Debunking Sex Myths
By Melissa Lipari
Sex myths have been a part of love and sexual culture for as long as most of us can remember. For every sexual truth, there always seems to be a rumor that follows. In the majority of American schools, sexual health and education are not taught properly, forcing many to believe the old-wives-tales that people spread about sexual experiences. In an effort to stop these myths and to teach healthy sexual education, here are a list of a few sex rumors and how they have been debunked by professionals or reliable sexual resources.
Myth: Most women can only achieve an orgasm from vaginal sex.
Fact: I have heard plenty of times from both men and women that vaginal sex is the only way for a woman to achieve an orgasm. This is far from the truth. According to the American Sexual Health Association, “Only about 30% of women reach orgasm through vaginal sex only. The other 70% need more manual or oral stimulation to achieve orgasms.” So, utilize your sex toys or other stimulants the next time you want to get steamy with your partner. It’s only going to enhance the female experience!
Myth: Only gay men can contract HIV.
Fact: HIV is not a disease that is specific to gay people or can only be passed on sexually. Not only is this a myth, but it is simply ignorant. Blood, semen, or vaginal fluids can transmit HIV and AIDS. The Center for Advocacy and Wellness writes, “Anyone who is sexually active can get HIV or a sexually transmitted infection, regardless of sexual orientation.” Utilize safe sexual practices such as using protection or visiting your doctor regularly in order to prevent and treat the transmission of STDs/STIs or more serious chronic viruses such as HIV.
Myth: Oral sex is safe sex.
Fact: This was a myth that I heard frequently in high school, mainly from people who felt that they were practicing sexual health safety simply because they were not using penetration methods. The Center for Advocacy and Wellness debunks this myth too, because while, “oral sex might not cause pregnancy...sexually transmitted infections can still be transmitted by oral sex.” Any form of sex should be practiced safely - sans penetration or not.
Myth: You will get a loose vagina from frequent sex.
Fact: This is probably my favorite myth to debunk, because this was another rumor that constantly went around my high school. The emphasis on having a “tight” vagina has always been ingrained in sex culture. Luckily, this myth can be debunked by simple female anatomy. Allure.com shares, “An article from Psychology Today describes female anatomy in an excellent visual way that I cite on the reg. Think of it as “a hand towel stuffed inside a thick sock squeezed by two hands,” where the sock is the vagina, the towel is “the folded muscle tissue of the vaginal wall,” and the hands are the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina.” Hence, vaginal tissue is extremely durable, so no penis is going to make it stretch or change “tightness”. Sorry boys.
Myth: Anal sex doesn’t count as a form of “real” sex.
Fact: Another great tale to diminish, as any form of consensual penetration is an act of sex. It is common for many to think that non-vaginal sex is the “loop-hole” to staying “pure.” Allure magazine also tackles this myth, writing “There are all different kinds of sex — vaginal, manual, oral, anal — and ranking them according to how “impure” they make you amounts to a misguided and toxic approach to sexuality. There is nothing wrong with having sex of any kind, as long as it’s consensual and safe. Perhaps if we stopped fretting about the “value of purity” in young women, we’d stop perpetuating this kind of nonsense.” Phew, that was powerful.
Myth: Baby Oil or Vaseline are acceptable forms of lubricants.
Fact: If I could scream this from the hilltops I would: Do NOT use oils or body products that are not meant for internal usage as lubricants. Not only can they be harmful and cause infections, but they also can break down the latex in condoms. The American Sexual Health Association reports, “Oil-based lubricants (like baby oil, Vaseline®, hand creams, Crisco) can break down latex and allow STDs/STIs to pass through. Instead, water soluble lubricants like K-Y Jelly®, Glide®, Aqualube®, most contraceptive jellies, saliva, or even plain ol’ water are good lubricants to use with condoms.” Next time you need the extra stimulation, turn to a water soluble lubricant instead of heading for the kitchen to grab Crisco, please!
Sex is a wonderful thing, it can be empowering for everyone and is a natural method to show love or just to let off a little steam. As long as the sex is consensual towards all parties, feel free to get your freak on and be the sexually confident person that you were meant to be. Don’t let the myths of the past define your sex life today, do your research and keep yourself safe.
For more information on how to practice safe sex, visit itsyoursexlife.com.