WHAT IS IT?
Medical latex or plastic gloves, worn over the hands.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
By covering the hand, gloves protect both partners from STIs that be spread through bodily fluids, including vaginal fluids and blood. The glove covers cuts, fresh tattoos, hangnails, dermatitis, eczema, and other conditions that may increase the risk of spreading STIs.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
There are few statistics on the effectiveness of gloves in preventing the spread of STIs during sexual contact. However, gloves are used by doctors and nurses all the time, especially during Pap smears, pelvic exam, and STI checks! This is because gloves protect against STIs and other germs and dirt that hand washing can never guarantee.
WHEN SHOULD I USE IT?
Gloves should be used during any digital sex where there is a risk for the spread of STIs. Gloves should always be worn during fisting, both vaginally and anally, because of the risk of tears of the vaginal and anal walls leading to the presence of blood. Gloves should be worn during sex where blood may be present, such as during someone’s period. Gloves can be great if a partner is sensitive to friction – gloves and lube make for a smooth and slippery surface! Gloves should be worn if there are any cuts, recent tattoos, hangnails, dermatitis, eczema, and other conditions present on the hands that may increase the risk of blood and open wounds. It is especially important to use gloves when engaging in sexual activity with new/unfamiliar sexual partners, or if you have been/are engaging in sexual activities with multiple sexual partners. Gloves are also a great option for anal sex, to limit contact with potential fecal matter.
HOW DO I USE IT PROPERLY?
Gloves are easy! Simply place them over the hand before engaging in any digital sex, such as fingering and fisting. Lube can be applied to the outside of the glove. Do not use oil-based lubricants if using a latex glove, as it can break down the latex.
Gloves can be turned into dental dams (see document on dental dams) and finger condoms (see document on finger condoms).
Do you have long nails that may puncture the glove or scratch your partner? Pro tip: Stuff the tips of the fingers with cotton balls or tissue before placing your hand in the glove.
ADVANTAGES VS DISADVANTAGES:
- Protects against STIs. It offers coverage of hands rather than genitalia and may better protect from STIs transmitted via skin lesions, blood, or shedding.
- Offers a safer sex option for partners who rely on digital sexual stimulation as a major part of their sex lives
- Can be used on everyone who has hands
- Reduces friction
- Does not require a prescription to get
- Can be purchased at any grocery store or drugstore without the assumption that they are being used for sexual activities
- Can be used for fetishes and role playing that involve medical professions
- Can be made of several different materials and in different colours
- Can be turned into dental dams and finger condoms
- Does not protect against pregnancy
- Some people feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when suggesting use of gloves
- Not as widely recognized as a safer sex method as other barrier methods
- Can lower sensitivity
- May have a clinical feel