Call for NHS to provide bigger condoms
Some condoms are too small. It's official. For years we've heard blokes saying: 'I can't use condoms because they're too small.' Those of us who snorted at this and pointed out that the average condom would happilly stretch over a cucumber may have been mistaken.
To mark this week's Sexual Health Week, the fpa is calling for the NHS to provide a wider selection of condoms in different sizes and shapes to enable individuals to use the method more successfully. Condoms that don't fit properly are more likely to tear or come off, increasing the risk of unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, they point out.
The fpa's research shows that 35% of current or past users of condoms have experienced a condom splitting or coming off during sex, but 64% of this group did not know why this had happened or what had gone wrong with its use.
When questioned, 25% of respondents had no idea that condoms come in different lengths and widths. Studies show that one of the influencing factors in condoms splitting or slipping is because they don't fit properly.
A further 43% agreed that both men and women don't talk about condom sizes because they get embarrassed talking about penis size, yet finding the right fit can improve confidence in the method. Poor fit can reduce sexual pleasure and contributes to negative views of condoms.
Commenting on the findings fpa's Director of Information, Toni Belfield said 'Men come in different shapes and sizes and so do condoms. Poor use of condoms can have devastating consequences on people's sexual health.
'Problems such as condoms splitting or coming off are directly related to people choosing the wrong size and shape or not using them correctly. When this happens, people lose trust and confidence in the method. As a direct consequence, people are then far more likely to use condoms erratically or stop using them altogether.
'We receive many calls from our national helpline from people about condoms As a way of protecting public health, the reasons why some people experience problems using condoms needs to be explored.
'The NHS is the largest distributor of free condoms in the UK. The fpa would like to see a much wider variety of condoms made available so that people can chose a fit that is right for them from a good selection. We would also like to see health professionals talk to clients about condoms during consultations and tackle some of the embarrassment that exists around condom use.'
Page created on August 8th, 2006
Page updated on January 16th, 2010