The unsung heroes of oral sex
When people hear the term “safe sex,” their thoughts usually jump to condoms. As they should – condoms have a 98% success rate of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases when used consistently and correctly. Plus, there are so many different types to choose from!
However, there is another prophylactic that deserves recognition: dental dams.
Dental dams are sheets made out of latex or polyurethane that act like a barrier between a person’s mouth and another person’s vagina or anus during oral sex.
Just like condoms, they protect against contracting STDs that are passed through bodily fluids; they come in different colours, sizes, materials, and flavours; and also have their own set of Dos and Don’ts.
Do: Store dental dams in a cool, dry place
Do: Read the directions and expiration date on the packaging
Do: Check that there are no tears or defects before using the dental dam
Do: Make sure the dental dam is lying flat to cover the vaginal opening or anus and that it remains in place until finished
Do: Dispose of the dental dam in the trash once it has been used
Do Not: Try to make your own dental dams from materials like Saran Wrap which have not been proven to protect against STDs
Do Not: Reuse a dental dam
Do Not: Stretch the dental dam too wide, this can tear it
Do Not: Use oil-based lube or products like baby oil or petroleum jelly, which will cause the dental dam to tear or cause pores to form in the material for bacteria to pass through
Do Not: Flush dental dams down the toilet as this can cause clogging
Dental dams are not as common to find in the condom aisle but you should still take the time to look before ordering some online. And check out BuzzFeed’s fun video below about dental dams and navigating the safe sex conversation for women: