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For many men, the first hint that they've got a large penis is when they first try to put on a standard-sized condom they bought at the store or got for free at a health clinic. It's a struggle to roll it down and kind of painful, but nobody ever told them how a condom was supposed to fit or feel, so they just assume that's how it's supposed to be and don't know if they're using the right size of condom.

Here are the top 7 signs you're not using big enough condoms.

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1. The condom is hard to put on

Condoms aren't supposed to be difficult to put on. You're supposed to just be able to place the condom on the tip of your erect penis and slide your hand down the shaft, easily unrolling the condom as it goes. They're meant to be easy to put on, and for the majority of men they are.

But if your penis is too thick for the condom you're trying to use, then it's going to be difficult. Though condoms are latex and designed to stretch for a secure fit and to be comfortable on men near the average, they're only designed to stretch so far. When they're stored in their rolled-up packaging state, that stretch becomes even more difficult to manage on a larger dick.

2. The condom is painfully tight

So you're thinking that it's just the rolled-up ring of latex that's too tight, once you get it down it'll be fine? Maybe not. Even though latex can stretch pretty far (though that decreases its strength and increases points of breakage), it squeezes ever tighter the more you stretch it.

Latex desperately wants to return to its original shape, and while that's great for a secure fit when the condom is the correct size, on a larger penis it'll squeeze tightly and can cause pain at the base and up the shaft. Most condoms are longer than most dicks, so there's frequently still some unrolled condom plus an intentionally thicker ring at the base and that can really increase the pressure. A properly sized condom will only apply a small amount of squeezing pressure, just enough to stay on.

3. You can't feel anything when wearing the condom

It's no surprise that condoms can diminish sensation. It's a common complaint, and common sense that putting a layer of latex between you and your partner will lessen the sensations you feel. But that effect should be minimal.

A condom that is too tight may dramatically impact your sensitivity. The pressure can clamp down on both the blood supply into your penis and the nerves in it, seriously dampening what you feel. And when you can't feel, it's harder to get the stimulation you need in order to orgasm. While lasting longer in bed is a thing that a lot of men may wish for, if you've got a large penis that can also be a literal pain for your partner.

4. The condom keeps rolling up

Counterintuitively, a condom rolling back up or sliding off is both a sign that a condom may be too large or too small. For smaller guys, there's not enough grip to keep the condom in place. For bigger guys, especially those with dicks that have a tapered shape, the excessive pressure and the latex's desire to return to its original shape can lead the condom sliding back up to the tip where it's less stretched out.

5. The condoms keeps breaking

Condom breakage can be a sign that you need more lubrication (friction is the enemy), but it's also a huge red flag that your condom isn't big enough. Latex condoms can stretch a lot — we've all seen a condom stretched over a head or arm, but they can only stretch so much and still maintain their structural integrity under the vigorous thrusting that sex often entails.

That's when you end up with broken condoms. Lube can help somewhat, but you're still fighting the laws of physics here.

A condom breaking is the absolute worst case scenario — it's literally failing to do what you need it to do! A broken condom can't protect against STI transmission. A broken condom won't stop ejaculate from causing pregnancy. A broken condom is a useless condom!

6. You lose your erection after putting on the condom

This wraps up points 2 and 3 in the worst possible way. It's worth remembering that your dick is powered 100% by blood flow, so clamping down too much on it can cut down on the amount of blood going in and thus make it hard to maintain an erection.

Some pressure can be a good thing. Most blood flow into the penis occurs through interior arteries (though there is some on the outside), with outbound flow happening primarily through veins on the surface. So some light pressure around the base can be a good thing to help increase pressure on those outbound veins and make erections a bit stronger and easier to maintain.

Too much pressure starts clamping down on the deeper inbound flow of blood, eliminating the pressure required to sustain the erection. A condom that is too tight can almost immediately start to kill your erection, and the frustration and despair that can cause will only further hurt your arousal.

7. The condom leaves a red ring or indentation

It was a struggle, but you forced the condom on. You got through sex without it breaking it, managed to keep your erection despite the reduced sensitivity, and got to orgasm. With the deed done, you take off the condom and you're left with an indented red ring around the base of your cock where the ring of latex at the bottom of the condom unsuccessfully tried to squeeze the life out of your boner.

Guess what? That's not supposed to happen.

How a condom should fit

person holding white and red plastic pack

The best word to describe a properly fitting condom would be "snug". It should roll on with minimal effort, stay in place during sex, and not cut off circulation or sensation. It certainly shouldn't break. When properly sized, worn, and used, condoms are 98% effective — which is pretty darn good.

A good way to test if a condom is a good fit is to masturbate with it. Get hard, lube up a hand, and go to town (though make sure not to grip too tightly). If the condom generally stays in place while you're masturbating and doesn't easily slide off if you grab onto the tip and pull, then it's not too loose. If it also doesn't do any of the above "too tight signs", then it's a good fit.

For men greater than 6.5 inches girth there's some bad news, though. Even the largest traditional condoms at 69mm nominal width will be on the tight side, so there's not really anything you can do but get the biggest condoms you can find and accept that it's going to be somewhat tight.

How to pick the right condom

There's no excuse for not getting condoms that are as close to a good fit as you can find. We no longer live the the olden days of extremely limited condom sizes; there's a condom available to fit almost every man. If you've struggled with getting condoms to fit, or have a partner who claims they're too big for condoms, then it's time to shop around for some new protection.

Girth is the most important aspect to proper condom fit; most condoms are longer than most penises, so it's not a problem if some is left still rolled up at the base when you put it on — as long as it's not too tight overall. So the first thing you need to do is to measure your girth.

  1. Get as fully erect as you can. Have a tailor's tape measure or a narrow strip of paper nearby.
  2. Wrap the measuring device around the thickest part of your shaft. Tighten it to where it is snug enough not to freely move, but not so tight that it is compressing your penis.
  3. Note where the measure overlaps. That’s your girth.
  4. Plug your girth measurement into our Condom Fit Finder for a selection of condoms that will fit your dick and stores where you can buy them.

Find a properly fitting condom