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safe and healthy

take control.
Use protection.
Demand protection.
If you have sex, using dental dams and condoms shows respect and responsibility.
How To Make A Dental Dam
For oral-anal or oral-vaginal sex, you can make a latex square (called a dental dam) by cutting the ends off an unrolled condom and then cutting down the length of the condom. A dental dam will protect against STDs during oral sex - it's not a form of birth control. Use condoms and other birth control to prevent pregnancy during vaginal sex.

Safer Oral Sex

Safer Oral SexDental dams and condoms help to protect you and your partner from STDs and HIV. For safer oral sex, put a condom on the penis or a dental dam on the anus (the opening in the butt) or vulva (the opening of the vagina, the vaginal "lips" and the clitoris, which is the part most sensitive to touch).

For oral sex on the penis, be sure you know how to use a condom.

What's a dental dam?

A dental dam is a latex square that keeps one partner's body fluids from getting into the other person's body during oral sex. Dentists use them for surgery so they are called dental dams.

How can I get a dental dam?

You have some choices. You could:
  • Buy a Sheer Glyde® dam, which is made for sex and is sold in pharmacies.
  • Get free dental dams in locations that offer free condoms. Your local health center may have some free condoms and dams or may be able to tell you where to get them.
  • Make a dental dam from a latex male condom.

How do I use a dental dam?

For safer oral sex, place a dental dam over the anus or vulva.
  1. Keep it fresh: Use a new dental dam every time you have oral sex. Don't use one that's old and dried out or yellowed, and especially don't use one with holes in it.
  2. Handle with care: Be sure not to damage it with your teeth or fingernails!
  3. Get it slick: Some people like to put a few drops of silicone or water-based lube (like K-Y® or Astroglide®) on the vulva or anus or on the dental dam before having oral sex, because it feels good. But don't use oil-based lube (like Vaseline®) because that may weaken the dam. Flavored, water-based lubricants can also be put on the outside of the dam.
  4. Cover up and hold on: Cover the anus or vulva with the dam. Usually you'll need to hold the dam in place during oral sex.
  5. After sex, wrap it up and throw in the trash (not the toilet).
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