Condoms are classic contraceptives for penetrative sex, but what about oral sex? Or lesbian sex? Or non-penetrative sexual contact?
The options that exist to prevent STIs between two (or more!) vagina-havers are not particularly fantastic. Many lesbians I’ve known over the years have told me they only have sex with other gold-star lesbians (women who have NEVER slept with a man) and then they kind of just, don’t worry about contracting any sexually-transmitted diseases or infections.
As a bisexual woman, I found this…odd.
Any time that I hooked up with a woman, the conversation around sex was more around the last time you were tested for STIs, and whether or not you slept with any men since. I had never actually used protection while hooking up with a woman. I didn’t really know what options existed other than dental dams.
Turns out, there weren’t any other options until VERY recently. So, I decided to try them out!
How Risky is Oral Sex?
I know, oral sex doesn’t seem risky, but it is!
You can still contract human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis via oral sex. What’s more is that there’s a strong connection between oral sex and the increasing rates of head, neck, and throat (oropharyngeal) cancers in men and women.
HPV is responsible for approximately 34,800 cases of cancer each year, directly causing 70% of the oropharyngeal cancers.
Beyond STIs, those of us with sensitive vaginas know how delicate they can be.
UTIs seem to happen at the drop of a hat and can be caused by a whole host of reasons, including whether or not the person going down on you drank beer that day or washes with a certain kind of soap. Or perhaps you’ve developed a taste for tossed salad, but fear fecal problems. Using a barrier for oral sex can help prevent that sort of thing from happening, which in turn helps you relax and enjoy!
It’s great that people are freer in their sexual explorations these days, but we still want to limit the risks involved.
A wearable barrier for people with vaginas, or who want their ass licked, can go a long way to prevent the spread of infections. In this ongoing pandemic, we’re all rethinking the ways we interact with other people. Adding extra layers of protection can save lives.
Option#1: Dental Dams
$24 for a 30-pack of xtra thin dental dams
I needed a baseline for comparison, so I gave the good ol’ dental dam a try.
It was pretty clear to see why many people don’t bother with them. They were never designed to be used for sex. They’re called dental dams, not because of any allusion to oral sex, but because they were used BY DENTISTS.
That’s right, the best safer-sex product for lesbians was some make-shift solution borrowed from dentists, the scariest of health professionals because capitalism doesn’t care about vaginas.
So, generations of lesbians have been turning to dental dams to protect against STIs, and let me tell you, they are NOT ideal. It’s just a sheet of latex. It moves around and you have to hold it in place, so if you’re pleasuring your partner, one hand is keeping it in place while the other is helping out your mouth if you aren’t already using it to lean on.
The upside, though, is that the dental dams I got from Stockroom are decently thin, so you can feel everything quite nicely, they smell nice without being overpowering and they even smooth out the roughness of any callous or hangnail! As a guitar player, I find this particularly helpful. No one wants a crusty, calloused finger on their clit!
Option#2: Leather Harness from Stockroom
This option was fantastic! The leather harness adds an extra kinky feel that more than makes up for the awkwardness of dental dams. Equipped with some well-placed snaps, you can position the dental dam more front or more back depending on your preference for cunnilingus vs anilingus. If you don’t want to have to choose, you can double up on dental dams for double the fun!
The straps are all adjustable, so you can find the fit that feels right for you. One strap goes around your waist and then one around each of your legs. The leg straps can even move around along the waist line, so you can adjust every aspect of the harness.
However, the maximum waist size is 34”.
If your body is bigger than that, which many if not most are, it may be worth asking about custom sizing. These harnesses are custom made to begin with so there’s a good chance they can work with whatever your body shape demands.
The (arguably) best part is that with this harness, you now have your hands free for whatever else you’d like to play with! The sky’s the limit! Plus, you can use it again and again, as much as you like. You just have to switch out the latex, which is super easy.
If you’re into fetish wear, this is a clear winner and a perfect addition to any Kink Kit.
Option#3: Disposable Latex Undies by Lorals
$25 for a 4-pack of Lorals Panties
These were by far the cutest option! Nice black latex undies in two different styles : bikini or boy shorts. The logo was very classy on the hip and I really wanted to love these. However, there was a MAJOR drawback that honestly, would be very difficult to overcome for any company making wearable undies.
The latex gripped my pubic hair and RIPPED at my delicate flesh! It hurt SO MUCH! I definitely wouldn’t recommend this option for anyone who prefers a natural pubic hair style. The first attempt at using these undies was very, very *uh* brief.
However, they do look great, and I really wanted to give them an honest try so I did what any good product tester would do: I shaved off all my pubic hair.
And BOY what a difference it made! I went from being scared to move to well, uh, very much enjoying them. They had a mild vanilla smell and a pleasant, gentle taste. They made me feel sexy, feminine, and fresh, plus they have a very satisfying snap to them.
Currently, there is only one size, and it’s pretty small. They stretch to accommodate up to size 14 and there are plans to have larger sizes available in the near future.
They were black and fairly opaque which made it difficult to see what’s going on. This could be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective. For anyone who is visually-oriented and needs to SEE what they’re doing, this is not the option for you. If you prefer to FEEL your way, perhaps this won’t be any trouble at all!
Option#4: Disposable Latex Undies by Luxurity
$19.99 for a 2-pack of Luxurity Panties
Luxurity is right! These disposable undies had a soft, stretchy waistband that felt very much like regular underwear and they came in a delightful shade of pastel green. The color of the undies made it easy to see what was going on, and the latex covered everything it needed to without being entirely latex.
They come in strawberry, vanilla, and mint. I got mint. The smell and taste were subtle and pleasant, though I felt a slight menthol effect which could be a plus or minus. If you’re into “cooling” sex products, this will be right up your alley!
The design felt a little loose on my body, so it might be a better option for larger bodies. There wasn’t any sort of pinching or discomfort other than the mildly baggy feeling.
This is a fantastic option for comfort, softness, and taste. It also didn’t tug on any pubes, so that’s definitely a plus for those who prefer the more natural aesthetic!
Vegan, phthalate-free, paraben-free and chlorine-free
Lorals boasts being all of these things and I honestly wasn’t sure if these were unique to that brand. It turns out that dipped-latex products use casein, a milk protein. THERE’S DAIRY IN CONDOMS! Isn’t that wild?
I wasn’t able to determine if the other brands could boast the same qualities, but it seems as though it does matter. Chlorine-free latex is going to be better for the environment. Phthalate-free and paraben-free latex is better for your health. Ultimately though, it’s up to you and your own judgment of the importance of these characteristics.
Just a quick note about lube. Use it.
Ok, you don’t have to, but it definitely makes the whole experience MUCH more fun! Don’t forget that water-based & silicone lubes are your best bet. Oil-based lubricants should be avoided because they may break down the latex which would decrease the effectiveness.
Put a bit of lube under the barrier of choice, and voilà! P l e a s u r e
This is an exciting new area of growth in the sex industry that has huge potential not only for safety but for pleasure!
Overall, the options available cater to smaller sizes and some of the designs are a touch awkward, which is a bummer, but if we want to have more options available, we need to support the companies that are making these products. These products are already pretty great and just imagine how much better they’ll become with more resources!
So, put your money where your mouth is and support wearable barrier products, if not for you, for someone you love.