Understanding problems with condom fit and feel: An important opportunity for improving clinic-based safer sex programs

Richard A. Crosby, Robin R. Milhausen, Kristen P. Mark, William L. Yarber, Stephanie A. Sanders, Cynthia A. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate gender differences and other demographic correlates of condom fit and feel problems among a diverse sample of adult condom users and to examine men's and women's perceptions and experiences with condom fit and feel problems. Participants were recruited from an electronic mailing list. The analytic sample (N = 949) included self-identified heterosexual men (n = 771) and women (n = 178) who reported using condoms for penile-vaginal or penile-anal intercourse in the past 3 months. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied. Of the sample, 38.3 % reported experiencing at least one condom fit or feel problem. Problems with condom fit during sex did not differ significantly by gender (p =.73). Perceptions of specific condom use problems were organized into five themes: (1) decreased sensation, (2) lack of naturalness, (3) condom size complaints, (4) decreased pleasure, and (5) pain and discomfort. In this diverse sample, there was a high prevalence of condom fit and feel issues among women as well as men. These issues, mostly focused on loss of pleasure, represent a substantial public health problem and thus warrant attention in safer sex programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Support for this project was provided, in part, by The Social Justice and Sexual Health Research Centre at the University of Windsor, Ontario, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University, and the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, a joint project of Indiana University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Kentucky.


  • Condom feel
  • Condom fit
  • Condom use
  • Condoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding problems with condom fit and feel: An important opportunity for improving clinic-based safer sex programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this