Top 50 Sex Myths, Debunked
Everyone’s heard our fair share of sex myths during our formative teenage years and especially in this technologically advanced era when asking Google is considered to be more reliable than consulting a doctor who actually has a medical degree (oh, the irony!).
With the amount of often conflicting information floating out there online, it’s not difficult to understand why some myths might persist well into adulthood. Here, we debunk 50 of the most widespread misconceptions about sex and sexuality!
MYTH #1 Presence of hymen or bleeding as a sign of virginity
The hymen is a membrane that lines the opening of the vagina and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of us are born without hymen and for those who do, many do not experience any tearing or bleeding during sex for the first time, as the hymen can stretch to accommodate the penis.
MYTH #2 There's no male birth control
Both men and women actually have one of the safest and most accessible forms of birth control easily at our disposal...cue...the beautiful, flexible, STI-and-pregnancy preventing...condom!
MYTH #3 Penetrative sex alone is enough to reach orgasm
Many people think that a woman’s orgasm is purely a vaginal experience, achieved through repeated penetration. Turns out, as few as 7% of people can reliably orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone. For everyone else, clitoral stimulation is needed in tandem to achieve the big O!
MYTH #4 Masturbation is bad for you
We’ve heard everything ranging from masturbation making a man go blind to sexual dysfunction in men and women. The fact is masturbation actually brings a plethora of health benefits including released tension, eased menstrual cramps, and more importantly - learning about the hotspots of your own body to know what best works for you!
MYTH #5 Sex affects athletic performance
This theory has been debated for many years, with coaches often telling their athletes to abstain from sex before big games or competitions. However, recent studies from Frontier In Physiology show that having sex the day before participating in a sports competition doesn’t affect performance.
MYTH #6 You can get pregnant if he ejaculates on your body or in your mouth
No! Possible impregnation can only occur when the sperm are deposited inside your vagina! Ingesting sperm or having sperm on your body cannot lead to pregnancy. Sperm simply cannot travel from those body parts to your uterus that way, plus, any live sperm would have been killed and broken down by your stomach acid.
MYTH #7 You cannot get pregnant from pre-cum
Not true! Pre-cum, or the small amounts of ejaculate that a man can emit during sex does contain sperm. So getting pregnant from pre-cum though unlikely is entirely possible.
MYTH #8 You cannot get pregnant if he pulls out to ejaculate
Not true! Human error happens and you’d never know if your partner had a loss of self control. Plus, withdrawing before ejaculation sometimes fails because pre-cum or pre-ejaculation contains some sperm.
MYTH #9 You cannot get pregnant during menstruation
It’s rare but not entirely impossible to get pregnant while having sex on your period! You could still get pregnant depending on how long your menstrual cycle is, when ovulation takes place and the fact that sperm can live inside the human body for up to 5 days! Also, infections, fibroids and hormone shifts can cause you to spot or bleed at odd times in your menstrual cycle and be mistaken for period blood.
MYTH #10 You cannot get pregnant if you have sex in the waters
Yes, you can get pregnant! Sperm do not discern between locations! Water, heat, or chlorine will not neutralise or wash out sperm which is inside of you! Once sperm are deposited into the vagina, they start swimming towards your uterus whether you’re in a lake, ocean, pool, hot tub, or anywhere else.
MYTH #11 You cannot get pregnant if you shower / wash / douche after sex
Once sperm are deposited into the vagina, they start swimming instantly towards your uterus. A healthy adult male can release between 40 million and 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation and it only takes one of them to successfully impregnate you.
MYTH #12 You cannot get pregnant if it’s your first time
Yes, you can get pregnant whether or not it's your first time or 365th time.
MYTH #13 You cannot get pregnant if you stand up after sex / You’re on top during sex
Yes, you absolutely can get pregnant in any position! Standing up after someone ejaculates inside of you or having sex in any specific position will not stop sperm from doin' their thing. Sperm are programmed to swim towards your uterus, whether you’re straddling your partner, standing up, or doing somersaults.
MYTH #14 You cannot get pregnant if you have not had your first period yet
This is incorrect. You will ovulate for the first time before your first period, so if you have sex during then, you could still become pregnant. Besides, aren’t you likely to be underage for that to happen?
MYTH #15 You can’t get an STI if you use a condom / You can’t get STIs from oral sex
While you should always use a condom to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI), STIs can still be transmitted via oral sex. Condoms are highly effective in preventing STIs passed through bodily fluids, like gonorrhoea or HIV, but less effective in preventing infections contracted through skin-to-skin contact, like HPV or herpes.
MYTH #16 You can get an STI from a toilet seat or the air
Nope. STIs are transmitted through direct exchange of body fluids such as vaginal and anal fluids, semen and blood, or through direct skin to skin contact. The chances of you getting STI from a piece of furniture or through the air is as high as you getting it from the gaze of a stranger across the room - ZERO.
MYTH #17 Condoms take away the feeling and pleasure of sex
If sex with a condom feels like nothing, how can sex with a condom produce an orgasm in anyone? Condoms come in different colours, shapes and sizes, so it’s all about trying them out to find the right fit, besides, present technology has made it possible for condoms to be ultra thin at 0.01mm.
MYTH #18 Wearing double condoms is more effective
No! Condoms are not designed to be stacked on top of each other. Two heads may be better than one, but two condoms on one head could result in slipping, ripping or even tearing of the condoms!
MYTH #19 You can substitute condoms with cling wrap or other condom like item
No! Put away the cling wrap and plastic bags! Not only are they unsanitary, they will be super uncomfortable for both parties and don’t even work! Use only proper condoms to effectively prevent pregnancy and STI.
MYTH #20 You can reuse condoms
Ewww….no, just no! Just like needles and syringes, condoms are single-use items and should never be reused!
MYTH #21 The condom is too big / small on me
Any basic condom can stretch over someone's forearm without breaking, therefore most condoms should fit most penises. Regardless of size, all condoms when worn properly will be effective against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
MYTH #22 Having HPV is not a big deal / Guys cannot get HPV / HPV is not a STI etc
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV can spread from one person to another through anal, vaginal or oral sex, or through close skin-to-skin contact. Although most HPV infections go away on their own without causing problems, HPV can cause genital warts or various cancers. Getting vaccinated against HPV can help prevent these health problems for both men and women.
MYTH #23 Men should always be able to get an erection
There are many reasons why a man may have trouble getting an erection. He may feel tired, his desire was not strong enough, he’s stressed about getting you off, he may feel the need to develop an emotional connection first, or the circumstances or surroundings may be just not to his liking!
MYTH #24 Hormonal birth control is bad for you
Hormonal contraception has been around for decades. The pill is one of the most studied and proven contraceptive methods of all time and its safety and efficacy are very well established. The idea that you need a break from hormonal birth control, or that using the pill to continuously skip your period is dangerous or will prevent you from getting pregnant in the future are simply unfounded.
MYTH #25 Men / Teenager / [ insert whoever you like ] are always ready for sex
Arousal is different from desire! While it's true that teenagers and men may have higher hormonal levels, just because someone is sexually aroused doesn’t mean they want to have sex, it just means they’re responsive to sexual stimuli.
MYTH #26 Men and women have "sexual peaks" at different ages
Men’s testosterone peaks at around age 18, but women’s estrogen levels peak in their mid-20s. Since low hormone levels have been associated with lower sexual drive, it’s assumed that when your levels are at their highest, your drive must be at its peak. However, everyone experiences pleasure in different ways and frequency of sex can go up and down depending on a variety of factors other than your sexual urges.
MYTH #27 A bigger penis is better
The idea that bigger is better is simply false. The reality is, the average penis is just over 5 inches long when erect, which makes sense when you consider that the average vagina is only 3-4 inches long. What really makes sex better is compatibility with your partner, open communication about what feels good and what doesn’t, and the desire to learn and improve on your sexual techniques!
MYTH #28 Vaginas are tight or loose depending on how sexually active someone is
The vagina is a highly elastic muscle, not a pair of jeans, and no penis (doesn’t matter the size!) is going to “stretch it out”. Also, remember that the perception of a tight or loose fit is relative to the size of the penis too!
MYTH #29 Having a lot of sex is shameful / improper / [ insert degrading term ]
Shaming someone for having sex is judgemental, hurtful, misguided and frankly, none of your business! Sex is pleasurable, fun and a natural human behaviour! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having responsible and safe fun (condoms people!) between two consenting adults.
MYTH #30 Having babies will ruin your vagina
Although some women report changes in sensitivity, vaginas are elastic and will generally return back to their original shape within weeks of giving birth. If vaginas could be “ruined”, we’d have far fewer couples having second or third babies as they would derive absolutely no joy from intercourse!
MYTH #31 All trans women want a vagina / All women should have vaginas
Gender identity and sexual organs are two different things. No matter what genital a person is born with, not everyone who identifies as a woman feels the need to surgically alter her body and how a woman expresses her gender identity is deeply personal and should not be subject to any standards or social norms.
MYTH #32 It’s normal for sex to be painful
No way! Sex should always feel good! If someone is nervous or tense, their muscles will contract, which may cause penetrative sex to be uncomfortable. If something doesn't feel good, always tell your partner, slow down, ramp up on the foreplay and use a personal lubricant to help with insertion.
MYTH #33 Virginity only applies to vaginal sex / Anal doesn't count as sex
What?! There are all different kinds of sex - vaginal, manual, oral, anal. Ranking them according to how “important” they are is misguided and a toxic approach to sexuality. Not only is this a heteronormative view of sex that devalues LGBTQ sex, it diminishes the seriousness of all other sexual acts too!
MYTH #34 Masturbation is harmful or makes achieving orgasm more difficult
Masturbation makes orgasms better, not worse. They put you in touch with your body and teach you what turns you on. Besides, if you don’t know what makes you come, how can you expect your partner to figure it out?
Myth #35 Men think about sex every seven seconds
A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research effectively debunks this myth. Men averages about 19 sex thoughts per day instead of the nearly 8,000 thoughts per day if this myth were true. As for the women? They averaged about 10 thoughts about sex per day.
Myth #36 Anal sex is only for gay men
Wanting to try different sexual activities with your partner does not mean anything about your sexual orientation. Just as different positions work for different people, different sexual acts appeals differently to each individual too.
Myth #37 Sex should be like porn
Pornography is a money-making business and it’s designed to appeal to someone’s fantasy world with pretend characters who are paid to act. In short, it’s not real life. Statistically, most porn is made to be watched by men, so even much of the lesbian porn out there depicts women in ways that are meant to entice the male gaze, and are in no way a reflection of real life!
Myth #38 Orgasm is the goal of sex
The fact is some people never reach orgasm while others might have multiple orgasms. Your partner may help you along but they do not have absolute control over your orgasm. Focusing too much on orgasms can set couples up for frustrating sex, so forget about the pressure to have an exciting finish and enjoy the ride instead!
Myth #39 Older adults don’t have sex
Generally it’s harder for women to enjoy sex post menopause due to vaginal dryness. However, this symptom can now be easily fixed with personal lubricant! If an elderly man or woman has good overall health, it is entirely possible that they may continue to enjoy an active sexual life far into their old age.
Myth #40 People with disabilities or chronic illness can’t have sex
Sex comes in many forms. Unless their disability or illness directly affects their libido, they are still sexual beings with the ability to enjoy consensual sexual relationships like everyone else.
Myth #41 Women don’t masturbate
While studies have shown that women tend to masturbate a little less than men, most women masturbate at some point in their lives! Yay! Masturbation allows you to discover what works for your body and you get to derive great sexual satisfaction from solo play too!
Myth #42 Picking a partner is based on sexual performance
Many men believe that sexual performance is a defining factor in their being preferred by a woman and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Evolutionary psychology has shown that women are interested in men in whom they discern characteristics that they consider important in raising their children and sexual prowess have little to do with that.
Myth #43 Homosexuality is a pathological condition
Homosexuality is not a psychological disorder or a poor choice as some were made to believe. Regardless of one’s sexual orientation, the sexuality of every individual should be respected and protected in our modern society.
Myth #44 The duration of sex should be [ insert length of time ]
Many men worry about the duration of sexual intercourse. Longer isn’t necessarily better, both size and duration wise. Too long and it can get tiring for your partner too! Numerous studies published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine have recorded the time required for ejaculation in men as ranging from 5.4 to 7.3 minutes.
MYTH #45 Use of pornographic material is detrimental to a relationship
It’s all about the frequency! Recent study of 8,367 people showed that small or medium frequency in the use of porn actually has positive consequences on a couple’s relationship with higher frequency and quality of sex, as well as increased intimacy between the couple.
MYTH #46 Oysters or chocolates increase sex drive
No study has ever shown any sexually enhancing effect from oysters or chocolate. But certain foods and the act of eating them can suggest sex to the mind, which in turn can help stimulate desire in the body.
MYTH #47 It’s OK to fake an orgasm
Faking orgasms is never a good idea. If you pretend that you are enjoying yourself, your partner is understandably going to keep doing the same stuff that doesn’t get you off! Try honest and open communication with your partner on what works and what doesn’t, instead of leading them down the wrong path.
MYTH #48 You’ll know it when you orgasm
Many women do not know if they’ve actually had an orgasm or not and that is common. Women have different kinds of hotspots (clitoral, vaginal, g-spot) and orgasms can be experienced differently. Some will feel their vaginal muscles contracting, some will squirt and others will curl their toes. The bottomline is, sex should feel amazing and that’s all that matters!
MYTH #49 Sex can help you lose weight
Experts estimate thirty minutes of sex burns 85 to 150 calories. Theoretically, you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 500g of body weight, so if you were using up 100 calories every time you had sex, you’d need to have sex 35 times for an average of 30 mins each. It’s probably easier to get on that treadmill if all you want is to lose weight.
Myth #50 Sex can give you a heart attack
If you have never had sex in your entire life, that might be remote possibility (joking!). Fact is, having sex more often is actually connected to having a healthier heart. In one study, men who reported having sex twice a week or more had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.