Sex Questions from the Twittersphere: Tips for Dental Dams?

Dr. Carol Queen answers questions from our social networks.

Q: Got any tips for using Dental Dams?

Oh, fabulous question! First, one type of dental dam was designed for safer sex rather than dentistry: the Glyde dam is larger than old-style dental dams, so get hold of that kind if you can. Mark the dam with an indelible marker so that if it does get away from you, you’ll know which side was the lick-safe side, and which side was up against the body of the lick-ee. If your partner doesn’t writhe and clutch the sheets when you’re going down, give her (or him) the responsibility of holding the top two corners, and you keep track of the bottom ones.

What, you tried that and the dam wound up inside the pillowcase? Perhaps you need a dam holder. Sadly, for this you have to improvise. If you like the accoutrements of crafty-ness, clip the dam into an embroidery hoop. Perhaps you can take turns pretending you’re Martha Stewart! If the look of lingerie is fun, rip the crotch out of a pair of panties and tape a dam into the space. A woman in Northern California has been trying for years to get such a panty manufactured — fingers-crossed that the stars will align for her soon and we can put the duct tape away. (Actually, duct tape will be hard to remove from the panty contraption if you do this; it’s probably better to use fabric tape or even electrical tape.) There was once an elastic gizmo that you could snap the dam into and then wear like panties… I have not seen this thing in well over a decade and am not even sure it’s still being manufactured (do any readers know? Weigh in, please!).

Many people have bailed out on dental dams completely in favor of plastic wrap for safe cunnilingus and anilingus: it comes in big sheets (but one end under your partner’s ass to anchor it), it’s clingy, and if you have a real thrasher on your hands, you can wrap it around your partner like a kind of loincloth. You can get it in pretty colors! People are worried that microwaveable wrap will let viruses and germs through, but it’s designed to become gas-permeable at something like 140 degrees — if you can get your sweetheart that hot, you GO!



Related at Good Vibrations:

Dental Dam Info
Dental Dam 8 X 6
Hot Dam Non-Latex


Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at

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