Condoms are twice as likely to split, break or hinder sexual partners from reaching orgasm if they fit badly, according to research.
Men who used the wrong size protection are five times more likely to have penis irritation and report less enjoyment for both partners during sex.
A study found 45% of 436 men aged 18 to 67 used badly-fitting condoms with a female partner during the previous three months, and this group had double the chance of experiencing a broken or slipped contraceptive.
Other difficulties included interference with performance, with twice as many men reporting erection loss and being twice as likely to remove the condom before climaxing because it became dry and uncomfortable.
A team at the Kinsey Institute led the study, which analysed responses to a questionnaire at the US Institute’s website and was published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
“Men and their partners may benefit from public health efforts designed to promote the improved fit of condoms,” wrote the authors.
Study participants had responded to newspaper advertising and a condom sales company’s online blog, but the authors acknowledged the men’s self-reports limited the research.