Whether you're sexually active or only thinking about engaging in sexual activities for the first time, it's a safe bet that you already know about condoms. While other types of contraception, such as the diaphragm, can be used to prevent pregnancy, only condoms can be used to prevent the spread of STIs and STDs through penetrative sex between man and women.
Condoms can also protect you from picking up anything while performing fellatio, but not many people know that they can use oral dams to stop putting themselves at risk while providing a girl with oral pleasure.
Here's everything you need to know about what they are, why they're important, and how you should use them.
What Are Oral Dams?
Oral dams, which are sometimes referred to as 'oral barriers', are very simple. Each one is made from a very thin sheet or latex or polyurethane, usually in a roughly triangular shape. For anyone allergic to these materials, special silicone dams are available.
Why Are Oral Dams So Important?
People often fail to respect the fact that diseases and infections can easily be passed on during oral sex as well as during penetrative sex. In fact, herpes, genital warts, and HIV all number among the issues that can be passed along during oral sex. Just as a condom can be worn for protection during fellatio, an oral dam is vital to protect yourself from possibly life-changing conditions while you're performing cunnilingus.
How Do You Use Oral Dams?
The basics of using oral dams are pretty straightforward. Open the packaging, without using your teeth or anything sharp, then place it flatly over the vagina, making sure everything is covered. Voila, the oral dam is in place. You may now go to town.
However, there are plenty of things to keep in mind to make sure you stay safe. Firstly, always use a new dam for each oral sex session to avoid licking the wrong side. You should also make sure you inspect the packaging to check the expiration date and ensure there are no tears. Once the oral dam is in place, don't stretch it over the vagina. Finally, make sure you keep the dam stored in a cool, dry place and avoid using a silicone-based lubricant; as with condoms, silicone-based lubes, including baby oil and petroleum jelly, can damage the structural integrity of the dam.
Remember, even the smallest amount of exposure can see you infected with an STI or STD, so it pays to be vigilant and keep the tips above in mind. For more information, consult with a sexual health clinic, such as Travellers Medical Services.