a good night, can be used in many different scenarios. In this instance, it refers to Bill Gates’ competition to invent a new condom.

Gates announced earlier this month that he will give a $100,000 grant to whoever can come up with a legitimate plan to create a newly designed, more pleasurable condom for men.

Perhaps Gates just got tired of using the same old condom with his wife. If he did, he’s not alone. A study at Indiana University found that adults over the age of 40 use condoms the least.

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There is certainly a need for a new condom design, as the current design hasn’t been modified for 50 years. Sure, condom companies have experimented with textures over time in attempts at making condom’s more pleasurable, but the basic shape of the condom has remained the same. Even people who have never had sex know that condoms diminish the sexual experience.

While the idea is great, there may be another factor in the problem: men aren’t wearing the right sized condom.

A study by The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction found that poorly fitting condoms may contribute to condom-associated erection problems in young heterosexual men, and a study by Center for Sexual Health Promotion found that penile dimensions played a part in how men interpret a condom’s fit and feel.

College-aged males generally don’t normally measure the length and girth of their penis and apply it to condom use. Sure, most guys have probably tried to see how “big” they are, but it’s not like teenage boys go to the doctor to be fitted for condoms as if they were ordering a penis suit.

If we’re being honest, guys, we usually tend to think that we’re more endowed than we actually are, and buying condoms is an uncomfortable experience — even more so if you’re standing in the aisle brooding over what size to get, which often leads guys to succumb to their pride and pick out that Trojan Magnum.

Condom companies have been generous to the male ego, they never use the word small when advertising their products, but that still doesn’t stop some people from going for a bigger size at the store.

If sizing matters (see what I did there?) in the experience of wearing a condom, then it should be important for men to have an accurate measure of their penis size so that they can buy condoms that fit correctly. Knowing their size would encourage people to use condoms more, which would then go a long way in STD prevention.

Gates’ contest to design the newest condom is admirable and will probably change condom use for the better, but we’re still far away from the release of whatever the contest produces.

Admittedly, no one wants to go to the doctor to get their junk measured, but just one little (or big) measurement in the privacy of your room can go a long way in increasing sexual pleasure.

And yes, there’s even an app for that.

Editors Note: An earlier version of this column said the University of Indiana instead of Indiana University. The mistake has been corrected.

— Dan Desrochers is the opinions editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @drdesrochers.


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