Eight sex myths you probably still believe

April 08, 2015
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We all have some funny ideas about sex, and it can be such an uncomfortable subject for some people that they never want to talk about it at all. This could be why concepts that were debunked decades ago have survived right up until today and are still regarded as “facts”.

Here’s just a few.

The hymen breaks when a girl first has sex

The hymen is an elastic membranous ring that sits either just outside or just inside the vagina; it is not a barrier covering the vaginal opening and does not need to be pierced for intercourse to happen. With proper lubrication, it might not even tear, and even if it does, it will repair itself.

The idea that the hymen is some sort of Seal of Virginity is an unbelievably common misconception among adults, and contributes to the myth that you lose something during your first sexual encounter.

Wearing a condom makes you last longer in bed

Sorry, bros, you just can’t substitute self-control with latex. Studies show that use of condoms make no difference to the average “intravaginal ejaculation latency time.” So, how do you last longer?

I don’t know. Meditate or something.

Men think about sex every seven seconds

Speaking as a man, I can guarantee you that if I was physiologically compelled to think about sex every time I needed to reload in Gears Of War, I would never have made it through the game. Neither would I be able to study, cook hot meals, or perform complex tasks in general.

While there’s currently no definitive way to debunk this myth, as thoughts are tricky things to quantify, studies indicate that the frequency of sex-related thoughts varies widely between individuals, and lags behind thoughts about other things such as social life, personal hygiene and coffee.
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The pill makes you fat

Scaring women off contraception with the thought of getting fat? Diabolical!

While this sounds like a myth crafted by a manipulative pro-lifer with a cynical faith in female vanity, it does contain some truth: though uncommon, some contraceptive pills can cause minor weight gain. It all depends on the type of pill you use, and how that pill affects your hormone balance. If one pill causes unwanted side effects, you can always talk to your doctor and try another.

These side effects are usually temporary, so it’s best to allow three months for them to subside before deciding to make the switch.

Not ejaculating will cause a build-up of semen

Ever wonder why all those celibate monks don't simply explode, then?

Sperm that aren’t ejaculated are simply broken down and reabsorbed by the body. This ensures that men have a continuous supply of fresh troops instead of a bored and resentful backlog of under-used veterans.

Yes, I’m aware of how gross that analogy sounds.

Wet dreams are strictly a guy thing

At least two studies have found that 37 per cent of women surveyed had had at least one orgasm during sleep by the age of 45.

And yet the entire “wet dream” segment of my high school sex-ed class was directed solely at us boys. A stain on the sheets of equality.

Finding the right person instantly results in world-shaking, mind-blowing sex

Remember that scene from The Notebook? The library in Atonement? Figuring out who your soul mate is should be pretty easy, since your first lay together is bound to be the best sex ever, right?

Not necessarily. Everyone has different sexual tastes and experiences, and whether it’s your first time or twentieth, being with a new partner can be super awkward at first, no matter how compatible your personalities.

There may be discrepancies between your individual expectations or levels of experience, and learned sexual techniques don’t always translate well from one partner to the next. The best way to overcome this is to exchange your thoughts and preferences with each other. Good sex doesn’t always just happen; it sometimes needs to be cultivated through honest dialogue.

The key is to keep the chatter up. As this study illustrates, “people aren’t mind readers,” and good communication between partners is directly linked to increased sexual satisfaction.

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and sometime voice-actor, Joel Svensson pretends to be smart at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Image: Noemi Leon Albert, Flickr Creative Commons license

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