The U.S. Government's Quest for the Perfect Condom

And you thought the government was wasting your tax dollars. The National Institutes of Health is funding a study on custom-fit condoms in an effort to get more guys to wear them. The funding was awarded to a company that already sells such condoms in the European Union. It has not yet been approved by the FDA for sale in the U.S.

Custom-fit condoms are actually serious business: even though they're an easy and effective form of both birth control and protection against STDs, prophylactics simply aren't as popular as they should be. According to the abstract of the study's abstract, "Between one-third and one-half of men report poor condom fit, and these men are more likely to forego condom use." The condom study is titled "Behavioral and Manufacturing Science to Commercially Develop Fitted Condoms."

The company helping with the study, Georgia-based TheyFit, manufactures condoms in lengths ranging from three to nine-and-a-half inches and varying widths. The company even offers a free downloadable penis-measuring tool to keep guys from self-reporting the wrong size. (Really, it's for their own good. A self-reported size won't impress anyone.)

It's the measuring tool that the NIH is interested in. Research into standardized measurements, the abstract continues, "would address an important research question regarding validated measures and supply information on whether users have sufficient proficiency to accurately determine their custom condom size." It is hoped that well-fitting condoms will not only get more guys to wear them but also help keep them from breaking, particularly during anal sex.

So will a better-fitting condom really get more guys to wear them? It certainly won't hurt. Birth control and disease are, after all, everyone's problem.

Image: Getty