A dam, or dental dam, is a small, thin, square piece of latex that offers protection from infection during oral sex. It reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections that are likely to be caused by the contact between the mouth and genitals. They get their name because of being used for dental procedures. When in use, dental dam envelops the genital area. This mode of prevention is extremely beneficial if one of the sex partners have some viral mouth infections such as cold sores. In that case, there is an increased chance of infection to spread from the mouth to genitals during oral sex. Bacteria present in the rectum or the anus can also cause infections if they happen to spread to the vagina. A dam effectively helps in the prevention of such infections.
In order to use the dam, first take it out of the sealed cover. Then hold the dam up and show it under light. This is to double check that there are no holes on its surface. Now, the dam should be placed on the genital area. There is no need to stretch it. It can be placed on the genital area as it is. In order to hold it in place, harness can be used. A dam can be used only once. It should neither be shared.
For increased sexual sensitivity, water-based lubricants can be spread on the body before fixing the dam. Dams should be stored in a cool and dry place. It is advisable not to expose the dam to direct sunlight. Before using dams, ensure that your partner is not allergic to latex. Since dental dams prevent the entry of bodily fluids, sexually transmitted infections like herpes, genital warts and HIV get effectively checked. But, it needs to be ensured that dams are used consistently and properly.
Some people reshape their condoms and use them as dams. After taking the condom out of the wrapper, it should be cut through the centre, while still rolled up. It should then be flattened and can be used as a dam.