It’s a wide, wide world out there, and when it comes to getting your questions answered, it’s good to have an authoritative source. This is even more so with sex, where urban myths, old wives’ tales and all kinds of incorrect information persist quite stubbornly.
There’s simply no excuse these days for still believing in sex myths…you have the internet! Heard something that sounds a little strange? Find a doctor and run it by him or her. Don’t have a doctor you can talk to? Find on one the internet, or check here first.
Here, we’ve taken the most widespread and popular sex myths and explained them for you. The hope is, you’ll learn not just the truth but also how to tell the difference between the truth and a myth, just like we did.
We’ll show you how we settled the myths once and for all, so you can act as your own debunker in the future. Statistics show that you’ll need it…adults think they know everything about sex but a surprising number of them still believe things that teenagers mistakenly think about sex.
We’ll start with a quiz: the 10 most popular sex myths…which do you believe?
10 of the World’s Most Popular Sex Myths- True or False?*
1.You can get an STD from a toilet seat.
2.It’s physically impossible to get pregnant while having your period.
3.It’s physically impossible to get pregnant the first time you have sex.
4.Emergency contraceptives like Plan B will cause abortion.
5.The average penis size is 7 inches
6.Having sex before a sports game is OK for athletes’ performance.
7.Oral contraceptives will make you gain weight.
8.Older men can last longer than younger men.
9.The HPV shot will prevent you from getting cervical cancer.
10.Strawberries, oysters and dark chocolate will put you in the mood.
Check the bottom of the page for the answers. How did you do? Is your sex IQ as good as you thought it was?
Let’s Do Some Debunking
Starting with #10 and working our way to the top of the list, here’s the what and the why of these commonly held beliefs that just aren’t true. We’ll show you where we got our info, so next time you have a myth on hand, you’ll know where to check it out.
#10: Nope, these “Aphrodisiacs” don’t work!
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that strawberries, oysters or any other food for that matter, causes the human body to desire sex. The only way a food might act as an aphrodisiac is if in your mind, you associate it with a past encounter that made you feel turned on. For chocolate, our source was a study mentioned in the New York Times.
#9: Nope, an HPV shot won’t prevent all cervical cancer.
It’s true that the HPV shot blocks the thing that most often causes cervical cancer (HPV). However, cervical cancer can also be caused by other things. 30% of cervical cancer will not be blocked by the HPV shot.
#8: Actually, contrary to popular belief, young men on average last longer.
A study was done on premature ejaculation. One of the side bits of information researchers noticed was that younger men (ages 18-30) actually were able to last longer than the 31-50 year olds. Our source was the International Society for Sexual Medicine.
#7: Everyone thinks birth control pills will make you gain weight.
Nope, it’s just not true. Study after study has been done, and no scientific evidence has yet been found! Many of the older studies on this did find that women gained weight after going on The Pill, but showed no evidence it was actually the contraceptive that was causing the weight gain!
#6: Sex Before the Big Game is Now OK!
There used to be, apparently, a coach’s advice to young men: don’t have sex before the big game because it will drain your energy. Well, that’s just baloney…sorry, all you athletes of bygone years!
in fact, doctors looked at past studies on this (there were only 3) and found no evidence supporting this myth. Having sex is like climbing a few flights of stairs, exertion-wise. The body quickly recovers.
Our source for this one was a book called Don’t Put That in There!: And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked by Aaron Carroll, MD, and RAchen Vreeman, MD.
#5: Men will be relieved to know the average penis size is NOT 7 inches!
The same book that gave us our wisdom in Myth #6 also told us that the average penis size is more like 6 inches.
#4: Plan B doesn’t actually cause an abortion!
Also called “the morning after pill”, Plan B is not like RU-486 (which does cause abortion). If you’re pregnant, Plan B won’t do at thing. Plan B simply prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. However, the sooner you take Plan B, the more effective it will be.
#3: It’s TOTALLY possible to get pregnant your first time having sex!
Yup, all the parts are there, and it can (and does) happen.
#2: It’s TOTALLY possible to get pregnant on your period!
Although chances are less that you’ll conceive while having your period, it’s still possible so don’t risk it!. If your period is long, it’s even more likely that you could get pregnant having unprotected sex while having your period. Why? Because it may overlap with your ovulation. Yikes!
#1: Our favorite sex myth: NO! You cannot get an STD from a toilet seat.
The germs just don’t live that long out in the open. They prefer the dark, moist, and warm conditions of the human body. Urine does not contain germs, either. You are more likely to catch something from kissing or even just touching someone’s skin.
Now It’s Up to You!
Notice our sources always had some sort of authority in them: a doctor or a large, trusted news agency like ABC news. When you’re seeking out good info on the Web, stick with big names like WebMD and sites with credibility like major newspapers and news agencies. They won’t steer you wrong.
*Answers: F,F,F,F,F,T,F,F,F,F. Yup, they’re all False except #6!