In our research on STDs and condoms we came across a several fun and a few shocking facts about condoms. Here’s BeforeWeDo’s Top 10.
1) The first rubber condom was introduced in 1855. Young Rubber Company from the United States was the first to produce latex condoms. Their “Trojan” brand has been around for 90 years (but was subsequently bought by Church & Dwight). Little known however is that before World War 1 most condoms were actually produced by Germany and exported around the world.
|Condom advertising displayed at the Dittrick Museum
2) A 15,000 Year History. Wow!
Before that, chemically treated linen cloth, animal skins and intestines and tortoise shells were used for contraception. The shells for example covered the penile gland only. Historians speculate loincloths worn by wealthier individuals also served as contraception when the urges hit. Reliability must have been an issue: Casanova used to blow up his condoms before donning them to check for holes! Check out the below 10,000 to 13,000 B.C. cave painting from the French Grottes des Combarelles apparently showing a man using a condom-like covering.
3) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has offered a grant 100,000 US$ to sponsor the development of the Next Generation Condom.
The goal is to find a pleasure-enhancing condom! We applaud the Gates Foundation’s effort to improve today’s condoms and further de-stigmatize condoms! A main contender is the Origami Condom, designed and produced in California. The condom folds unfolds in line with your natural movement. It fits more loosely than traditional latex condoms sacrificing none of the safety and the additional friction due to the folding movement creates additional sensation. Alas, it won’t be available on the market before 2015 due to the FDA’s approval process!
Origami’s folding male condom - due in 2015
4) 80% - that’s the average effectiveness of condoms in preventing STDs and pregnancy. Sounds low?
Well, effectiveness in ideal use is roughly 97%. Most of us - me admittedly included - make less than ideal use of it. In 18% of cases we commit errors such as not grabbing the condoms base when pulling out, not checking expiry dates or touching the outside with our penis before putting it on…
For a more detailed summary see the Sex Out Loud blog or this study linking common mistakes with the amount of prostate-specific antigen found in vaginal fluids.
5) Magnum Condoms are a marketing marvel or has there been a growth spurt in US penis size?
Nobody seems to want to be seen buying a “small: condom (the industry term is ‘snug fit’). Between 2000 and 2010 Magnum sales grew 14% taking up 18.8% of the market. Magnum condoms produced by US market leader Trojan were propelled to fame by the likes of Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma and Ludacris. The Magnum condoms measure 8.07 inches in length and 2.13 in diameter. See below for the average American size. Some men report that the looser fitting condoms are more comfortable. Well, almost time for the weekend - so let’s pick up some ego-boosting Magnums!
|Magnum ad featuring Ludacris
Also very entertaining, Onion Slayer’s penile size world map:
6) The largest condom manufacturer sits in… Malaysia.
In a predominantly muslim country Karex Industry reportedly produces around 3bn condoms and holds around 25% of global market share by quantity. The US government is its largest customer via USAID. However, Reckitt Benickser’s Durex leads the market in terms of value with a market share of 30%.
7) Men lie about their penis sizes.
Americans of all color overstate their penis length. While African Americans overstate by 1 inch (7.9 to 6.9 inches), white Americans overstate by 1.7 inches claiming 6.8 inches but measuring 5.1 inches on average. In a European study the French report to need the largest condoms (6.09 inches) but come out slightly below European average (which is 5.7 inches). That said, studies in Europe vary a lot. alphadesigner as well as the corresponding Daily Mail article give further information.
|Europe according to penile sizes
8) Do condoms made out of animal bladder, stomach and other intestines sound gross to you?
They’ve been used for centuries and they are still used today. Not vegetarian-friendly, they are an alternative for lovers with a latex allergy. They’re sometimes also referred to as lambskins, but the professional term is ‘natural membrane condoms’.
|Animal membrane condom
The Durex US website doesn’t list any non-latex condoms, but both Trojan and LifeStyles sell more advanced version of their historic cousin.
9) Outright scary: condom sabotage.
In a study of single, heterosexual guys who’ve had at least one unprotected encounter in the last year the researchers studied how guys persuade women to no insist on condoms. Common techniques included risk-level assurance (I’m clean) and seduction (Getting her so excited she’ll forget). However, 9% admitted to having intentionally sabotaged and opened a condom when putting it on!
Dr. Lehmiller’s blog offers a great summary of the study & plenty of news surrounding human sexuality.
10) As scary: fake Chinese condoms.
China Daily reported 2m fake condoms labelled as Durex, Trojan and Jissbon (sounds like James Bond in Chinese) were seized by police. Now, China isn’t known for small business. Ghana’s FDA rejected 110m condoms from China due to holes, dried lubricant and generally shoddy quality (What would Ghana want with Chinese condoms in the first place? Check out the penile size world map again!). On an entertaining note: these pictures of Michelle Obama and Ann Romney were posted more than 60,000 times on China’s microblogs.
Pure Fun: Durex Ballooninmals
This is one of the most entertaining condom advertising’s I came across. It's an ad you'll never see on TV:
Are You an Expert?
How expert a condom user are you? What do you think most people would say if asked whether their skill of using condoms was above-average?
How satisfied are you with the current condom offerings on the market? Have you used non-latex condoms, female condoms and are you looking forward to Origami’s innovations?
Let us know!