How do I make a dental dam?

Dear Dr. Amy:

I am a lesbian who has never had intercourse. I was recently diagnosed with genital herpes. I believe that I got it from a previous partner who had a cold sore appear on her lip a day after we engaged in oral sex. We are no longer partners.

After being diagnosed with the virus and being on medication to clear that up…I then noticed a pimple on my lip. The pimple never broke open, but could I also have herpes on my mouth too?

Another question, although I have been diagnosed with genital herpes, is there a possibility that I could spread this to another future partner by kissing them or engaging in oral sex with them. I realize that my days of receiving oral sex are over, but what about giving oral sex?

Dr. Amy’s Response:

Dear Recently Diagnosed With Genital Herpes:

Yes, it is possible to transfer the herpes virus from the mouth to the genitals or from the genitals to the mouth, because transmission occurs when there is contact with an infected or viral shedding area. To confirm that you actually have oral herpes, you should see your physician for testing. To answer the other question you had, that since you have been diagnosed with genital herpes, can you spread this to future partners by kissing or oral sex, that is why I suggested getting a through test to determine if you even have oral herpes. If you do have herpes on your lip, then you can infect your future partners if the infected or viral shedding lip area comes in contact with their lip or genital area.

Certainly, kissing and oral sex would be ways where you could transmit your infection, but don’t think that your days for these activities are over. There are ways that you can protect your self and protect your partners. This can be enjoyably achieved by using a product called a DENTAL DAM.

In fact, they are making dental dams in many varieties. In general, they are latex squares and they usually measure somewhere about 8 to 6 inches. They can be purchased singly; they can be purchased with flavor. There are also actual latex panties that can be ordered. Many people prefer this option, because you don’t have to be constricted by trying to hold the latex in place, which can get to be cumbersome.

The way that you use the dental dam during sex, you will stretch it across your partner’s genitals in order to prevent your tongue from touching your partner. You can find latex dams in either medical supply stores or some sex shops. And as I mentioned before, in the sex shops, you’ll be able to get a greater variety, such as dams that have flavor which can undoubtedly add to the experience and make it more pleasurable. When you want to get romantic with somebody and it is not convenient to run out to an adult store, there are ways you can make dental dams right at home. One way is by making a dam out of a condom. In this case, do not use a condom that is lubricated. Since you are going to be putting your mouth on it, that would definitely be a turn – off.

You can make your own dental dam

……Now to make a dam out of a condom, first you cut off the tip of it and then you cut off the base. Finally, cut down one of the sides. You now have an instant square latex dam. You also can make a dam out of a latex glove. Not a kitchen or garden glove, nor the kind of latex glove that has talc powder inside, because again, you are going to be putting your mouth on it, and that surely is not going to be very tasty. So, if you are going to use a glove, you first cut off the fingers, and then you cut off the base. Now cut along the thumb of the palm and you can leave the thumb on. What you will have is a dental dam with a bonus thumb handle, which will help to hold things in place. You also can use the latex fingers that are left to cover your fingers so you are able to have contact and touch your partner. You will find that using a dam and a latex glove on your hand at the same time is going to be difficult to do, because it is difficult to hold the dam in place if you are going to have latex on your hand. Another helpful barrier for oral sex is right in your kitchen and that is using plastic wrap, but specifically using Saran Wrap. This is a brand that has been tested by the FDA for its ability to stop viruses. So, Saran Wrap will work and many people like Saran Wrap since it is not as thick as the latex used for the dental dams so it might heighten some feelings of sensitivity and also for the person who is going to be giving oral sex, it’s also going to enhance your ability to be able to enjoy the feel of your partner’s genitals.

After using a dam, always remember it is very important to carefully dispose of your dams after you use them. Never reuse a dam. You may inadvertently put the wrong side towards your mouth, and that would be defeating the purpose.

There are also flavored water-based lubes that you can use on barriers, which could be a dental dam as well as a condom, if that is what you are using for sex with a male partner. One final note, on the use of Saran Wrap, the prevention is limited to, almost exclusively, performing cunnilingus and analingus, because it is a less substantial material, other uses for it would not be advised as an effective barrier because the Saran Wrap could get torn.


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