Sex Talk

A Condom Makes it Shrink

Q from a male, Sophomore student from URI: I have a rather embarrassing problem. When I am with my girlfriend we have no problems until I put on a condom - then I lose my erection. I think it's the tightness that causes this, but I'm quite sure I'm not particularly large. I try not to make a big deal out of it, and I am very lucky to have such an understanding and loving girlfriend, but it's still very frustrating. I was wondering if this is a common problem, and what, if anything, I can do about it. Thank you.

Dr. Caron's Answer: Your situation is not uncommon. Please remember that condoms come in different sizes. If tightness is a problem, how about switching to a larger brand. That should provide some relief. Many men - tight-fitting condom or not - experience some loss of sensation. Condoms take some getting used to. Rather than putting the condom on within seconds before intercourse, you may want to expand your sex play to include putting on the condom a few minutes before intercourse - so that you or your girlfriend can stimulate you to the point of another erection (think how much fun she'll have bringing it back up!). I might also suggest switching methods - for example, you might want to try using the female condom. It might be a nice alternative - providing protection from disease and pregnancy. You would not wear the condom - she would "wear" it. You may want to talk to someone about other alternatives methods of protection.

© 2008, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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