Why is it that condoms are predominantly accepted and encouraged for all spectrums of sex (oral/anal/vaginal), but no one talks about the dental dam?
Okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun. In case you don’t know what a dental dam is, it is a piece of latex that is placed over a woman’s vagina or a woman/man’s anus during oral sex to protect against STIs.
I believe, and feel free to correct me, that it is not uncommon for a guy/girl to demand to use a condom when performing oral sex on a guy. Yet, the image of a guy or girl whipping out a dental dam seems incongruous to the American-Northeast-college-culture me.
But why should that be? After all, it’s just another way to stay safe. Why did I never encounter serious discussion about them? Why were they never part of my popular culture? Why do I see people handing out free condoms, but no free dental dams? I’m asking you, dear reader.
Maybe it’s not worth teaching: after all, the condom is far more versatile than the dental dam; so maybe educators would rather stress the condom than divide the attention of young people.
Maybe it’s a feminist issue: I often hear that not enough attention is given to pleasing women orally; so if women aren’t getting oral pleasure in the first place, it follows that no one would talk about the dental dam.
Maybe people are weirded out: most people don’t know how to use dental dams; it’s not part of our culture, so people are unsure of where to get them, where to get information, how to bring it up to a partner, etc.
The thing that somewhat shocked me was that even a Google search on the topic was unsatisfying. You have the typical “teen health” sites, but not much more. When you search “condom” you get all sorts of interesting media, information, and designer options. Not so for dental dams.
I don’t know.
I asked some of my lady friends on facebook what they thought. Here are some responses (they have been kept anonymous for the purpose of this post):
“I would be really weirded out by the whole thing and if he decided to whip it out right before, I would be turned off. Also, I don’t understand how you’re supposed to feel anything when you use it…”
“Well, I really don’t see it being very effective as a protective tool. At least with a condom, the only inhibition is decreased sensation. I’d imagine that a dental dam would completely restrict not only sensation but the actual procedural “technique”- I seriously can’t imagine how it would even work at all, never mind well.”
“I’d probably applaud the fact that [a guy] knows what a dental dam is and is thoughtful enough to consider the consequences of oral sex with a relatively unknown partner.”
“If girls have the right to insist on a guy wearing a condom during oral sex, I suppose the guy has every right to do the same. I think the familiarity of condoms versus that of dental dams is what is so off-putting to most females, at least for me. It’s more unusual, I imagine, for a man to request a dental dam than it is for a girl to request wearing a condom.”
As always, I’ll leave you with this message: be safe out there, and use protection. If you want to try out the dental dam, use this tip by my friend:
“Dental dams can be easily made from condoms by just cutting off both ends and slicing it down the middle.”
About the Author (Author Profile)An expat and perpetual wanderer, Tino studied Linguistics and Psychology in CAS. He now teaches Spanish in Detroit. Interests include: bulky journals, tattoos, Arizona black&white tea, food, C3, introspection and over-analysis.
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