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There’s a condom for everyone

If you find condoms uncomfortable or think they ruin sex then you’ve just not found the right one for you! Find out about the different types of condoms and how to measure your size.

Condoms act as a barrier to stop fluids being transferred between sexual partners, allowing you to have safer sex.

Sometimes condoms can feel uncomfortable, break or come off during sex, and some people think that they reduce intimacy and enjoyment of sex.

But finding the right condom for you can help with all these problems!

Did you know…?

Condoms are the only form of contraception to protect from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as unwanted pregnancy. You have the right to choose to use condoms every time you have sex, and if your partner wants you to use a condom you should respect their wishes.


Penises are all unique– there’s no such thing as a standard penis. Luckily condoms come in various sizes too! So you can find the one that’s best for you.

It’s better that a condom has more length or less width rather than be too wide or too short.   


Not only does condom size affect comfort, pleasure and enjoyment for both parties but using the wrong size leaves you and your sexual partner vulnerable to STIs and pregnancy as the condom is more likely to split or slip off.

Condoms are designed to stretch but wearing the wrong size can cause problems…

  • If you wear a condom that feels too big or doesn’t cover the whole penis, it may slip off during sex
  • If the condom is too long or wide, it may roll up a lot at the base of the penis or be saggy around the mid-section, which can be uncomfortable
  • A condom that’s too tight can be at risk of splitting

Condoms generally come in three different sizes: small, medium and large. Sizes can differ between brands so always check the packaging to work out which one is for you based on your measurements. If your size does not match a condom size exactly, choose the nearest size and try out different sizes until you find the most comfortable option for you.

How to measure your penis

You need to measure both the length and width of your penis. The width will affect the fit of the condom while the length needs to cover the entire shaft.

  1. Find a measuring tape or ruler and make sure your penis is erect (hard).
  2. Place a ruler/measuring tape at the base of your penis, ensuring you measure from base to the very tip of your penis. This will tell you the length of your penis (in mm).
  3. Wrap a measuring tape (or piece of string which you can then line up against a ruler) around your penis to find out it’s circumference (in mm).
  4. Use these measurements to decide which size is for you according to the condom box packaging or the size charts online.

Internal condoms

If you’re struggling to find a condom that is the right size for you, you could look at internal condoms. These can be used for vaginal and anal sex.


The most common material for condoms to be made from is latex, but you can get condoms made from other materials.


Latex, a natural material which comes from rubber trees, is the most common material for condoms.


   Easy to buy or get for free

  Biodegradable if 100% latex

   Some people are allergic to latex and cannot use this type of condom

   Cannot be used with oil-based lubes which can cause the condom to break and degrade


Polyurethane condoms are made from a synthetic plastic material that allows for a looser fit than latex condoms

   Alternative for people with latex allergies

   Thinner material and transfers heat better which some people prefer as it can mean you can feel more of your partner and less of the condom

   Can be used with oil-based lube

   Not biodegradable

   Less stretchy than latex condoms

   Slightly more expensive than other condom types


Polyisoprene is a synthetic rubber material that is stretchier and softer than polyurethane and is more similar to latex

   As stretchy as latex condoms

   Alternative for people with latex allergy

   Cheaper than polyurethane

   Cannot be used with oil-based lubes which can cause the condom to break and degrade

   Slightly more expensive than latex condoms


Lambskin condoms are made from lamb intestines. Lambskin condoms are not advisable as they do not protect against STIs

   Does NOT protect against STIs


   Harder to get hold of


  Can be used with oil-based lube

  Alternative for those who are allergic to latex

Eco-friendly tip!

Condoms are single use and should NOT be reused. However, there are ways you can limit your environmental impact from condom use:   

Always throw condoms in the bin, never flush them or leave them anywhere else as they can take many years to biodegrade.

Choose latex over polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms if possible – latex comes from rubber trees and is biodegradable whereas polyisoprene and polyurethane are made from a plastic material that does not decompose.

100% latex condoms are completely biodegradable and are vegan friendly – these are now widely available online and in stores.


You can buy condoms in different thicknesses ranging from extra thin to extra thick.

Some people prefer thinner condoms as they are less noticeable and maximise feeling. Other people prefer extra thick condoms and the maximum protection they get from STIs and pregnancy. It’s all about what feels right for you!

You can also buy textured condoms. These are normally ribbed or dotted and they can help enhance pleasure for both parties.

Other types of condom

  • Flavoured condoms – some people like to use these for oral sex. Flavours include strawberry and chocolate.
  • Condoms that delay male ejaculation – these might be worth a try if you are worried about finishing too quickly.
  • Glow in the dark condoms.
  • Lubricated condoms – these come with lube already applied to them so you don’t have to worry about which lube is compatible.
  • Condoms with warming or cooling sensations
  • Flared condoms – condoms with more room for the end of the penis. This can make them easier to put on, and more comfortable.
  • Internal condoms – these are inserted into the vagina or anus rather than covering the penis.


Some condoms contain spermicide which is a chemical that immobilises sperm. You should avoid using spermicide condoms as there is evidence that they don’t protect against STIs and may possibly even increase your risk.

Trial and error

With so much choice, there’s no excuse for not wearing a condom if you’re sexually active.

More about condom excuses and comebacks

Buying the first condom you see in the shop is unlikely to be the best one for you. Instead test different types, brands, thicknesses and textures until you find one that suits your needs and preferences – and always buy the right size!

If you still find condoms uncomfortable, you can practice putting them on and using them in private when masturbating before involving a sexual partner. You should communicate any concerns you have about condoms with your sexual partner(s) so you can work through them together whilst having safe sex that protects you both from STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

More about talking about condoms

Thank you to Pasante for providing the content for this webpage.

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NHS video about how to choose the right size condom
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