9 Dec 2006
A news item aired by the BBC on the problem that Indian men face with oversized condoms was bemusing even though it was treating a serious matter. According to the information, condoms designed to meet international size specifications were too big for the penises of most Indian men.
The Indian Council of Medical Research initiated a two-year study involving 1400 men between 18-50 years and found out that 60% of the men in Mumbai had shorter than expected penises to fit the available condoms. The report went as far as stating that the penises were 2.4 cm shorter than those the condoms were made for. It further stated that another 30% had penises that fell short by at least 5 cm.
The consequence of this is that there is a high failure rate (20%) in condom use. Condoms that fit wrongly usually slip off or tear during sexual intercourse thereby depriving the users of protection against STDs and HIV/AIDS.
Condom manufacturers are taking note and will certainly have to tailor-make condoms for the Indian market. With a fast growing HIV/AIDS problem, the issue of proper fitting condoms is very important even as it appears humorous.
It will be erroneous to assume that only Indian penises are short. The Indians have mustered the courage to take these measurements. Many other countries have not done so and many condom users are not even conscious of condom sizes.
In Cameroon, where I reside, men that purchase condoms seldom ask questions pertaining to condom sizes. They are usually embarrassed to raise such questions especially in front of female counter staff in a pharmacy. How can you tell a woman that you have a short or long penis? These are intimate issues that people rather like to keep mute about.
We therefore do not need to giggle as we read about these findings as they may very well be a reflection of our own situation.
No wonder I receive an unusual number of junk mails in my email inbox advertising various forms of ‘penis enlargement’ remedies.
Njei Moses Timah