DAMS AND LUBE: PLEASURE INCLUSIVE HARM REDUCTION
Recent studies have shown that HPV has surpassed tobacco as the leading cause of mouth cancers (75% of mouth/throat cancers are caused by HPV). While it is a fact that and / or smoking & drinking could be the culprit, it is also a fact that the type of cancer caused by HPV is most often connected with oral sex … and detected mostly in men.
The real point is, that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease to date and an STI that 90% of sexually active Americans carry in some form or another, and most times show no outward signs of the virus. The fact is, HPV can be contracted through unprotected cunnilingus and it can cause cancer.
Unfortunately, while we are still trying to get people to protect themselves and others by wearing, or having their partners wear condoms, protecting oneself from STI’s from cunnilingus has gone mostly unmentioned in the mainstream media. According to an article in Time magazine,, Dr. Robert Haddad, clinical director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute says “(HPV) is a significant health issue,” and that “public awareness of the HPV virus needs to be just like that of HIV because the virus causes multiple types of cancer.” In all reality, anyone who performs cunnilingus should be educated about doing it safely, in tandem with barrier method education, as the risk of infection is greatly reduced when proper measures have been taken.
But “proper measures” means using a barrier method called a dental dam (or dam for short) for oral sex performed on a vulva or anus. A dam is a swath of very thin latex, usually about 6”x8” in size that covers the vulva (and/or anus) and can be stretched to provide extra length or width. But for most, using a dam is a hard sell at best. Dams are not something most are taught about in sex education classes in school, if you were lucky enough to even get the class in the first place. Using dams for cunnilingus can feel very much like cunnilingus without a dam if you employ an intimate lube, like Sliquid’s water-based natural lubricant (oils will break down latex so using it in conjunction with a dam is a no-no). Here are just a couple of ways using an intimate lube can make using a dam more fun.
For instance using a dam with a personal lubricant between the dam and the vulva can make the experience for the receiver seem like there might not be a thin layer of latex between you two at all. Because the lube acts like the receiver’s own natural essence, the slip that an intimate lubricant provides means there’s no drag of the latex against skin. Fun fact, Sliquid offers several formulas of water-based lube between their Naturals Collection and Organics Collection that are infused with an ingredient called Carrageenan, which has been shown in many studies to act as a barrier or inhibitor of the more commonly recognized strains of HPV that one might test positive for in an HPV test or even with an abnormal Pap smear. Please note, however, that there are now over 100 recognized strains of HPV, and currently there isn’t anything “fool proof” to prevent the transmission of the virus between partners.
But what about the giver? Another way to make using a dam more fun, is for the giver to use a flavored personal lubricant (Sliquid’s Swirl Collection is a great choice) on top of the dam to mitigate any latex flavor the dam might have. Use both these tricks together and you’re rocking some awesome oral sex for both of you while practicing safer sex!