Island Sexual Health Society Be informed, not surprised!

Oral dams are barriers to reduce the risk of STIs during oral sex. They act as a barrier between mouth and the genital area.

Oral dams

An oral or dental dam is a thin, rectangular sheet of latex or non-latex that you can use during oral-genital or oral-anal sex to reduce  the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

You can buy a ready made oral dam, or you can make one yourself out of a condom.

Get or make oral dams

You can buy dams at:

  • our ISHS clinics (we even have scented dams like vanilla and wildberry and non-latex dams called Hot dams!)
  • most sexual health clinics
  • AIDS Vancouver Island
  • online sex safety shops
  • some drug stores, although they are not very commonly found yet

To make a homemade oral dam, cut off the tip/end and the ring of any condom, then cut/tear down the length of the condom and fold open. Voila! You have a slightly smaller barrier that can be used just like a store-bought dam.

 

An oral dam is placed on the  genitals (or any place on the body!) to reduce the risk of STI transmission during oral sex.

An oral dam is placed on the genitals (or any place on the body!) to reduce the risk of STI transmission during oral sex.

How to use an oral dam for safer oral sex

As with all sex safety barriers,  dams are used to reduce the risk of sharing body fluids and skin to skin contact between people in order to lower the risk of transmitting infections. It’s important to use each dam only once, and to never flip it over.

Dam instructions:

  • Optionally, apply a water based lubricant to the area you want to put your mouth before putting the dam in place. This may increase sensation and prevent friction during oral sex.
  • Before oral sex, place the dam flat to completely cover the area you wish to put your mouth.
  • Hold the dam in place during oral sex, and don’t let it flip over. Some people mark one side with a pen to make it easy to keep track.
  • Use each dam only once
  • After use, wrap it in a tissue, put it in a garbage and then wash your hands.
  • Be sure to use a new dam if switching between oral-anal and oral-vulvar sex.

Store dental dams in a cool dry place at room temperature, keeping them away from direct sunlight (just like condoms).