How to Use a Dental Dam to Protect Yourself from Zika During Oral Sex

How to Use a Dental Dam to Protect Yourself from Zika During Oral Sex

It may be possible to contract the Zika virus through oral sex. It turns out that a dental dam can prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

A new letter written by scientists to the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that it’s possible the Zika virus can be transmitted by oral sex.

The letter details the case of a 24-year old French woman who became infected with the infamous virus after engaging in sexual activity with an infected 46-year old man just back to Paris from Rio de Janeiro.

According to, the couple had sex several times over the course of about nine days, which included vaginal sex without ejaculation and oral sex with ejaculation.

What’s the problem? The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a public health emergency for Zika virus, which is a known cause of microcephaly- a condition which causes an under developed brain- in a fetus.


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Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated, the WHO states. And so, with Zika increasing its spread of infection worldwide, the main question is, how can you protect yourself from getting it?

Naturally, avoiding areas where the mosquito-born virus is prevalent is a primary key to prevention, but so is safe sex.

Condoms are a no-brainer for use in protection against contracting STDs. Many people don’t stop to think about protecting themselves when engaging in oral sex though, and if they did want to, a good deal of these people don’t know how to go about doing it.

So, in comes the dental dam. You may have heard of it. It may have passed you in conversation along with a solid dose of snickering and a sprinkling of snide comments, but if you’re looking to protect yourself against STDs, as most people are, it’s actually no laughing matter.


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A dental dam is very easy to use. It’s so straightforward that it’s even possible to make your own out of a condom.

Here’s what it is: a dental dam is a small sheet of rubber or plastic that acts as a barrier between a one partner’s mouth and the others’ genitals.

To use, place it over a woman’s vulva before performing oral sex on her, or over a partner’s anus.

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(Photo credit: advises that users place a few drops of water-based (latex-friendly) lubricant on the reverse side of the dental dam before placing it on a vagina/anus, in order to make it more sensitive. This will also help hold the barrier in place.

Why are they called ‘dental dams’? The barrier was originally developed for use in dental offices, in order to protect dentists working on patients’ teeth.

For more tips on dental dams and how to use them, click here.

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