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What’s a dental dam?

A dental dam is a thin, flexible, square piece of latex that helps prevent the spread of STDs and other germs during oral sex.

Dental dams are easy to use. Place one over your or your partner’s vulva and/or anus so that it creates a barrier between the mouth and genitals. Don’t worry about stretching the dam or pressing it tight against the skin — just hold it in place. Sometimes a dam will even stay in place on its own because of vaginal moisture or static.                 

A certain brand of dam, called the Sheer Glyde dam, is FDA-approved for safer sex. But other types of dams can protect you, too. Just make sure it’s made of latex.

Dams can sometimes be hard to find in stores. You can find them at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center or order them online.

If there’s no dam in sight, you can cut open a condom and lay it flat on your partner’s vulva or anus. Check out our guide to turning a condom into a dental dam.

-Emily at Planned Parenthood

Tags: safer sex