News from the FDA/CDC

FDA-cleared panties could reduce STI risk during oral sex


 

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized ultrathin panties that can be worn to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases during oral sex.

The underwear, sold as Lorals for Protection, are single-use, vanilla-scented, natural latex panties that cover the genitals and anus and block the transfer of bodily fluids during oral sex, according to the company website. They sell in packages of four for $25.

The FDA didn’t run human clinical trials but granted authorization after the company gave it data about the product, The New York Times reported.

“The FDA’s authorization of this product gives people another option to protect against STIs during oral sex,” said Courtney Lias, PhD, director of the FDA office that led the review of the underwear.

Previously, the FDA authorized oral dams to prevent the spread of STIs during oral sex. Oral dams, sometimes called oral sex condoms, are thin latex barriers that go between one partner’s mouth and the other person’s genitals. The dams haven’t been widely used, partly because a person has to hold the dam in place during sex, unlike the panties.

“They’re extremely unpopular,” Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the Times. “I mean, honestly, could there be anything less sexy than a dental dam?”Melanie Cristol said she came up with the idea for the panties after discovering on her 2014 honeymoon that she had an infection that could be sexually transmitted.

“I wanted to feel sexy and confident and use something that was made with my body and actual sex in mind,” she told the Times.

The panties are made of material about as thin as a condom and form a seal on the thigh to keep fluids inside, she said.

Dr. Marrazzo said the panties are an advancement because there are few options for safe oral sex. She noted that some teenagers have their first sexual experience with oral sex and that the panties could reduce anxiety for people of all ages.

A version of this article first appeared on WebMD.com.

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