Ask Aunty Dee: Dental Dams

Posted on | July 29, 2011 | 29 Comments |

A friend who wishes to remain anonymous is dead curious about dental dams:

So what are these dental dam things anyway, and what’s the point of them? I know that you’ve used them before, Dee, so tell me what you think about them please!

That I can definitely do, anonymous friend. My first introduction to dental dams was when I started to do presentations about sex toys for work – in the lube and safer sex section there were dental dams (in addition to condoms), and they were a lot of fun to talk about and to show off. They always got a lot of attention too, as very few people in New Zealand know what they are (most assume it’s something to do with dental work. The name is not an endearing one!).

I’d certainly never used one for either cunnilingus or rimming (not that I’d rimmed at that point in time), but when it came time to plan an orgy, getting some to play with seemed like a good idea. Handily they come in a few different flavours, so orgy participants were able to try out cola, blueberry, strawberry and vanilla. Fun!

What are they?

Dental dams are very thin, very stretchy, and very strong sheets of latex. You can get latex-free ones, but I’ve not been able to source any in New Zealand.

They’re designed, like condoms, for single-use. You don’t use one side and then turn it over. You don’t use it on the arse then drag it over to the cunt. And you don’t wash and then reuse it, no matter how tempting it may seem!

Why use them?

Dental dams prevent the transmission of both bacteria and viruses, in both directions. This means that you’re not going to get anything in your mouth from their genitals or arse, and that they’re not going to get anything on their genitals or arse from your mouth. Think herpes, gonorrhoea, HPV, HIV, syphilis, and any other STI you can imagine. And poop.

How to use them

This is the fun bit – because it is a whole lot of fun to use a dental dam! There are a few important things to remember for extra comfort:

  • A little lube on the non-mouth side makes things a lot more fun for the receiver!
  • Marking the external side (with a wee black dot from a marker on one edge) will prevent confusion about which way up it goes if (say) a strong wind catches it.
  • Someone needs to hold the dental dam in place.

With that last one you can have a bit of fun. Want to torment the receiver? Make them hold the edges against their thighs and try not to wriggle. Want control? Hold it yourself. In an orgy? Ask someone else to hold it!

It is important, and it’s something it’s easy to miss. But once you’ve done it wrong you’ll never forget again! Why? Because if no one holds it … it gets inhaled. And choking plus laughter kills the moment quite impressively.

What do they taste like?

For all that the dental dams I use are ‘flavoured’, they’re not really – it’s an excuse to colour the latex differently. The strawberry dam I have my tongue stuck through there does have a light hint of the berry, but it also has a light hint of balloon. Generally they taste a lot more pleasant than flavoured condoms.

Can I see what I’m doing?

Mostly … no. Some are more transparent than others – and pressing them against the skin gives you a pretty good idea of contours. But mostly it’s a matter of finding your way by feel (and reaction).

Will I break it?

Be a bit more careful if there are piercings involved – sharp edges can tear the dam just as they would a condom. If your fingernails are filed you’ll generally be fine – as you can see in the photos I can press the dam quite firmly against them. Teeth … I don’t know. *goes off to check*

And now I know: it’s hard to bite through a dental dam! If you’re gnawing and biting hard enough to rip it, you’re going to have a well-bruised partner in very sensitive places. So don’t worry about teeth.

How do I find some for myself?

Dental dams are pretty easy to find and to buy. At D.VICE, where I get mine, you can buy them singly (great to try out different flavours) or in a 10-pack. They are also the cheapest I’ve found locally.

Many different sex shops have them available online or at the store – most pharmacies and supermarkets haven’t caught up yet.

The name sucks – can we call them something more awesome?

Yes please! If you can think of a better name, by all means spread the word.


So there you go, anonymous friend. Anyone want to know something (about dental dams, or about anything)? Ask in the comments, or send me an email – you’ll find my email address in the side-bar, up the top where it talks about me.
Cheers to Demeter for taking photos of me playing with dental dams – clothed, for a change.
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29 Responses to “Ask Aunty Dee: Dental Dams”

  1. Amie
    July 29th, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    Thanks for this. Do you enjoy using them? I know WHY they should be used… but don’t you feel they take a lot of the fun out of oral? The taste/smell/feel etc?

  2. Dee
    July 29th, 2011 @ 11:29 am

    Good questions, Amie!

    Do you enjoy using them?
    I do, actually – while in an ideal world I would rather go without (as I would with condoms), I make the most of having an extra ‘toy’ to utilise.

    … don’t you feel they take a lot of the fun out of oral? The taste/smell/feel etc?
    It’s a different kind of fun. Snapping my partner’s thigh before using them. Squirting cold lube on hot bits and squishing it around with the latex. Finding erogenous zones with my tongue and nose and chin by feel.

    The taste and smell are both fairly minimal, so it doesn’t bother me. It’s certainly not as intense as (I find) the taste and smell of condoms, flavoured or not.

    When I see you next, ask to see one. I keep one in my bag, along with condoms, at all times!

    xx Dee

  3. Amie
    July 29th, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Hey Dee, thanks for that. With taste/smell I mean.. the taste and smell of cunt. A huge part of oral sex that makes it so wonderful.

  4. Dee
    July 29th, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    I absolutely adore both the taste and the smell of cunt. And the feel! But, alas, being safe means making compromises.

    I feel dental dams are ideal if you’re going to play with someone whom you don’t know well, or who hasn’t been tested (or if you haven’t been tested, for that matter!). Sharing disease as well as orgasms is just not worth it.

    xx Dee

  5. Sxybklvr
    July 29th, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    Thanks so much, that was Awesomely helpful for someone curious with no experience :)

  6. James
    July 29th, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    I think we’re going to have to call it a Rick

  7. Dee
    July 29th, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

    You are most welcome, Sxybklvr. I am really surprised how little education and information is given on dental dams, given how useful they are when practicing safer sex.

    xx Dee

  8. Delilah
    July 29th, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    I am allergic to latex & like you Dee have been unable to source (lots of googling & a couple of sex shops) any non latex dental dams.

    I have seen online that you can just cut up a condom though… Have yet to try this though so no idea how well this would work size & stretch wise…

  9. Dee
    July 29th, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

    *cracks up* That may be far too complimentary to the Rick in question, methinks :)

    xx Dee

  10. Dee
    July 29th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    I had a hunt, Delilah, and Hot Dam seem to be the company for latex-free ones. You can even get them through Amazon!

    I also found a really great video by Leo demonstrating how to turn a condom into a dam. So now we both know :)

    xx Dee

  11. Tethys
    July 29th, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    i’ve often wondered whether cutting up condoms to use in a dam-like way weakens their material or not?

  12. Kiwiana
    July 29th, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Hey Dee, I enjoyed your humour in this post and *ahem* the photos are great …

    The whole discussion about taste/smell/teeth is really good to know.

    If Rick was a guy to be warned against maybe calling it a Rick is a great reminder to use them?

  13. misch
    July 29th, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

    What an awesome post! Would it be ok if I linked from my blog? There’s so little info out there on dental dams… even what they look like!

  14. Dee
    July 30th, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

    Tethys, I have just performed two experiments for you, using Durex latex condoms: ripping one condom into a dental dam with teeth; and cutting another condom into a dental dam with scissors. And then attacking them with some stretching and tearing. (For both I turned condom into dam as per the video linked above – removing the tip, removing the ring at the other end, splitting down the middle.)

    It was reasonably easy to do both ways, although I actually found it simpler with teeth. It does make an acceptable dam in a pinch, but I feel it’s not ideal.
    Condom advantages: can see better what’s on the other side; easier to source condoms.
    Condom disadvantages: makes a narrower dam; tastes much worse; slightly weaker material.

    It did take serious teeth grabbing to rip it in the middle (as it does with original dams), but the edges are considerably easier to rip. Holding the makeshift dam in from the edges means it’s still quite strong. It’s nearly as stretchy as the original dam, too.

    Incidentally, one thing you should definitely not use for dams is gladwrap/saran wrap. Most clear wraps these days are designed to be microwaveable – and this means that the pores in the wrap are large enough to allow bacteria and viruses to pass through.

    xx Dee

  15. Dee
    July 30th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

    *chuckle* You take great pictures, Kiwiana! The Rick in question is Rick Santorum – his surname has been extremely successfully changed into a slang term (just google and see).

    misch, you’d be most welcome to link! Thank you for asking :)

    xx Dee

  16. Delilah
    July 30th, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    Thankyou so much Dee!!! Really great info to have!

  17. Dee
    July 31st, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    You are very, very welcome :)

    xx Dee

  18. Mistress L
    July 31st, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

    I have never known how those crazy things worked. Thank you for informing me. Wow…I feel like that was a really cool “After School Special” hehe

  19. Dee
    July 31st, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    *chuckle* You’re most welcome!

    xx Dee

  20. Dangerous Lilly
    August 1st, 2011 @ 4:38 am

    Ok, so how does it feel to be on the receiving end of either cunt or ass oral attentions with a latex barrier?

  21. Dee
    August 1st, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    That’s a good question, Lilly! Going to take some in-use photos shortly, and will answer that question at the same time :)

    xx Dee

  22. Alex
    August 3rd, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    Dee – thanks for this post! I admit, I’ve been curious about dental dams for a while, and a bit turned off by their oh-so-not-sexy name.

    Thanks for the education!

  23. Dee
    August 4th, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    My pleasure, Alex! It continues to surprise me how little is known about them, compared with (say) condoms.

    xx Dee

  24. Molly
    August 6th, 2011 @ 12:48 am

    Brilliant post, so informative yet not preachy. I have never used them but have curious and if I ever did go back to ‘sharing’ again I would make these a compulsory part of my kit. Thank you


  25. Dee
    August 6th, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    You’re most welcome Molly – cheers for taking the time to comment!

    xx Dee

  26. Tansy
    August 7th, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    Do you need to use them with a steady partner if you’ve both been tested (and are STI-free) but your partner suffers from cold sores sometimes? I only recently found out that cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and am finding it difficult to find information about risks etc.

  27. Dee
    August 9th, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    Tansy, I think that one comes down to a decision you and your partner need to make together. It is possible for HSV-1 (usually oral herpes/cold sores) to be transferred to the genitals, just as it is possible for HSV-2 (usually genital herpes) to be transferred to the mouth. This can occur even when there is no shedding going on.

    If you want to be as safe as possible to prevent transferring the virus, then in addition to dental dams, kissing is probably out of the question! Generally that’s not practical though, so sensible precautions, such as using a dam when your partner has a cold sore (and not kissing when a cold sore is present), is probably the way to go.

    You can read more about the two types of the virus here.

    xx Dee

  28. Shelly
    January 15th, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    Aunty Dee,

    I am an advocate for the use of dental dams, and as a result I have several in my home. Regrettably I decided to play a practical joke on my roommate and replaced their moist towelettes with one of my wet used dental dams while he enjoyed a delicious ham sandwich. As mustard dribbled into the crevasse of his jowls, he yearned for the aid of the item in question. Clearly, at this point mustard is not the only thing on my roommates face. What should I do? Should I tell them it was me? Should I consult an attorney. Please advise – you have never steered me wrong.

    Hugs and kisses,

  29. Dee
    January 17th, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    Shelly, I must admit that initially I had no idea how to answer this! *went away and pondered*


    1: Moist towelettes are not the same as dental dams. As your roommate has now regrettably discovered. They are great for clean-up after sex, though! (Although not if they’ve been mustarded first.)

    2: I’m delighted you’re a dental dam advocate. However messing with someone like this is remarkably non-consensual. I can only hope by ‘wet’ and ‘used’ for this particular dental dam you really meant ‘I took it out of its packet and squiggled it with lube’.

    3: Honesty is always a good policy. Chances are they saw you snickering in the corner anyway! Whether you will need an attorney will depend entirely on your roommates reaction, and just how friendly the two of you are …

    Save the dental dams for their planned purpose – or for snapping people on the arse, if you’re going to mess about with them! They’re fun, but playing sneaky tricks with them isn’t going to win any more advocates for their use.

    xx Dee


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