Credit: Natalie-Elizabeth Tan

You’re probably wondering, what on earth are dental dams? So let’s answer that — a dental dam is a form of protection used during sex, more specifically oral sex. It’s a thin square or stretchy rectangular sheet that’s placed on the genitals, acting as a barrier between the mouth and the vulva or anus.

You may have seen these at the dentist’s, as they are sometimes used to isolate an area during a dental procedure. Though typically made from latex, polyurethane options are also for those allergic to latex. 

How do dental dams protect me?

With the sheet, the body parts don’t come into direct contact and no bodily fluids are exchanged, protecting you both from contracting STDs such as genital herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis — examples of STDs commonly transmitted through oral sex.

However, be warned that the dental dam isn’t a ‘catch-all’ that eliminates any risk of catching an STD as there are still other diseases that can be transmitted through skin contact, like herpes and human papillomavirus.

But some protection is better than nothing at all, and the dental dam is thin enough that it won’t hinder your pleasure as the other person will be able to feel most sensations through the sheet. 

Besides using a dental dam during clitoral stimulation, they are also a great segue if you’ve been meaning to try oral or anal sex, which can make some hesitant due to sanitation concerns (understandably so!).

How do I use a dental dam during sex?

It’s quite straightforward, really. Just take the dam out from its packaging, making sure not to stretch it (which can cause it to tear), and lay it over your vulva or anus. Ensure it adequately covers the appropriate area.

One thing you should take note of — just like a condom, you shouldn’t use oil-based products such as baby oil or oil-based lubricants with the dental dam as it can cause it to break. But water and silicon-based lubricants won’t affect it, so you can still use those if you wish.

Should the dam move around during sex, hold it in place so the area remains covered and protected. If switching from oral vaginal sex to oral anal sex, change to a new dam to avoid any cross-contamination.

Afterwards, simply dispose of it when you’re done! These dams are meant to be disposable, so don’t reuse them as they may not be of the same quality anymore. 

Where can I buy dental dams?

Unfortunately, dental dams are not as widely available as condoms. You can purchase them from online retailers such as Amazon, and also sex shops where you can get them in different flavours. But we get it, although there’s nothing shameful about purchasing dental dams, you may still feel a bit daunted at the thought of entering a sex shop. In that case, we’ve got you.

How can I make my own dental dam?

Credit: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

You can fashion your own dental dam out of a condom in five easy steps. Remove the condom from its packaging and unroll it before cutting off both ends. Then, cut along the length of the condom and there you have it, a dental dam!