Dam. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a new alternative to dental dams when it comes to guarding against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during oral sex. And the alternative is a little vanilla. It’s vanilla-scented underwear from Lorals that’s supposed to serve as a barrier between your mouth and the other person’s naughty bits.
Here is an Instagram post from the company announcing the FDA clearance:
The specific product is Lorals for Protection, which comes in both bikini and shortie styles. A pack of four individually packaged briefs would cost $25 plus shipping and handling, which would be about the cost of two head massagers, the full set of Cards Against Humanity, two Venus fly traps, or a cast-iron skillet. While having protection doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing comfort or pleasure, keep in mind that the Lorals for Protection product is distinctly different from the company’s Lorals for Comfort and Lorals for Pleasure products, as the latter two are not designed to protect against STIs. Therefore, it is always a good idea to pay close attention to packaging and labeling to ensure that a particular product is indeed FDA cleared and approved to serve as barrier protection.
Of course, many things could serve as a barrier between your mouth and another person’s naughty parts, like a brick wall, a frying pan, or armor. Oral sex involves using the mouth, tongue, or lips to stimulate a person’s vulva (also known as cunnilingus), penis (also known as fellatio), or anus (also known as rimming). Anything else, like erecting a podium in the bedroom or giving a very seductive PowerPoint presentation, probably doesn’t qualify as oral sex. Therefore, to facilitate oral sex, the barrier protection must be thin enough to allow adequate stimulation, yet impermeable enough to prevent actual direct physical contact or fluid leakage from the bits. In essence, such a barrier should help make a person’s crotch look a bit like Las Vegas. What happens in the crotch must stay in the crotch.
Lorals for Protection seems to fit these needs. The Lorals website describes the underwear as “ultra-thin and stretchy,” which would be better than “thick and stiff like a parka,” at least when it comes to STI prevention during oral sex. These are not the same as traditional underwear. And it’s probably not the kind of underwear to wear when your main goal is to keep your genitals nice and warm during sub-zero weather or provide enough protection when a runaway sled crashes into your groin.
Instead, this underwear is more like a dam, so to speak, or more like a condom. They are supposed to block the transmission of nasty pathogens like herpes viruses and the bacteria that cause gonorrhea and syphilis. And just like condoms and dental dams, these underwear are designed to be single use. In this case, single use is not meant specifically for people who are not married. Believe it or not, married people have oral sex too. Rather, single-use means that the pair of underwear should be disposed of once it has been worn. This is important to remember as you may not be in the habit of throwing out your underwear every day.
This underwear’s journey to FDA clearance has been a relatively short one, to say the least, at least compared to the journey of other new products that have had to go through extensive human clinical trials. These underwear were able to skip those clinical trials, as they would perform similar functions to condoms and dental dams that are already FDA-approved. Also, the concept of wearing underwear isn’t exactly new either. It’s not like FDA officials are saying something like, “what’s that underwear thing you’re talking about?” or “so this is supposed to go over your head?” When a new product is very similar to existing products already on the market, a company may choose to simply prove equivalence, meaning that the company provides sufficiently convincing evidence that this product is relatively equivalent to already approved products. . In the case of Lorals for Protection, that involved showing that underwear has physical characteristics such as thickness, elasticity, and strength comparable to condoms and dental dams, as reported by Pam Belluck for the New York Times.
This product is a reminder that oral sex without barrier protection is not safe sex. Safe sex doesn’t just mean avoiding pregnancy or getting a frying pan in the face. Remember that the pathogens that cause STIs can stay in or on a variety of body parts, including the genitals, anus, lips, mouth, and throat. And someone can be infectious without even showing any symptoms. So just because a person “looks completely clean” and claims in a Tinder profile that they go rock climbing every day doesn’t mean they can’t get chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV) , trichomoniasis, hepatitis , human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or other STIs through oral sex with that person.
The only way to know if a person is not infected with any STI-causing pathogens is through actual testing or by knowing exactly what that person has done every day since they first had sex. And since you’re not Facebook and can’t surreptitiously follow a person’s every move, sharing super recent lab test results directly is the only way to provide real assurance that you’re STI-free when you’re not yet compromised. monogamous relationship together. In other words, the only reliable oral test would be a laboratory test.
When you’re not sure that both of you (or all of you, depending on what you’re into) are STI-free, it’s a good idea to use some form of FDA-approved or -approved barrier protection to significantly reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting an STI. So is getting fully vaccinated against STIs like HPV and hepatitis A and B. Also, watch out for anything that looks like a rash, sore, pustule, lesion, or unusual skin formation. When you see something like this, you may want to postpone the oral and instead enjoy a nice dinner at a nice restaurant.
as i covered Forbes Before, the US has been experiencing steady increases in rates of STIs like syphilis and gonorrhea. Throw into that mix the not-so-super-emergence of more drug-resistant STI-causing pathogens like super gonorrhea, as I reported for Forbes near the end of 2020, and oral sex may become more like spinning a roulette wheel with your tongue. All of this makes it even more important to be honest and forthright when communicating with each other about possible STI risk before engaging in oral sex. Remember to inspect each other’s mouths and private parts before engaging in oral sex. Whether you’re at a restaurant or in the bedroom, never let anything go into your mouth without looking at it first. While “inspect” may not be the sexiest word, you can always include it in the romance. For example, you can role-play and say, “I’ll be the microscope and you’ll be the petri dish.” You can also play Outkast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” while you’re at it to set the mood. Oh, and don’t floss, brush your teeth, pierce your tongue, bite on thumbtacks, or do anything that might leave cuts around or inside your mouth before oral sex. such cuts. even when they are not visible, they could be the break that STI pathogens are looking for to enter your body.
This new Lorals for Protection underwear offers a potentially sexier alternative to dental dams. Dental dams may not exactly scream “hot dam” during sex, unless you like the “thinly sliced lunch meat” look. Also, it can be more difficult to keep the dam in place than form-fitting underwear that is essentially hands-free. And while male condoms can serve as barrier protection during oral sex, they have a strict requirement to function as protection. Remember that fellatio isn’t the only type of oral sex out there, no matter what you try to tell your partner.
Oral sex may not be something you talk about on a daily basis. But the reality is that many, many people regularly use various types of oral sex to get off. So it makes sense, and dollars and cents, to find new ways to make oral sex safer while remaining sexy at the same time.