Sex education doesn’t stop after you’ve graduated. While sex ed for teenagers is often prioritized by institutions and systems, many full-grown adults would benefit as well from comprehensive sex education as many misconceptions are born from a lack of knowing enough about this vital topic. It turns out many folks have notions of what’s what when it comes to sex — but we’re here today to talk about 21 sex myths everyone thinks are true — and what the reality of the situation actually is.
Sex Myth: Women want relationship sex, men want casual trysts
The reality:It’s been 22 years (*gasp*) since Sex and the City and Samantha’s sexually-liberated libido put this myth to bed. Let’s finally settle on the fact that this was never actually a thing — as comforting and convenient as it may have been for some (men) to believe. While some research indicated that men may be more receptive to flings, a deeper dive revealed that women were as up for no-strings-attached sex as men, provided that they felt safe in the situation and that they judged their partner to be competent. Because here’s the rub: men know they can orgasm even if the partner leaves halfway through the encounter, whereas women orgasm only 35 percent of the time with a first-time flings. High risk, and low reward makes this a logical outcome.
Sex Myth: Being good in bed comes down to what you do during sex
The reality:Sex and intimacy are about so much more than the actual act of penetration (in whatever form you prefer). It’d be a huge disservice to yourself and your partner(s) to sidestep all the things that prime us for the act itself — be it setting the right atmosphere, flirting or sexting in the lead-up — or whatever else lifts your luggage. Most people require at least these three things to be in the right mindframe for sex: high trust, low stress, and high affection. The best partners know that foreplay often starts long before any actual physical touching happens.
Sex Myth: Chocolate and oysters are natural aphrodisiacs
The reality:This might be a mind-over-matter issue: No studies confirm oysters are aphrodisiacs, even if they do resemble our lady bits. Chocolate, on the other hand, may lower blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular health — which may indirectly help with erections. However, being turned on by these may also simply be a pavlovian response to erroneous associations we’ve nevertheless made. In the end, whatever works.
Sex Myth: On average, men think about sex every seven seconds
The reality:The reality is actually far less stimulating... sexy thinking pops into men’s heads only about 19 times per day on average, according to one Ohio State University study. Note this was for students aged 18-25. To put this in perspective, thoughts about food occupied the mind 18 times. As for their female counterparts? Women reported an average of about 10 sexy thoughts per day, while they thought about food 15 times a day...This, however, may be due to the fact that females experience greater societal pressures to diet and struggle more with body-positivity.
Sex Myth: Blackouts, storms, and pandemics lead to a baby boom 9 months later
The reality:Wrong! The so-called “Blackout Baby Boom” is a myth, according to a Duke University study. This is an urban legend that goes back to the New York blackout of 1965. However, what it fails to account for the many other circumstances that account for baby booms, including contraception, and the peak periods of the month when women are fertile, as well as the fact that even if a couple did conceive, not every pregnancy would result in a baby.
Sex Myth: Sex burns major calories
The reality:Shockingly enough, sex burns significantly less calories than cardio-activities like running. According to a study by the University of Montreal, dudes burn more than 100 calories — while women burn 69 calories during sex. Compare this to a half hour light run — where findings suggest women burn about 213 calories during a jog — more than double the calories burnt from sexy times. But, let’s be honest, rolling around with a lover is still a sweet way to burn some calories still — you’re just not burning quite as many as you’d like to be.
Sex Myth: Sexting is just for horny college kids
The reality:Sexting is real — and exchanging sexy messages and photos, digitally flirting and steamy video chats are a thing and anyone with access to the technology may take part in. But never forget: files are forever while relationships can end. More importantly, receiving a sext or sexual seflie of/from anyone under 18 is generally illegal (and not OK). But engaging in sexty behaviour is cool between two consenting adults. It can make the work day move along quicker too.
Sex Myth: Having a much-younger lover means mind-blowing sex
The reality:While some folkx are down for that sweet age gap love — there is no promise that having a younger lover will yield the positive results celebs like Priyanka Chopra Jonas may benefit from. Chemistry can vary from couple to couple — and it has little to do with how long someone has been on the planet. In fact, good sex has a lot to do with communicating — bettering both sex and the relationship as a whole.
Sex Myth: Breakup sex is a terrible idea
The reality:According to a study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, breakup sex isn’t such a big deal — researchers found that the sexy act post-relationship didn’t actually hinder folkx from moving on from their ex lovers. The Wayne State University’s study’s lead author suggests that even if you have residual feels for the ex and you hook up — it’ll have zero effect on your ability to move on.
Sex Myth: A penis needs to be large in order for your partner to have a satisfying sexual experience
The reality:Not only can it be complicated to deal with a bigger-than-average penis, but there is no promise that your sexual experience will be satisfying one. Let’s be honest, for women, the formula involves the right amount of friction and stimulation of the clitoris — which doesn’t even require a phallic device. Good sex is about intimacy, great chemistry and doesn’t hinge on specific genitalia. While intercourse can lead to different kinds of orgasms, there is no promise that size will be a benefit. But never forget: studies suggest lesbians orgasm more than straight women. So, no penis, big or small, is necessary for a satisfying sexual experience.
Sex myth: You can get pregnant in a hot tub without having sex
The reality:The result of pregnancy is not only highly unlikely — in most cases, it’s not even at all possible. The temperature in a hot tub is too high for the lil sperms to even survive. Having intercourse in a hot tub or any body of water, however, presents possibility...
Sex myth: You are either gay or straight
The reality:There’s a whole spectrum of human sexuality and a popular method of describing it is The Kinsey Scale. While some folks identify as exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual, research has proven there are many people that fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Gender and sexual orientation identity continues to evolve and understanding that can help make the world just a little more inclusive.
Sex myth: All women experience orgasms through intercourse
The reality:While vaginal intercourse can lead to orgasm (enough clitoral stimulation from friction) for some women, many need more attention on and around their clitoris. While orgasm-inducing nerves are on the head of the penis for cis-men, those nerves live in the clitoris for women — and intercourse doesn’t always provide enough stimulation for cis-women. Many men have it in their head that their performance during intercourse should result in a female orgasm when the reality is many women require more stimulation. Pro-tip: hands, cunnilingus, vibrators and other devices to stimulate the clitoris will help more women achieve the female orgasm.
Sex myth: Saying “yes” once to sex means always yes
The reality:No, no, no — this is not a thing. Every sexual encounter requires consent. Consent is freely given, it’s reversible, it’s a personal decision and it needs to happen every single time for sex to be consensual. “Without consent, sexual activity (including oral sex, genital touching, and vaginal or anal penetration) is sexual assault or rape,” explains Planned Parenthood.
No means no. Yes is specific. If you’re not sure, you need to ask. Consent is sexy.