Condom sizes are… confusing. You're standing there at the store shelves, trying to figure out what size you need to get and it's just not at all clear what's what. A lot don't list a size at all, some say "snug" or "large" and there are others that claim to be "XXL". Turns out there's a science to condom sizing, and it's not something that's beeb well explained to the masses.
It's time to clear the air around condom sizing, nominal width, and what fits best on your penis.
How are condoms sized?
Girth, i.e. your penis's circumference, is the most important measurement in choosing a condom. Condoms are labeled by their “nominal width”. This is not your penis's girth nor its diameter; it’s the width of the condom when unrolled and laid flat, i.e. half of the condom’s circumference.
You might be thinking that you can just divide your girth in half to get your nominal width, but there's also a 10-20% stretch factor for the latex to take into account. So it's not that simple.
A properly sized condom is very important. Condoms are a vital tool in preventing unwanted pregnancy and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. A condom that is too big for your penis can slip off, leaving you fishing it out of your partner. One that's too small can burst from being stretched too far, not to mention being too tight can squeeze the blood and sensitivity out of your dick. A right-sized condom fits well and stays put and whole through even the most vigorous of sex.
What about length?
Most condoms are longer than most dicks; they’re designed to work fine without unrolling all the way.
Seriously, "regular" size condoms are designed for an average-sized 4.75-inch girth but are almost all at least 7 inches long, even though the average erect penis is more than an inch shorter than that. Why to condom manufacturer's do this? Regulatory requirements dictate that they must so a single regular-sized condom can fit a wide range of lengths in the middle of the girth spectrum.
How does nominal width relate to my dick?
We've got an in-depth guide to measuring your penis, but we'll break it down to just what you need to know here.
Measure your girth by snuggly wrapping a tailor's tape measure around the thickest exposed part of the shaft. Don't measure the glans (head/tip) or any of your penis that's hidden under your pubic fat pad. Also ensure that you're not wrapping any scrotal skin up in your measurement. While you likely want the biggest number you can claim, remember that this isn't about vanity — this is about proper fit and safety.
Don't have a tailor's tape? Cut a strip of paper, wrap it around your dick, mark where it overlaps, and measure that distance instead.
Here's how to determine the recommended nominal width for your penis:
- Girth in inches: multiply by 11.5
- Girth in centimeters: multiply by 4.5
This gets you your condom nominal width in millimeters (mm). This is just a recommendation; every condom brand is slightly different (some stretch more than others) and every guy's preferences and dick shape are different too. This number is where to start; you might prefer one that's a bit narrower or a bit wider.
A good rule of thumb is to keep within 5mm above or below your recommended nominal width. You don't have to find a precise fit; latex condoms do stretch, after all.
I suck at math, can't you just tell me what size I need?
Fiiiiine. Here's how your girth corresponds to an appropriate nominal width:
For those that prefer tables to peruse, here it is all laid out for you:
|Girth||Condom nominal width|
|4.0" 10 cm||45mm|
|4.25" 11 cm||47 mm|
|4.5" 11.5 cm||49 mm|
|4.75" 12 cm||52 mm|
|5.0" 12.5 cm||56 mm|
|5.25" 13.5 cm||60 mm|
|5.5" 14 cm||63 mm|
|5.75" 14.5 cm||66 mm|
|6.0" 15.5 cm||69 mm|
|6.25" 16 cm||72 mm|
These calculations are meant to get you into the ballpark of a right size and it may take some trial and error around that number to find the right condom for you.
A few helpful notes:
- 45 mm is the smallest condom size currently on the market.
- 51-52 mm is the size of most "regular" condoms.
- 54 mm is where you'll find so-called "large" Trojan Magnum condoms; Magnum XL is 56 mm.
- 64 mm are the largest condoms for currently on sale in the USA; internaional markets have access condoms up to 72 mm nominal width, which are available for import to the United States.
If your girth is larger than 6.75 inches, you should take a look at the FC2 Female Condom.
What should I look for at the store?
If your girth is under 4.5 inches, you should look for "snug", "slim", or "secure" fit condoms.
If your girth is in the range of 4.5 to 5 inches, congratulations, you can use any regular size condom on the shelf. These typically won't list any "size" at all. You have a wide range of condoms to choose from, including flavored, textured, and let novelties.
If your girth is between 5 and 5.5 inches, the "large" or "XL" options on the shelf will likely fit you okay. In a pinch, regular condoms will work okay, but they'll be on the tight side.
If your girth is between 5.5 and 6 inches, there is currently only one condom on store shelves that will be a proper fit for you: the 64mm Durex XXL. This isn't yet available in most stores, and is currently only in the USA.
If your girth is greater than 6 inches, you'll only find well-fitting condoms online, such as the 69mm Pasante Super King or the new 72mm MySize Pro.
Honestly, if your girth is over 5.5 inches you should just buy a stock of appropriately sized condoms to keep on hand for when you need them. Retail availability for extra large condoms is spotty at best, so you need to do the prep work to set yourself up for success.
MyOne 4545mm nominal width
(Formerly MyOne 55) These offer a slim 45mm nominal width and a choice of lengths from 4.7 to 5.6 inches, MyOne 45 offers not just a snug fit, but also one with just as much length as you need.
Caution Wear Iron Grip 50mm condoms50mm nominal width
For the man that prefers a snugger fit, there's Iron Grip. With a 50mm nominal width, these will hug you tighter than regular size condoms.
Trojan Bareskin 53mm condoms53mm nominal width
Large and in charge — and latex free! An excellent fit for the man with above-average girth, available in 10- and 20-packs. Thin yet safe, these condoms will fit most men with ease.
Lifestyles Skyn Elite Large 56mm condoms56mm nominal width
Large and in charge — and latex free! An excellent fit for the man with above-average girth, available in 10- and 20-packs.
Lelo Hex Respect XL 58mm condoms58mm nominal width
A comfortably roomy condom for the above-average man with a unique hexagonal latex that's strong, yet thin, to maximize pleasure for you and your partner.
Durex XXL 64mm condoms64mm nominal width
New to the market in 2020, the redesigned Durex XXL condoms offer a 64mm nominal width in a cylindrical shaft that's roomy from base to tip. At 8 inches they're also among the longest you can buy.
Pasante Super King 69mm condoms69mm nominal width
One of the widest condoms available anywhere, the Pasante Super King is a great fit for men with 6 inches of girth or more.
My.Size Pro 7272mm nominal width
Say hello to the new largest traditional condom on the market, the 72mm nominal width My.Size Pro 72. Made from hypoallergenic Vytex latex, this condom is made for the thickest of penises.