Teaching Teens About Condom Size

measuring tapeNational Condom Week 2015 is here!  From Feb. 14th to Feb. 21st, we are celebrating by providing a new article every day about condom use and education, written by prominent sexual health advocates.

Today is a short and pithy piece by sex educator Melanie Davis. She argues that it is important to teach our teens about condom size and fit sooner rather than later. All too often that first experience is with the wrong size condom leaving many young people frustrated and quickly conclude that condoms either don’t feel good or simply are not made in their size.

We can overcome the myth that condoms are one-size-fits-all by informing young people about the variety of sizes, shapes and types of condoms available. Also, explaining how to gauge one’s condom size and encouraging experimentation with sample packs is important. This should be part of basic sex education, argues Melanie.

 This article was originally published here

BY MELANIE DAVIS, PhD | MelanieDavisPhD.com

Kudos to you, if you’ve talked to your teens (of any gender) about using condoms during oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse. I’d like to encourage you to take another step that may be more awkward but is just as important: Talk about condom sizes and shapes.

Condoms can enhance sexual enjoyment or limit it, and getting the right fit can affect whether people will use condoms consistently. Penises come in many sizes, and condoms that are too short or too long can, respectively, slip off or create an uncomfortably tight roll at the base of the penis. Pleasure is another factor, as some new condom shapes allow more movement within the condom, which increases a natural feel — especially when a small amount of lubricant is dripped into the condom prior to it being placed on the erect penis. Some partners enjoy different sensations from textured condoms.

Dr. Paul Joannides, author of “The Guide to Getting It On,” posted a terrific video that explains the whys and wherefores of new condom shapes and sizes (however, this video is no longer available online). But I encourage you and your teen to read his book.

I recently spoke to a parent who encouraged his 13-year-old to keep condoms in his backpack at all times — even though he wasn’t yet sexually active. The dad’s rationale? It takes a long time to build up a habit, and he wants his son to be comfortable carrying condoms by the time he needs them. He also bought condoms in bulk and, when his son asked to practice with them, encouraged his son to use them during masturbation. This is a clever idea because it will link sexual pleasure to a potentially life-saving practice of consistent condom use.

Unsure what size

melanie_davisMELANIE DAVIS, PHD, consults with individuals and couples to help them build sexual knowledge, comfort, and pleasure through the New Jersey Center for Sexual Wellness. Through her firm Honest Exchange LLC, she provides professional development in sexuality. She’s a popular speaker on self-esteem and body image, and the sexual impact of cancer, menopause and aging. She’s an AASECT-Certified Sexuality Educator. On Twitter @DrMelanieDavis