Oral Dams

Oral dams like the one pictured here help to reduce the risk of herpes transmission during oral sex.

Oral dams (or barriers), often called dental dams, are barriers designed to reduce the risk of STIs when participating in cunnilingus (mouth to vulva [including clitoris, vagina, labia] area) or rimming (mouth to anal area).To cover a penis for oral sex, you simply follow the steps to use an external or male condom.

There are several forms of oral barriers. One brand on the market is the Sheer Glyde Dam but they can also be made from both types of condoms or non-microwaveable plastic wrap.

Oral barriers work by preventing skin-to-skin contact and the exchange of body fluids during oral sex. They are not to be used for vaginal or anal sex.

Oral Barriers (Dental Dams) are available at Island Sexual Health and many other community health clinics near you.

You can use:

• an internal (female) condom (made of nitrile, so good for people who have latex allergies!)

• an external (male) condom (non-lubricated or flavoured for fun!)

1. Cut closed tip of condom off and throw away.

2. Cut or tear (using your finger nails) one side of condom from end to end

3. Open it up – it will be smaller than a pre-made dam but will still provide  coverage

You can also use non-microwavable plastic wrap instead of a condom….do not use microwavable plastic wrap because the pores are large enough to allow viruses and bacteria to pass through.

  1.  Place the dam flat so it covers the area where you want to put your mouth.
  2.  Hold the dam gently in place so it loosely covers the area, making sure not to stretch the dam.
  3.  Just like with condoms, using water-based lube with dams will increase sensation and prevent friction. Take care not to get lube on your fingers as this may make it hard to hold the dam in place!
  4.  When you’re finished using a dam, wrap it in tissue and throw it in the garbage just as you would with a condom.

You need to know:

  • Each dam can only be used once in one area of the body. Don’t ever use the same dam twice!
  • Only use one side of the dam
  • Always store barriers (dams, condoms, gloves) in a cool, dry place, at room temperature. Keep away from direct sunlight.
  • Check the expiry date on the dam or condom before using.
  • You can make condoms into dams but not dams into condoms. This is probably obvious but we’ve been asked more than once!