Using Dental Dams to Block STDs

A friend who wishes to remain anonymous is dead curious about dental dams:

So what are these dental dam things anyway, and what’s the point of them? I know that you’ve used them before, Dee, so tell me what you think about them please!

That I can definitely do, anonymous friend. My first introduction to dental dams was when I started to do presentations about sex toys for work – in the lube and safer sex section there were dental dams (in addition to condoms), and they were a lot of fun to talk about and to show off. They always got a lot of attention too, as very few people in New Zealand know what they are (most assume it’s something to do with dental work. The name is not an endearing one!).

I’d certainly never used one for either cunnilingus or rimming (not that I’d rimmed at that point in time), but when it came time to plan an orgy, getting some to play with seemed like a good idea. Handily they come in a few different flavours, so orgy participants were able to try out cola, blueberry, strawberry and vanilla. Fun!

What are they?

Dental dams are very thin, very stretchy, and very strong sheets of latex. You can get latex-free ones, but I’ve not been able to source any in New Zealand.

They’re designed, like condoms, for single-use. You don’t use one side and then turn it over. You don’t use it on the arse then drag it over to the cunt. And you don’t wash and then reuse it, no matter how tempting it may seem!

Why use them?

Dental dams prevent the transmission of both bacteria and viruses, in both directions. This means that you’re not going to get anything in your mouth from their genitals or arse, and that they’re not going to get anything on their genitals or arse from your mouth. Think herpes, gonorrhoea, HPV, HIV, syphilis, and any other STI you can imagine. And poop.

How to use them

This is the fun bit – because it is a whole lot of fun to use a dental dam! There are a few important things to remember for extra comfort:

  • A little lube on the non-mouth side makes things a lot more fun for the receiver!
  • Marking the external side (with a wee black dot from a marker on one edge) will prevent confusion about which way up it goes if (say) a strong wind catches it.
  • Someone needs to hold the dental dam in place.

With that last one you can have a bit of fun. Want to torment the receiver? Make them hold the edges against their thighs and try not to wriggle. Want control? Hold it yourself. In an orgy? Ask someone else to hold it!

It is important, and it’s something it’s easy to miss. But once you’ve done it wrong you’ll never forget again! Why? Because if no one holds it … it gets inhaled. And choking plus laughter kills the moment quite impressively.

What do they taste like?

For all that the dental dams I use are ‘flavoured’, they’re not really – it’s an excuse to colour the latex differently. The strawberry dam I have my tongue stuck through there does have a light hint of the berry, but it also has a light hint of balloon. Generally they taste a lot more pleasant than flavoured condoms.

Can I see what I’m doing?

Mostly … no. Some are more transparent than others – and pressing them against the skin gives you a pretty good idea of contours. But mostly it’s a matter of finding your way by feel (and reaction).

Will I break it?

Be a bit more careful if there are piercings involved – sharp edges can tear the dam just as they would a condom. If your fingernails are filed you’ll generally be fine – as you can see in the photos I can press the dam quite firmly against them. Teeth … I don’t know. *goes off to check*

And now I know: it’s hard to bite through a dental dam! If you’re gnawing and biting hard enough to rip it, you’re going to have a well-bruised partner in very sensitive places. So don’t worry about teeth.

How do I find some for myself?

Dental dams are pretty easy to find and to buy. At D.VICE, where I get mine, you can buy them singly (great to try out different flavours) or in a 10-pack. They are also the cheapest I’ve found locally.

Many different sex shops have them available online or at the store – most pharmacies and supermarkets haven’t caught up yet.

The name sucks – can we call them something more awesome?

Yes please! If you can think of a better name, by all means spread the word.


So there you go, anonymous friend. Anyone want to know something (about dental dams, or about anything)? Ask in the comments, or send me an email – you’ll find my email address in the side-bar, up the top where it talks about me.

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