11 May 2010
By Yogesh Pawar And Santosh Andhale
Some people wear two of them, some look for a brand which they feel will be stronger and last the act. Yet 18 to 20 percent of condoms suffer from failure largely due to slippage and cuts. And why does this happen?
It’s because the condoms that are available are not the right size. While condoms are 150 mm to 180 mm in length and 44 to 56 mm in width, men in India simply don’t measure up.
And every time there is a tear because of this mismatch, it causes a risk – of an unwanted pregnancy or worse, an STD. Concerned about this, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had asked the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to research and arrive at a standard penis size.
Shortlisting The Studs
As part of their survey of penis sizes of Indians, researchers at the ICMR have surveyed 1,400 men visiting family planning centres in seven hospitals including KEM in Parel, AIIMS in Delhi and PGI in Chandigarh; the length and width of each erect penis was measured twice and a digital photograph taken. In KEM Hospital, it was the departments of preventive and social medicine (PSM) which conducted the exercise. The group was a mix of urban and rural people who were in the age group of 18–50.
Dr R R Shinde, head of the PSM department at KEM, confirmed that the study had indeed been done. “IIT Kharagpur had created devices to measure penal length but we thought it was not a cost effective tool and had to make do with the more conventional scales,” he chuckles as he talks about the study.
Getting Them Hard
According to him, there were various modus operandi used to get the subjects of the study excited to get exact measurements.
“We would encourage some of the middle–aged men to get their partners along so that they would help them with arousal before they came to the other room for measurement,” he pointed out and added, “With the youth, it was easier. If we gave them some exciting literature, they would then masturbate and work up an erection. We found this method worked very well with the younger lot.”
The Sizeable Truth
Data for the 200 samples studied in Mumbai has shown that 60% of the participants measured 126 to 156 mm in length and 30% between 100 and 125 mm, which is 5 cm shorter than the international standard.
According to Dr R S Sharma, Deputy Director General of ICMR, it is difficult to generalise and say that all Indian men are of a certain size. “This varies depending on ethnicity, race and other hereditary factors,” he explained, adding, “We don’t want to send the wrong message to people, especially when penis size anxiety is so prevalent in our society. This is a sensitive subject and we have to take care.”
Sharma told Mumbai Mirror that the first phase is over and findings have been collated from all centres over the last year and submitted to the Health Ministry. “Depending on what the ministry recommends, we will start the second phase,” he said.”
Once this data collection is concluded, a final optimal size for condoms in India will be stipulated by the Health Ministry. Only question arises though: who will be the brave one to walk into a chemist’s and ask for a small–size Condom?