STIs

Preventing STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be passed on through any type of sex including vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, rimming and mutual masturbation/ fingering. Having regular STI check ups and any treatment if needed, can help you look after your own and your sexual partners health and well-being.

One of the best ways of preventing the transmission of STIs (along with unintended pregnancies) is the effective use of condoms. Find out more about male and female condoms and how to use them.

Another method of preventing STI transmission is in using dental dams (small, thin, square pieces of latex) that are used for oral-vaginal or oral-anal sex.  Originally used by dentists, dental dams are much like a latex condom but are used to prevent STIs by acting as a protective barrier between your mouth and the vagina or anus.

How to Use a Dental Dam

Using a dental dam may feel awkward at first, but they’re easy to get used to. Some people may feel that using a dental dam will take away from the pleasure of oral sex but this is not necessarily the case.

  • Carefully remove the dam from the packaging making sure that you do not damage the dam
  • Inspect the dam for any holes or tears
  • Wet the vagina or anal area with a water based lubricant (do not use any oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline, petroleum jelly or baby oil as oil based lubricants can break down the material (latex) of the dental dam, causing it to leak or tear
  • Position and hold the dental dam over the vulva or anus during oral sex. Make sure the dam stays in place
  • Do not lick the side of the dam which has been in contact with the vaginal or anal area
  • Use a new Dental Dam for each different sexual activity just like you would with a condom e.g. if you switch back and forth from oral-anal (analingus) to oral-vaginal (cunilingus), or vice versa
  • Never use a dam more than once
  • Wrap the used dam in a tissue and place it in the bin

How to use a dental dam (video)