It's a common belief that STDs can only be transmitted through penetrative sex. But it's actually possible to get an STD in the throat when having oral sex, for example. Learn more about how to enjoy safe oral sex with dental dams in our guide here
What are dental dams?
Dental dams are a type of barrier that can protect against the transmission of STDs. It is a common misconception that STDs can only be transmitted between genitals. But it's actually possible to get an STD in the throat. If you get an STD like chlamydia or gonorrhoea in the throat it can be passed on to a partners genitals, if you have unprotected oral sex. So if you're having oral sex with a new partner, it's a good idea to use a dental dam.
Dental dams are made of thin latex or plastic, and some are also flavoured. Liker with condoms, dental dams are only meant for one use, so while it may be tempting, throw it away when you're done.
At Peech, you can get unflavoured latex dental dams, like these from Beffy. You can also try vanilla-flavoured or strawberry-flavoured latex dental dams. If you have a latex allergy, you can also find polyurethane dental dams with a vanilla flavour.
How do you use dental dams?
Dental dams are particularly good for providing protection during oral sex, and can be placed over the vulva or anus.
Dental dams are super easy to use: you simply take it out the wrapper and place it over the area you want to lick. Don't stretch the dental dam or press it hard against the skin, as it can break just like a condom. Instead, you can use a little water-based lubricant to make sure the dental dam is firmly stuck to the skin. Lube also gives a nice, slippery feeling, so it's highly recommended.
Remember not to use oil-based lubricants with dental dams, as it can break down the surface!
Are there alternatives to dental dams?
Dental dams aren't a super common form of contraception, and you don't always have them on hand. Although the dental dam is the best choice for safe oral sex, as it is made for exactly that purpose, there are some alternatives you can use.
A condom that is cut lengthwise can function as a dental dam, and is typically made of the exact same material. You can make a dental dam from a condom by cutting off the top and bottom, and then cutting it lengthwise.
A cut-up condom is typically not as wide as a dental dam, so you have a smaller surface area to work with. It can be tempting, but avoid stretching the condom to create a larger surface area - it can break, making it unsafe. So in terms of freedom of movement you are a little limited, but in terms of material condoms offer the same protection.
Ordinary household cling wrap can also be used as an alternative, and provides a pretty good barrier. However, you may have experienced cutting off a piece of cling wrap, which then immediately curls up. That's so frustrating, and there's the same risk when you use it as a dental dam.
If you want to learn more about rimming and get some advice, you can also read our guide here