Sex Survey 2019

Demystifying dental dam

‘With a dental dam you can pretty much lick anything’

So if like me you’d never heard of a dental dam, you may be wondering what on Earth they are and who in their right mind uses them. Well those who are familiar will know that a dental dam is a square piece of stretchy latex, used over a woman’s genitals when she receives oral sex, in order to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Put in between the mouth and the partner’s vulva, the person is able to lick just as they would without one. So why have so few of us heard of them?

Sex therapist Dr. Madeleine M. Castellanos, states that less than ten percent of women use them at all, with only a fraction of us using dams regularly. Despite the fact that oral sex can transmit herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, HIV, hepatitis, and genital warts. So what’s going on here? Is using dental dams really that bad that we’ve collectively decided that ditching them is worth the health risks?

Perhaps we can put this down to the lack of awareness surrounding both them and how to use them, and the embarrassment. After all, no one wants to be the person to kill the mood with a weird piece of latex. Not to mention the effort of buying them on top of condoms. However, doctors do in fact suggest opening up a condom and using it in place of a dental dam is just as effective! So perhaps the real issue lies not with dental dams, but with educating people on the risks of oral sex. As if this doesn’t change, using contraceptives for it will continue to be seen as abnormal, and at the end of the day who really wants to contract genital herpes?

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November 2021
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