The dam is a thin sheet of latex rubber or silicone that some people choose to use during oral sex (mouth to vagina or mouth to anus).
How does it protect against STIs?
The dam provides a barrier between the mouth and the vagina or anus, preventing the transfer of bodily fluids between partners.
When used correctly, the dam prevents skin-to-skin contact and can help to reduce the risk of getting STIs such as herpes and genital warts (HPV).
Where can I get dams?
- Family Planning NSW clinics and online store
- Some sexual health clinics
- Some pharmacies / chemists
- Online stores
Always ask for consent from your partner before you have oral sex.
- Each dam can be used once only.
- Dams come in different flavours, so find one that you and your partner enjoy.
- Make sure the dam is kept the same way during oral sex – one side in contact with the genitals, the other side in contact with the mouth. If unsure, get a new dam.
- Always use a different dam when switching between mouth to anus and mouth to vagina to minimise transfer of bacteria from the anus to vagina.
- A water-based lubricant used on the underside of the dam (side in contact with the vagina or the anus) may increase pleasure.
How to use a dam
- Gain consent (don’t forget to ask!).
- Check the expiry date.
- Carefully open the plastic packet (do not use your teeth or scissors).
- Put some water-based lube on one side of the dam if you want.
- Lay the dam flat (lube side down) covering the vaginal or anal area.
- Hold the edges of the dam during oral sex to keep it in place, taking care not to stretch it.
- After oral sex wrap the dam in a tissue and put it in the bin (not down the toilet).
The dam is not a form of contraception and does not prevent pregnancy. It can
only be used for oral sex activities, not for penetrative sex (penis in vagina or anus).
Gloves (latex or polyurethane) can be used as a protective barrier for manual sex (using your hand to touch / finger your partner’s genitals); particularly if there are cuts or sores on the hand or if the girl has her period.