I talked to a representative from the UK company TheyFit about problems well-endowed men have with condoms and why the US lags behind Europe in providing jimmy hats for girthy dudes.
Photo via Flickr user TheImpulsiveBuy
Nobody feels sympathy for a guy who complains about his big dick, but possessing a monster cock comes with its share of problems. A long (and I mean looooooong) penis can plop into a toilet when you sit down to poop; an extremely thick cock might have trouble fitting in certain holes. Most critically, many well-endowed men struggle to find condoms that fit them.
Like many sexual health issues, this problem is made more complicated by the government. Although American penises come in all shapes and sizes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only allows condom companies to offer condoms with a minimum length of 6.29 inches and a maximum width of 2.13 inches, making manufacturing or purchasing latex condoms for oddly-shaped protrusions illegal in the US. In recent years, controversies have erupted surrounding condoms—many sex-positive writers have criticized Measure B, a law implemented in 2012 that requires performers to use condoms in pornography filmed in Los Angeles county—but an FDA representative told me the agency hasn't updated its condom rules since 1998.
“The best way I can describe [using an ill-fitted condom] is like putting a larger balloon inside a smaller balloon and trying to keep it blown up,” one guy recently told me about the drugstore condoms he’s tried to wrap around his large dick. “It's not impossible [to wear during sex,] but it definitely will cause red rings on your skin and breaks easily.”
Along with uncomfortable sex, the one-size-fits-all mentality can lead to condom breakages and guys deciding to forego wearing condoms altogether, which of course can result in all sorts of bad consequences. Well-hung men often turn to Trojan Magnums, but this condom is actually only slightly bigger. Where a Magnum has a length of 8.07 inches and a width of 2.13 inches, a Trojan Ultra Thin has a length of 7.59 inches and a width of 2.08 inches. With or without a Magnum, hung guys are screwed.
Europeans rarely face this debacle. Many European states allow condom companies to sell custom-fitted contraceptives to consumers. One such company, UK-based TheyFit, produces condoms in 95 different sizes that can be shipped all over Europe. Customers enter their measurements on TheyFit’s site (if you haven't measured your dick—which I don't believe—you can print out a “FitKit” to find out), and the company tells them their size and ships them condoms in a discrete package. (Their condom wrappers don't include sizes, which is great for smaller guys.)
American men have tried to purchase the condoms, but I was told that the company doesn't "condone or encourage US citizens to ship TheyFit to the USA.” Interested in learning more about custom condoms and the problems of having a large penis, I called Thomas Newman, a customer support agent, at TheyFit to discuss dicks and American health laws.
VICE: How does TheyFit work?
Thomas Newman: We make custom-fit condoms, so whatever size condom a particular gentleman requires. We don't cater to just the big guys, just the small guys, just the average guys—we cater to all the guys. Obviously, those who are particularly small or particularly large, or particularly atypical, come to us the most distressed and eager to fix their issue because they have suffered the most from the traditional sizes.
Why can’t you sell condoms to US customers?
Condoms are actually regulated medical devices, so it's a very serious business. You have to have permission from the medical regulator. We worked hard to get that permission in Europe. We're working hard to get official approval for the US and also for Canada.
Photo courtesy of TheyFit
Why should guys avoid wearing condoms that are too small for their penises?
Lots of guys who say they can't feel anything when using a condom don't realize that they're actually using a condom that's too small for them. The latex has to stretch to fit the penis. The stretching force is then reciprocated back onto the flesh of the penis—it has an equal and opposite interacting force. That force pressing on the penis compresses the nerve endings and the blood vessels that run through an erect penis, and that's what starts to impact what men feel and the pleasure they have from sex. What quickly happens is a guy then refuses to use the condom. Our research and our experience from the last two and a half years shows that all they have to do is adjust the size of the condom and they can have a great time with safe sex.
How does the measurement process work?
The measurement process is as simple as you might expect. To find the correct condom size, you simply have to measure up. Obviously people tend to have a funny reaction to that. You get aroused, have an erection, and you measure the length and the circumference. You enter that information online on our website, and we'll tell you which condom is going to be the best fit for you.
We allow a satisfaction guarantee. You can try us out, and if for whatever reason you're not happy, we'll give you all your money back no questions asked. We rarely [have to give money back] because people have such a great time—or occasionally people are a little nervous or anxious when they measure it up, so they will find that they'll be slightly bigger when they're not nervous and make a slight adjustment to their size. We say to that person, “Absolutely fine.” We offer a 50 percent rebate if a customer needs to adjust, but most get it right the first time.
What are the problems associated with ordinary condoms?
There is a lot of marketing around larger condoms. There are two ways: One is to imply that they are just for men that are well-endowed, such as Magnum and XL. The other way is to imply that the condom is thin and with thinner latex you will feel more. Both of those marketing tactics are very questionable. For example, in the US everyone knows Magnum condoms. Over in Europe we don't really have any understanding over what Magnum condoms are—a big company over here is Durex. When you look at the normal width of a standard Durex condom that is sold all across Europe, it is actually wider than a Trojan Magnum. The real issue there is that if you're a guy who genuinely needs a larger condom, you might go and try [Magnum], thinking it's a larger condom, and have a bad time, and then just think that condoms are no good and that you can't use them.
How do you plan to change the way guys use condoms?
This potentially can affect millions of men. The biggest problem [with condoms] is that people don't use them. In the heat of the moment, the guy either doesn't have one or chooses not to use one because he thinks it will impact his pleasure. We go straight to the heart of that, we fix that, and we convert guys—especially young guys into “OK. Actually, I can use a condom and enjoy sex.” That's a good thing.
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