A 2- year study carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research concludes that condoms designed with the international male in mind is too big for the Indian man.
The study which included 1,200 volunteers found that about 50% of the men had penises shorter by 3 to 5 cms , and the condom would fall or slip off leading to a failure rate of 20 % . The issue is quite serious as the country already has a large population and also the highest number of HIV infections.
The sample comprised of representatives from all classes, religions, urban and rural levels.
Doctor Chander Puri, a specialist in reproductive health at the Indian Council of Medical Research, points out the need for custom-made condoms, as those available currently are too large.
'Since Indians would be embarrassed about going to a chemist to ask for smaller condoms there should be vending machines dispensing different sizes all around the country,' he added.
'Smaller condoms are on sale in India. But there is a lack of awareness that different sizes are available. There is anxiety talking about the issue. And normally one feels shy to go to a chemist's shop and ask for a smaller size condom.'
'One of the reasons for the failure of up to 20% is the association of the size of the condom to the erect penis and another reason is that couples often put them on in a hurry,' stated Dr Puri.
According to Sunil Mehra, the former editor of the Indian edition of the men's magazine Maxim, 'Indian men need not be concerned about measuring up internationally'
It's not size, it's what you do with it that matters,' he said.
'From our population, the evidence is Indians are doing pretty well.'
'With apologies to the poet Alexander Pope, you could say, for inches and centimetres, let fools contend.'