Condoms and dental dams are sex staples for many folks. These barriers have a number of uses, including reducing risk for STI’s/STD’s, lessening the need for clean-up after sex, or simply personal preference. But did you know that barriers can be used with sex toys as well?
Why would you use condoms and dental dams on sex toys?
If you use barriers like condoms, dams, or gloves as part of your safer sex routine, you should also be using them on your sex toys. “Sex toys can pass on chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, bacterial vaginosis, [and] shigella,” says the NHS. “Take care when using penetrative sex toys, particularly if there are any cuts or sores around the vagina, anus or penis and blood is present, as there’s an increased risk of passing on infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.”
But besides risk reduction, what use do barriers have with sex toys? Here’s a few:
- Making it easier to clean. A bare dildo discarded immediately after use will be flaky with bodily fluids and lube in the morning. If a condom was used, it can be peeled off and thrown away, considerably reducing tomorrow’s clean-up.
- Using a sex toy for anal and then vulva stimulation. For example, using a dental dam when teasing a butthole with Sir Richard’s Control Rim Joy so that it can be used on a clitoris later without worrying about fecal matter transfer.
- Protecting non-waterproof or difficult-to-clean sex toys from enthusiastic squirting, period blood/matter, fecal matter, or urine.
- Reducing toy intensity. Are air pulsation toys like Womanizer and Satisfyer too strong even on their lower settings? A dental dam can help soften the sensations.
What can’t barriers do?
“Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD,” warns the CDC. Get tested regularly!
Using barriers on toys is not a replacement for regular cleaning and sanitizing. You should still sanitize your toys between sessions with different partners, and anal and vaginal use.
While it’s often suggested to use condoms on sex toys made of toxic materials to mitigate exposure, there are no studies proving (or disproving!) condoms’ effectiveness in this way. Further, most unsafe toy materials leech oils, which weaken and destroy latex condoms. Every sex toy featured on Peepshow Toys is non-toxic, non-porous, body-safe.
A Warning About Condoms and Silicone Sex Toys
Most condoms are lubricated to protect their longevity and make sex more pleasurable for users. Unfortunately, a majority of condoms are lubricated with silicone lube – which can damage silicone sex toys. Even worse? Many condom manufacturers don’t advertise which lube they use.
Silicone-lubed condoms (like Glyde Ultra Standard, SKYN Elite Non-Latex, and Kimono Micro Thins) are safe to use with body-safe, non-silicone toy materials like metal, glass, and plastic. For silicone toys, you’ll need to use condoms made with water-based lube (like Kimono Aqua Lube Micro Things, Durex Extra Sensitive, or Trojan Ultra-Ribbed), or non-lubricated condoms (like Trojan ENZ or Lifestylez Non-Lubricated.)
How do you use condoms with sex toys?
Depending on the toy, the condom’s fit may look funny. A condom pulled over the Magic Wand’s head and the bottom half of the handle certainly brings out a chuckle at first! But as long as the condom covers the portion of the toy you’re in bodily contact with, and the latex isn’t straining over a harsh angle, it gets the job done. The more often you use condoms on your toys, the more you’ll become accustomed to how to situate them.
When putting on a condom, Planned Parenthood says, “Make sure the condom's ready to roll on the right way: the rim should be on the outside so it looks like a little hat, and it will unroll easily. You can unroll it a little bit before putting it on to make sure it’s right-side out. Pinch the tip of the condom and place it on the head of [your penis or toy].”
“Never put two condoms on at once to try and be "extra safe". Both of them will most likely break due to extra friction. […] One condom, used properly, is as safe as it gets,” emphasizes Scarleteen. A single condom is also enough to protect your toy from bodily fluids, unless you get fluids on your hand and make contact with an unprotected part of the toy. When your play is done, “Throw the condom away in the rubbish bin - NEVER reuse condoms.”
How can you use a dental dam with sex toys?
Dental dams are ideal for protecting toys during external use. A dam can be placed over the penis or vulva, for example, so that a vibrator can be applied to the frenulum or clitoris. Dams can also be used to buffer a toy for rimming.
Dams are most effective when placed against the body and held loosely, not stretched. For a more pleasant experience, lubricate the side facing skin (just steer clear of oil-based lube, which isn't compatible with latex.) Lube will prevent chafing and help keep the dam in place.
Like condoms, dental dams should not be doubled-up or reused. If you or a play partner has a latex allergy, you can turn a non-latex condom like the SKYN Elite Non-Latex Condom into one by snipping the condom’s tip off and then cutting lengthwise down its center.