Saturday, December 09, 2006

Condoms in India are too big

After a two-year study of the penis sizes of Indian men, scientists find out that condoms available in India are too big for local use. From BBC:
Over 1,200 volunteers from the length and breadth of the country had their penises measured precisely, down to the last millimetre.

The scientists even checked their sample was representative of India as a whole in terms of class, religion and urban and rural dwellers.

The conclusion of all this scientific endeavour is that about 60% of Indian men have penises which are between three and five centimetres shorter than international standards used in condom manufacture.
Here's more on the study. From The Times of India:
“As per international standards, most condoms are 150 mm to 180 mm in length and 44 to 56 mm in width. But data collected in Mumbai till 2001 showed that 60% of the participants measured 126 to 156 mm in length and 30% between 100 and 125 mm,’’ said a city researcher, pointing out that there was a difference of at least 5 cm in length.

All the number-crunching is essentially expected to improve the sizing of condoms which have a notorious failure rate of upto 20% in India. "Studies have shown that failure rate of condoms was 2% in clinical trials, but as high as 18 to 20% when studied among the general population. While improper usage is one of the reasons, there is also condom slippage or tear which is associated with the size of the condom in relation to an erect penis," according to Dr Chander Puri, director of ICMR’s National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health in Parel.

2 comments:

James said...

I can see that this article has spread like wildfire and a lot of blogs including this one. But as a student of Journalism I just could not let this article go because it conflicts with the ideals of journalistic integrity. Now naturally a lot of you will start to question “my ethnicity” as it would provide your mind with an “explanation” as to why I am writing this or it will provide you with “my intentions” but in this case “my ethnicity” is irrelevant in this context and has no bearing as I provide facts and logic. I could be Caucasian, I could be Asian, or I could even be Black. Just to keep you guessing as I know some of you will I am not going to reveal that. Regardless, I have faith that you are intelligent enough to understand the analysis is just an analysis not a racially motivated “defence mechanism.” I stress greater importance on journalistic integrity revealing the WHOLE STORY.

Upon closer analysis, this article uses facts to create a twisted tale. It is actually better to analyze the article first and you will find that the article, illustrated the facts to put a negative spin on South Asian men. And I am sorry to shatter peoples “ racial, masculine superiority complex” but here it goes:

Another article that specified the study (http://www.slate.com/id/2154841/) stated that, “As per international standards, most condoms are 150 mm to 180 mm (5.9 to 7.08 inches) in length and 44 to 56 mm (1.70 to 2 inches) in width. But data collected in Mumbai till 2001 showed that 60% of the participants measured 126 to 156 mm (4.96 to 6.14 inches) in length and 30% between 100 and 125 mm (3.93 to 4.92 inches). ” Adding to this, many studies (in which urologist or other researchers studying the male penis, measured the subjects themselves with a measuring tape as opposed to the self-measurement method done by participants in the Kinsey institute surveys and other penis size surveys) such as the studies done by the American Journal of Urology, International Journal of Impotence Research, LifeStyles Condoms on penis size indicated that contrary to the popular myth of an average penis size being 7 to 8 inches the average human male penis size is 5 to 6 inches. In light of those facts, that means according to the very own studies and findings of the Indian Council of Medical Research, most Indian men in Mumbai are within the average penis size. (If you look up sizes on the internet there are still many who use the flawed Kinsey measurements and methods and contend that the averages range from 6-8 inches but academic sources state otherwise. Now it is also important to note that even the considered “average” is flawed in many respects but that is another issue entirely.

In regards to this study, how is this any different from what the Lifestyle Condom Survey of Americans concluded back in 2001? A study by Lifestyles Condom Co. in 2001 (http://www.free-condom-stuff.com/education/research.htm) indicated that about two-thirds of the 300 college-aged American males ranged from between 5.1 and 6.2 inches. We can come to the same conclusions about Americans: "Condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Americans (66% to be exact)." Or "Condoms designed to meet international size specifications are too big for many American men as their penises fall short of what manufacturers had anticipated." Or "Initial findings of a Lifestyle Condoms Co penis survey revealed that 66 percent of American men on spring break in Cancun had penises about 2.4 cm (one inch) shorter than those condoms catered for."

And the BBC article failed to note that in the study that, "the failure rate was lower in clinical trials, and many complaints were about tearing, not slippage, so the main problem is proper use, not size (slate.com)." Adding to this the average human male penis size is 5 to 6 inches and the article stated that 60% of the Indian men were in this range; it may be that the international sizes of condoms are flawed themselves. Skeptics of this article also question if they have done studies in other countries, including the ones that "set" the international standards, to see how many men actually "measure up" to those standards? And how is this international standard set?

AND, they selected over 1200 males which were actually 1500 males and all of these males were from Mumbai (and some from Delhi alone). The article says "the scientists even checked their sample was representative of India as a whole" but failed to mention that the men surveyed were from Mumbai (and some from Delhi) ALONE. From the analysis of people in one state they generalized an entire country! That may be the average for Mumbai alone not all of India. India has over 20 states and many union territories and contrary to popular belief India has a great deal of diversity in regards to culture, environment etcetera, etcetera. That is like surveying the size of shlongs in the New York State finding the average in New York and stating that, the average shlong size of adult males in New York is the average shlong size for all adult males in America even though there are over 40 different areas (States) in America. Another issue raised was that since an estimated 350-400 million people in India are below the poverty line, this article never discussed the issues of malnutrition in India along with the pollution in Mumbai in regards to human development as a factor and as a variable.

Some people called this article reckless journalism because it doe not tell the whole truth and uses the facts to create a negative spin. In regard to journalistic integrity this article could have instead focused on the AIDS epidemic in India and discuss how to get Indian men to use condoms rather than pushing sensitive buttons. I believe that the BBC author of that article should be fired for writing such an article with obvious fallacies and flaws; I wonder what University the author went to?

Anyways I know there will be those “skeptics” reading this who will be in an outrage as this article may have shattered their “racial, masculine superiority complex,” and even though I have stepped foot into these waters before as a Cauca…oops! I believe that human logic and reasoning is more supreme. With that said, I will not be responding to counter-arguments as I have many papers and exams to write at this point and will not be interested to re-visit peoples comments.

Agagooga said...

I'm trying to find the paper the ICMR said it'd published.

But just looking at one point: even if the results were representative of Mumbai only, why would penis sizes in Mumbai not be representative of India as a whole?

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