Self-Reported Penis Size and Experiences with Condoms Among Gay and Bisexual Men.

Published: May 3, 2012


As researchers and community-based providers continue to encourage latex condom use as a chief strategy to prevent HIV transmission among men who have sex with men, research is needed to better explore the intersecting associations among penis size (length and circumference), condom feel, ease of finding condoms, recent experience of condom failure (breakage and slippage), and unprotected anal sex. Data were taken from a 2010 community-based survey of self-identified gay and bisexual men in New York City (n = 463). More than half (51.4 %) reported penile length as 6-8 in. long (15-20 cm) and 31.5 % reported penile circumference as 4-6 in. around (10-15 cm). Variation in self-reported penile dimensions was significantly associated with men’s attitudes toward the typical/average condom, difficulty finding condoms that fit, and the experience of condom breakage. Men who had engaged in recent unprotected insertive anal intercourse reported significantly higher values for both penile length and circumference, and these men were significantly more likely to report that the average/typical condom was "too tight." Most men had measured their length (86.2 %) and/or circumference (68.9 %), suggesting that penile measurement might be a common and acceptable practice among gay and bisexual men. As HIV and STI prevention providers continue to serve as leading distributers of free condoms, these findings further highlight the need for condom availability to be in a variety of sizes. Improving condom fit and attitudes toward condoms may also improve condom use and minimize condom slippage and breakage.

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