For the first time ever, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a brand that sells cookie-flavored undergarments used for protection against sexually transmitted infections (STI) during oral sex–which includes fellatio, cunnilingus, and anilingus.
The single-use prophylactic latex panties are called Lorals.
Lorals have been available since 2018 and have been marketed for sexually-active partners wanting to feel the sensation of mouth to genital stimulation but being covered to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
According to Buzzfeed News, the company had to prove Lorals undies were the equivalent of or an improvement over the unfamiliar and seldom-used dental dams to get the FDA's stamp of approval.
Dr. Sheryl Ross, an OB-GYN at Santa Monica Women’s Health, said of the latex or polyurethane barrier method:
“The dental dam is all we have to date for oral sex for women, anal activity, or rimming, and no one is using them."
"Nobody even knows what it is. I think it’s like less than 5% [of people] are using dental dams.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo–the director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham–noted dental dams were “extremely unpopular.”
Marrazzo explained that “oral sex is not totally risk-free” and stressed the importance of having more options available for protection since “teenagers are initiating their first sexual activity with oral sex.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STIs like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, trichomoniasis, and syphilis can be transmitted during oral sex.
Lorals are described to be as thin as a condom, flavored, and come in both a bikini and “shortie” cut."
The brand claims that its underwear prevents “the transmission of bodily fluids, harmful pathogens, and sexually transmitted infections.”
"No more awkwardly fumbling with a dental dam, just silky smooth sensations whenever you want them," says the Lorals website.
The company's team of female designers dedicated "three years to creating the perfect latex undies for safe, pleasurable oral sex, and another two years ensuring they met stringent FDA and ISO standards."
It took over 20 rounds of prototyping for them to find the "right stretch, thickness, texture, and scent" for their product.
Lorals company founder and CEO, Melanie Cristol, said she was inspired to create the protective garments after she and her wife went on their honeymoon in Mexico in 2014 and found it difficult to find protection after contracting an STI.
“I was just so discouraged," she said, adding, "I wanted to feel sexy and confident and use something that was made with my body and actual sex in mind.”