Dick Insecurity: Should Women Have Sympathy?


Today, Reuters reports that many men refuse to use condoms because they don’t want to buy ones small enough to fit them. Does this kind of penis anxiety deserve our sympathy?

Researchers at the University of Kentucky and the Kinsey Institute studied 436 men and found at 45% said they’d used an ill-fitting condom in the past six months. These men were more likely to report that the condom was uncomfortable, or that it slipped or broke. They were also more likely to remove the condom during sex, which the researchers call “another form of condom failure” and we call “being an asshole.” But just telling dudes to buy condoms that fit might not work — the researchers said men often wouldn’t buy condoms labeled “small” or “medium.”

On the one hand, the idea that masculinity and attractiveness are determined by dick size is stupid and damaging to men. As is oft-repeated, most women don’t care that much about it. This month’s Glamour turns its “Hey, it’s OK” spotlight on dudes, with reader quotes like, “I would personally rather have a smaller dude than a freakishly huge one” and “if he knows how to use what he’s been given — hands and mouth, too — and wants to please, any size works.” The fact that guys are conditioned to think that buying a “small” condom makes them less of a man is just one more way the patriarchy sucks for men too.

But: they should still get the fuck over it. Women are judged harshly for every aspect of our bodies, and now even a size 4 is too fat for some people. But rather than justifying putting a sex partner at risk, female body anxiety is supposed to guilt us into losing weight. And I’m not sure where the researchers found men who eschew “small” and “medium” condoms (maybe they visited this site?). Trojans, like fast food, come in “regular,” “large,” and “extra-large.” Say what you want about vanity sizing, women’s clothing companies don’t bend over backwards like this to boost our self-esteem. So while I’m all for whatever will convince more dudes to wear condoms — perhaps a larger range of fits would be beneficial — I can’t say I have much sympathy for the guy who won’t wrap it up because he’s embarrassed about his dick. After all, I don’t expect my birth control, or any other commercially available product for that matter, to make me feel good about myself. I’m just lucky if it doesn’t make me feel bad.

Poor Fit May Explain Why Men Refuse Condoms [Reuters]

Related: When Size Four Is Too Fat [Broadsheet]

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