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A dental dam is a sheet of latex which acts as a barrier between the vagina or anus and the mouth. Due to the risk of STI transmission (such as herpes) during oral-anal or oral-vaginal sex, dental dams are becoming a more popular safer sex tool.

How effective are dental dams?

Dental dams are an effective means of preventing infection from vaginal or anal secretions. To ensure the effectiveness of the barrier, check the dental dam for holes or breakage by holding it up to light or testing to see if water is able to pass through it. Do not use with oil-based lubricants such as baby oil or lotion, as they can break down the latex and cause leaks. Only one side of the dam should come in contact with the genitals, and the dam should be used only once.

How do you use dental dams?

Some people prefer that the person performing oral sex should hold the dam so that the receiver can just sit back and relax. Others think that the receiver should hold the dam so the other partner has his/her hands free for other stimulation. Think creatively if this is something you use often. Cut out the crotch from panties or briefs to hold the dam in place or use a garter belt so all hands can be free. Remember to use lubricant on the vagina or anus beforehand to increase sensation.

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