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Home » Sexual Resources » Sex Articles » Sexual Health

Condoms & Dental Dams
The Basics & Getting Creative

Because condoms, female condoms and dental dams have become so common, it is easy to assume we know everything about them. However, there have been some new developments in the world of condoms and there may be some things that you may learn in this article that will be helpful in making your sex life safer and more pleasurable.

Why Are Condoms Important?

Condoms are the only form of protection that can both help to stop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and prevent pregnancy.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.

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Condom Materials

Condoms are typically made of latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene, however, silicone condoms are also coming out.

To learn more about condom materials and what is safe to use in regard to lubricants and how to dispose of them see our article: Condom Recycling.

Putting On A Condom

Unrolling & Squeezing The Air Out

Roll the condom onto the wearer's penis about one inch. Then squeeze the air out of the reservoir tip with your thumb and forefinger. For condoms with no reservoir, allow a little slack at the tip and pinch out any air. This will be much easier to do if the inside of the condom is lubricated.

Tips On Using Condoms

  • Put a condom on after the penis is erect (hard).
  • If using a spermicide, put some inside the condom tip.
  • After ejaculation and before the penis gets soft, grip the rim of the condom and carefully withdraw from your partner.
  • If the condom does not have a reservoir tip, pinch the tip enough to leave a half -inch space for the semen to collect.
  • Extreme temperatures,-especially heat, can make latex brittle or gummy (like an old balloon). Therefore, don't store condoms in hot places like a glove compartment, your wallet or back pocket for any length of time.
  • If you do carry a condom around for more than a few weeks without using it, throw it out and store a new one.
  • If a penis is uncircumcised (uncut), the foreskin must be pulled back before putting on the condom.
  • Make sure the condom is right-side out.

Putting On A Condom Using Your Mouth

Putting a condom on with your mouth can make the whole process more erotic. Yes, the person putting in on will have a rubber taste in their mouth, so you may want to opt to reduce that flavor by using flavored condoms for the little trick.

  • Put the condom so that it will unroll away from you.
  • Put the condom in your mouth with the tip facing the back of your throat.
  • Allow the ends of the condom to sit in front of your front teeth, between your gums and inside your bottom lip.
  • Squeeze the tip of the condom to remove the air by flattening the tip between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
  • Slide it down the shaft of their penis being careful to avoid breaking the condom with your teeth.
  • Do not allow your mouth to touch any part of the penis shaft or surrounding areas. Protect yourself with the condom.

The Do's & Don't For Condoms


  • Use only water or silicone based lubricants both inside and outside the condom.
  • Use a new condom for every act of intercourse.
  • Put a condom on before any contact is made between the penis and any part of the partners body.
  • Wrap a used condom in a tissue and throw it in the trash.


  • Don't use your teeth, scissors or sharp nails when opening a condom wrapper and make sure you can see what your doing!
  • Never use lubricants that contain oils, fat or greases such as petroleum jelly ( like Vaseline) baby oils or lotion, hand or body lotions, cooking oils or oily cosmetics like  cold cream. They can seriously weaken latex causing a condom to form tin holes and  tear easily.
  • Never use the same condom for vaginal and anal intercourse. Never use a condom that has been used by someone else.
  • Don't flush them down the toilet they will come back to haunt you!

Condoms As A Birth Control & STD Protector

Using Condoms For Contraception

Condoms are easy to use, inexpensive, offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases and have a 2% per-year pregnancy rate when properly used. Condoms may be combined with other forms of contraception (such as spermicide) for greater protection.

What Can Condoms Help Prevent?

  • Pregnancy
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • HPV Genital Warts
  • Hepatitis B, C and D
  • Syphilis

What Can't Condoms Prevent?

  • Crabs/Pubic Lice
  • Molluscum Contagiosum - a viral infection of the skin or occasionally of the mucous membranes.
  • Chancroid - is a sexually transmitted infection characterized by painful sores on the genitalia.
  • Herpes
  • Genital warts (if present on the skin around the genitals)

Avoid Nonoxynol 9

Nonoxynol 9 is a spermicide that was thought in the past to help to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and other STDs, but it is now known to be ineffective. Some people have an allergic reaction to Nonoxynol 9 that can result in little sores, which can actually make the transmission of HIV more likely.

Ribbed, Swirled & More

Ribbed condoms are textured with ribs or bumps, which can increase sensation for both partners. Condoms also come in a variety of colors It's up to you which shape you choose. All of the differences in shape are designed to suit different personal preferences and enhance pleasure. It is important to communicate with your partner to be sure that you are using condoms that satisfy both of you.

The Right Condom Fit

The condom will need to fit snugly around the shaft of your partner's penis. It shouldn't slide around on him while it's sliding around in you unless he is wearing a snug condom at the bottom of the base of his penis or a cock ring to prevent slipping. The trade of is sensation, the more snug a condom is the less sensation a man typically gets... the real question here is how careful do you want to play it.

When A Condom Is Too Small

Condoms that are too tight may cause a numbing sensation that decreases feeling, thus make staying aroused or cumming more difficult. True, it can prolong sex, as it can act as a cock ring, but if you are struggling with Erectile Dysfunction, then you should get a loose condom.

Magnum XL-

Is one of the widest latex condom available. For those familiar with the original Magnum, XL, it is nearly 15% wider and about the same length. The XL is also about 15% wider than Trojan Large, 30% larger than average sized condoms, and is clearly the best choice for men who need protection with extra closet space.

Preventing Condoms Coming Off During Sex

For Women-

Perhaps while you were having sex, you suddenly realize that the condom isn't on anymore. You look everywhere and still can't find the condom. Is it possible to have the condom stuck inside of you? How far up could the condom go?

A condom cannot go up into your body and enter your uterus, but can get up inside an area called the fornix.

If you imagine your cervix to be the "wall" of a castle, the fornix would be the "moat" around it. In other words, there's a slightly recessed area around the circle of your cervix into which something like a condom could get tucked.

Keep in mind that while some lost condoms wind up there others get lost in bunched up sheets or between the mattress and the wall or some other obscure place. Make sure to look around you in addition to inside you.

What To Do If It Is Inside You

Have your partner sweep their third finger (with hopefully short fingernails) around the outer circle of your cervix. Your partner may feel it and be able to pull it out. If you can get a flashlight and spread yourself open, sometimes you can see it. You can also try douching or using the stream of a tub facet, or removable shower head to flush it out or at least get is lower and more easily reached, however remember that using water inside you to flush it out may expose the ejaculate more than it possibly already has been. If any ejaculate was in the condom, you are now more at risk for STDs and pregnancy. If you can't find it in you or the room and cannot find it inside you, see a gynecologist. You don't want it to stay lodged in your vagina as it can cause potential health problems if it remains inside you.

The Erection Factor

Erections can come and go, so if this is the case, the condom may loosen its grip and slip off. If this is an issue, a smaller sized condom, or saying and doing things that will maintain arousal during sex, may help in this situation. Be aware that desensitizing cream can also cause a loss or lowered erection, while cock rings can provide assistance with maintaining an erection and keeping the penis harder and more engorged. Using a cockring over a condom can also help them stay on.

Withdrawing Correctly

When withdrawing, hold onto the rim of the condom with your fingers (or with your partner's fingers). This can prevent the condom from coming off.

How Do I know If A Condom Is Safe?

In the USA, condoms should be FDA approved, in Britain they should carry the British Standard Kite Mark or the EEC Standard Mark (CE) and elsewhere in the world, they should be ISO approved.

Condoms have an expiration (Exp) or manufacture (MFG) date on the box or individual package that tells you when it is safe to use the condom until. It's important to check this when you use a condom. You should also make sure the package and the condom appear to be in good condition. Condoms can deteriorate if not stored properly as they are affected by both heat and light. So it's best not to use a condom that has been stored in your back pocket, your wallet, or the glove compartment of your car. If a condom feels sticky or very dry you shouldn't use it as the packaging has probably been damaged.

When Someone Tries To Talk You Out Of Using A Condom


  • Don't you trust me?
    This is not about trust, people can have infections without realizing it.

  • It does not feel as good with a condom.
    We can do things to make it feel better for you, but without it, we won't be having sex.

  • I don't stay hard when I put on a condom.
    I'll help you put it on, that will help you keep it hard.

  • I can't feel a thing when I wear a condom.
    Maybe that way you'll last even longer and that will make up for it.

  • Putting it on interrupts everything.
    Not if I help put it on.

  • I guess you don't really love me.
    I do, but I don't need to prove it this way.

  • I will pull out in time.
    Women can get pregnant and get STDs from pre-ejaculate.

  • But I love you.
    Then you'll help us to protect ourselves.

  • Just this once.
    Once is all it takes.


Condom Accessories

French Ticklers

A French Tickler is a condom like penis sleeve that has a textured tip designed for enhancing sexual pleasure. A typical French Tickler uses a number of bumps, crests and falls in the lining of the latex ostensibly to make sexual intercourse more enjoyable or pleasurable for the recipient. French ticklers have become less popular with advancements in vibrating cockrings which stimulate women more. Because of their thick ends, decrease sensitivity for the male using it and therefore may aide in prolonging sex. Ticklers do put increased stress on the tip and are more easily broken.


Using a condom with a cockring is a great idea. Cock rings can-

  • Make A Man's Erection Harder
  • Enhance pleasure for him and her.
  • Hold condoms in place

Flavored Condoms

Flavored condoms can also be used with flavored lubricant. They taste better and add a sensual dimension to oral sex with a condom.

Using Lubricants With Condoms

Using lubricants with condoms is a great idea. It will enhance the sensations of both people, and it will greatly increase the safety of using a condom by decreasing the chances of it breaking.

Because unlubricated condoms are often quite dry inside, they can further dull sensation by ceasing any friction against the penis. Therefore, using a bit of lubricant in the tip of the penis is often helpful. Do not put lubricant toward the end of the condom as this may make the condom slide off the base of the penis more easily.

Using lubricants on the outside of a condom is also a great idea for both vaginal and anal sex as it allows the protected penis to slide more easily in and out enhancing pleasure for both parties.

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Female Condom Basics

Why Are Condoms Important?

Female condoms are the only form of protection that can both help to stop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and prevent pregnancy.

What Is The Female Condom

The female condom is a thin sheath or pouch worn by a woman during sex. It entirely lines the vagina and helps to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV.

How Well the Female Condom Works

Of 100 women who use female condoms, 21 will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. Five will become pregnant with perfect use.

How the Female Condom Is Used

Detailed instructions for correct use are included in the packaging for the female condom. Be sure to read and understand them before you use it.

To insert the female condom, lubricate the closed end. Squeeze together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina like a tampon. Push the inner ring into the vagina as far as it can go – until it reaches the cervix. Withdraw your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside the vagina. During intercourse, movement of the condom from side to side is normal. Stop intercourse if the penis slips between the condom and the walls of the vagina or if the outer ring is pushed into the vagina. If ejaculation has not occurred, gently remove the condom from the vagina, add extra lubricant, and insert it once again. To remove the female condom, squeeze and twist the outer ring to keep semen inside the pouch. Gently pull it out of the vagina. Throw it away. Do not flush. Do not reuse.


Dental Dams

Dental dams are small, thin, square pieces of latex that are used for oral-vaginal or oral-anal sex. They get their name from their use in dental procedures.

Dental dams help to reduce the transmission of STDs during oral sex by acting as a barrier to vaginal and anal secretions that contain bacteria and viruses. They come in a variety of sizes and flavors - so you can find a dam that satisfies your tastes.

Because dental dams act as a barrier to bodily fluids, they help reduce STD transmission. Many STDs, such as herpes, genital warts and HIV, can be transmitted through oral sex.

Like condoms, dental dams must be used correctly and consistently in order to be effective.

How the Dental Dam Is Used

Although it may seem a little awkward to use them at first, dental dams are extremely easy to use. Before using the dam you may want to rinse off any powder that's on the dam and check the dam to make sure there are no holes or perforations. The partner performing oral sex will hold the dam against the vulva or anus of the receiving partner.

Using A Waterbased Lubricant Enhances Pleasure

You can opt to apply a lubricant on the vulva or anus before using the dam. The lubricant can help increase the sensation for the recipient. Just make sure the lubricant is a waterbased lube because oil-based lubes and lotions can degrade the latex and decrease the dam's effectiveness. We recommend using a flavored lubricant for extra pleasure to the user.

What To Avoid While Using A Dental Dam

When you use the dental dam, be sure to ONLY use one side. Don't flip the dam over for another round because you will expose yourself to the very fluids you're trying to avoid! And do not reuse a dam on another body part (e.g. from anus to vulva or vice-versa) because you can transfer germs from one body area to another.

Do not reuse a dam for another act of oral sex later on either. Dams are for one-time use only.

Can You Feel Anything Using A Dental Dam?

The feeling of latex will be different than a tongue, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Using a dental dam with lube can offer your partner a new type of stimulation.


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