Dental dams, a sheet of latex designed to be a barrier between you and your partner’s genitals during cunnilingus or analingus, aren’t the most accessible safer sex products. They’re $1 a pop at the SHRC, and they’re not even carried at Drugsmart or the two Shopper’s Drugmarts close to campus. But as we mentioned in a previous blog, practicing safer oral sex with your partner(s) by using a dental dam is important if you’re hoping to prevent the transmission of STIs.
If the cost is a barrier preventing you from using this barrier method (or you’re just in a pinch and out at the moment), you can make your own! Making your own dental dams is also a great option if you or your partner(s) have a latex allergy, as you can use any polyurethane or polyisoprene-based condoms for dental dams as well.
- A condom with flavoured lubricant, or a regular or non-lubed condom and some flavoured water-based lube to accompany. Don’t use condoms that contain a spermicidal or desensitizing lubricant (your tongue will thank me).
Note: When making your own dental dams, don’t use saran wrap, plastic sandwich bags, or any other food storage product, as these products don’t prevent the transmission of STIs.
- Sharp scissors
- A permanent marker
Check expiry date.
Check for air bubble. Latex degrades when exposed to air, so if you can’t feel an air bubble then your condom may have been compromised.
Open condom safely. Beware of teeth or fingernails, as they can perforate your condom.
Keep condom rolled up and cut off tip of condom.
Keeping condom rolled up, cut it lengthwise in one snip.
Unroll, and enjoy!
If you’re using a non-lubricated condom, put lubricant on both sides of the dental dam. This will allow for better transfer of pressure and sensation through the latex. If you are likely to use your dental dam for a while, do some other activity, and then go back to analingus or cunnilingus. Consider marking one side of the dental dam so you can tell which side is which - switching sides will defeat its purpose to protect against STIs! (And be sure the mark you make looks different when seen backwards - initials usually work.)
If you’re really in a pinch, you can use a latex or nitrile glove instead of a condom (make sure they’re not powdered gloves, again, your tongue will thank me). Simply cut off the fingers…
.. and then cut up the side where the pinky would be.
And you have a dental dam with a convenient tongue hole (which also makes it easier to tell which side is which)!
Just as with condom-based DIY dental dams, lubricate and enjoy!
This blog is being run in conjunction with the Sexual Health Resource Centre, located in the JDUC, room 223. Follow them on Twitter @shrckingston.