As sexual accouterments go, condoms aren’t anyone’s favorite. Long bemoaned for their ill fit and propensity to diminish sensation, condoms are usually seen as a necessary, but frustrating, health precaution.
One Boston-based company is aiming to radically change that. The company, Global Protection Corp., is selling custom-fit condoms in 60 sizes, in combinations of 10 lengths and nine circumferences. This offering is the result of years of pressing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and industry standards associations to make changes to condom requirements.
“Condoms have an enormous image problem,” the company’s president, Davin Wedel, told the New York Times. The new options, marketed under the brand name myONE Perfect Fit, attempt to not only address the physical issues of size and slippage in standard condoms but to also make the condom purchase a better experience for consumers.
“If they bought a small condom before and it was still too big, it’s horrible for men to have that experience,” said Mr. Wedel, whose company owns myONE condoms.
The myONE condoms offer lengths ranging from 4.9 to 9.4 inches and circumferences of 3.5 to 5 inches, while standard condoms are typically 6.7 to 8.3 inches long and 3.9 to 4.5 inches in circumference. As an extra touch, the company has customers use a template to measure themselves that does not include inches or centimeters. The 60 different sizes have names like B17 or E22, rather than extra small or extra wide.
The custom-fit condoms are hitting the market in the U.S. for the first time after years of lobbying the F.D.A. In order to gain clearance, condoms had to pass certain tests, like the “hang-and-squeeze,” during which condoms are filled with water and squeezed to see if they leak, and the “airburst” exam, which tests whether the condom breaks when inflated. Both of these tests were designed for larger condoms. The smaller sizes offered by myONE Perfect Fit couldn’t pass until the F.D.A. recently decided to allow a greater range of sizes.
Custom condoms have been available in Europe since 2011, under the brand name TheyFit, also owned by Global Protection Corp. Canadians can currently order condoms through TheyFit. The company hopes to obtain clearance to sell the myONE brand in Canada soon, as Health Canada recognizes both American and European standards.
As the only birth control method that protects against all sexually-transmitted diseases, condom usage is a public health issue: namely: how to get more people to use something that doesn’t feel good. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored a competition in 2013 to garner ideas for making condoms more enticing; the competition has yet to put anything on the market.
Mr. Wedel hopes that myONE will fill the need for a better fit, while also bolstering public health. As the company website asserts, “we believe that proper condom fit is the next great frontier in helping people have incredible sex with condoms — thus helping increase condom use overall.”