Society - Relationships
By: - at August 3, 2013

Top 15 Myths About Sex

black and white couple Sex is an important part of life, one that pretty much every human will experience in their life. Although sex is the cornerstone of the human species as well as just about every other species on this planet, it is not a topic that we as humans completely understand. Myths about sex still strongly exist even with advancements in medical technology and information. Some of these myths sound plausible, while others are outrageous. There are a few that are so outrageous it is hard to believe that anyone could believe certain things, but there are others that are close calls. Here's 15 myths about your sex life that need to be debunked, starting with some phallically fictional misinformation.

Myth 15)  Penis Size is Related to the Size of an Arbitrarily Selected Body Part
One of the longest standing and most hilarious myths is the claim that a male's penis is somehow tied to the size of one of their body parts. The most common version associates the dimensions of the penis with feet, although variations of the myth tie the size to the nose or other body parts. The outrageous nature of this claim makes it all the more appealing to males, especially those with very large feet or noses. Unfortunately, there is no correlation between the size of various body parts and the penis dimensions. None at all.

Penis size

The size of the penis is determined separately by your genetic make-up. Scientific studies also indicate that changes in penis size can also occur due to environmental factors, although a solid link has yet to be proposed. Among others, the diet and presence of toxins in the environment have been tied to changes in penis size, mostly resulting in either reductions or inhibited growth in children. The most common cause are hormonal imbalances, especially deficiencies in growth hormone levels. None of these are related to the dimensions of other parts of your body.

Myth 14) The Color of Your Skin Determines Your Penis Size, Too
Of course, the alleged correlation between body part size and penis dimensions isn't the only myth out there. Another states that skin color is a factor determining penis size. The usual stereotype is that black men are particularly well endowed, while men from Asia are on the shorter end of the scale. This is another one of those outrageous myths that sound plausible precisely because they are so far fetched. It isn't an isolated myth either, as it is often perpetuated by media in various shapes and forms, from sly references to outright (and very insulting) portrayals of some categories of men as clearly better equipped.

Black and white guys size does matter

Is there any truth to this? None. The myth was born in a dark age of racial stereotyping and the actual case is that there really isn't any statistically significant variation between races. Those that reported such sensationalist results always suffered from one or more serious flaws in methodology and group selection. For example, some studies that provided these results relied on self-reported penis sizes, to the point that the data was gathered through the Internet, without any independent verification of the respondent's claims. It's hard to take these studies seriously.

Myth 13)  How Big You Are is How Good You Are
Finally, perhaps the most long-standing, most destructive, and most often repeated myth is that penis size has a direct impact on the quality of your intercourse and the amount of pleasure derived by your partner. It certainly sounds plausible. After all, bigger is better, right? This might be true with income, tax returns, or gas mileage, but when it comes to sex, raw size is one of the least relevant factors. Unless the man in question has a micropenis (defined as a normal penis, except measuring 7 cm or less when erect), the prime factor is technique, not the size.

There are numerous reasons for this, on both sides of the equation. Each human is built differently and responds to different stimuli in varying ways. Erogenous zones vary in location, size, and receptiveness. Finding them is not quite as easy as it looks on paper and certainly requires a fair amount of experience and effort, both of which are a function of technique, not raw size. Furthermore, human bodies are infinitely flexible. For example, a vagina can easily stretch or contract to accommodate various sizes, from the smaller penises to gargantuan ones. Finally, the myth needs to go the way of the dodo because it's incredibly destructive, causing apprehension and anxiety, especially among the younger parts of the male population who have yet to learn that size is the least of their concerns.

Myth 12)  Sex Sells
Staying just a while longer in male-centric territory, there's the problem of sex in advertising. The common adage holds that sex sells everything. Many advertisers certainly take this to heart, implementing as many sexualized and sometimes near pornographic images in their advertisements as possible without getting into any legal trouble. The general target for these advertisements is the male audience, which often appears to be treated as an amalgam of lust-driven troglodytes, rather than rational representatives of the human species.

Sex sells porno shop

As enduring as this stereotype (and the associated advertising) is, it's completely baseless. In fact, as 2005 study by MediaAnalyzer GmbH a German marketing advisory company, indicated that the inclusion of sexualized advertisements actually hurts the marketing campaign. Often the sexual components of an advertisement distract the viewer from purchasing behavior. Brand recall for both men and women was halved for sexualized advertising, down to around 10 percent, opposed to 20 percent recall with regular advertising. The reason for this is not so much disgust, as the so-called Vampire Effect. The sexualized element of the advertisement (for example, an almost nude model) attracts most of the viewer's attention, distracting them from the advertised brand. Despite this evidence, sex continues to be used by marketing agencies worldwide in order to sell products. The resolve of advertising agencies and their sticking to utilizing sex in advertisements shows that even if sex doesn't always pay off, it still can be a useful tool.

Myth 11)  Misconceptions About Conception
sperm entering eggThe lack of sexual education worldwide, aided by the hypocrisy apparently endemic to human society, has resulted in plenty of misconceptions about sex and pregnancy. Lots of people of all ages, genders, and nationalities often don't have the foggiest idea as to how conception actually happens and often do not understand how to effectively prevent it. The worst myth is the conviction that pregnancy happens instantly and that fertilization is a process with binary results. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

For starters, male sperm is actually very resilient. In advantageous conditions, it can survive up to five days in the female womb, seeking an ovum to fertilize. This makes it possible to become pregnant even if you have sex technically within the infertile days of a woman's menstrual cycle. The longevity of sperm makes unplanned parenthood very likely, especially if no form of contraception is used. The only consolation is that not every fertilization ends in pregnancy. In fact, the failure rate for zygotes is estimated to be as high as 80 percent, mostly due to implantation failure. Of course, relying purely on luck is hardly the best method for safe sex, using one or multiple forms of contraception is the best strategy.

Myth 10)  It's Easy to Spot Pregnancy
No element of sex is free of myths. One of the elements most mired in myth and legend is pregnancy. Although it is a process well researched and understood, many people simply don't do any research of their own, and rely too much on folk knowledge or stories from their friends. They are near complete ignoramuses when it comes to talking about pregnancy, understanding it, and most importantly identifying its symptoms.

pregnant woman standing belly

One common fallacy is that when a woman misses her period or has unexpected bleeding between her periods, than she must be pregnant. This myth only has gravity because people simply do not understand how a woman's menstrual cycle operates. A period can be delayed or even skipped entirely due to intense stress that can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to changes in ovulation. Bleeding can occur due to minor tearing of the vagina sustained during sex, or the bleeding can be what is referred to as spotting - light discharges of blood in between a woman's cycle. There are other symptoms that are often taken as sure-fire signs of pregnancy, such as food cravings or morning sickness.

The only way to verify a pregnancy is to take a blood test and to measure gonadotropin in the blood, which is a near perfect indicator that fertilization occurred and the zygote is developing. Home pregnancy tests are less precise and can often give false results.

Myth 9)  Sex Dies After Marriage and/or Childbirth
Another often repeated myth is that sex life dies once a pair becomes a couple and even if it doesn't, it's sure to take a nosedive once children are born. With the routine nature of married life coupled with pregnancy often leaving marks on a woman's body that don't go away, an active sex life seems to be at odds with the direction life takes as time passes. The truth is that the sex lives of married couples tends to be more active than most people think. Statistically, married couples have a lot more opportunity for and inclination towards sex than singles. Although sex drive naturally tapers off with age, no matter how old we get we never stop thinking about having sex . Especially not if care has been taken to stay active and interested in the partner.

upset couple not having sex

Childbirth has a complex effect on sex life, not in the least due to the arrival of a new family member that demands your whole attention and does not hesitate to voice their displeasure no matter how insignificant the problem. Another issue often cited are changes in the body a woman experiences once it returns to normal. However, it's a myth that these result in sex life taking a nose dive into an empty pool. Proper exercise and giving attention to the partner are near-guarantees of a happy sex life in a post-pregnancy age. Most of the cases when sex life indeed died are a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy or even peer pressure. In some way, society expects sex to die when children are present.

Myth 8)  The Question of Orgasm
The most pleasurable part of sex is often one of the least understood. Plenty of misconceptions concerning the subject continue to circulate, despite being proven wrong time and again. There exist claims that women have two distinct types of orgasm, achieved through either the stimulation of the clitoris or the vagina. However, there is only one orgasm that's simply brought about by different stimuli. While an orgasm by stimulating the vagina is much harder, due to the lower coverage by nerve endings, it's not impossible. The predominant way of achieving female orgasm is the stimulation of the clitoris, which has over eight thousand nerve endings, spread around the opening of the vagina in the rough shape of a horseshoe.

Another myth is that only women can orgasm multiple times. While such an occurrence is indeed rare in males, multiple male orgasm is a distinct possibility. A 1995 study at Rutgers University observed six full orgasms in a man in a 36 minute period, that is, one every six minutes. It's certainly in the realm of possibility, but rare. At the same time, you should also remember that there are differences between the male and the female orgasm. While a man is almost guaranteed to achieve orgasm and ejaculate (a function of the purpose for which the male evolved), women often require a lot more effort to achieve orgasm. As many as 30 percent of women can have trouble achieving orgasm in bed and those that do require more time and stimulation from the partner.

Myth 7)  You Can't Get Pregnant the First Time You Have Sex
vector of pregnant couple on signOf course, the worst myths are mostly related to contraception. While having children is good, particularly if you don't plan on riding out your retirement in solitude, having them early in life can have an adverse effect on lifestyle. Since humans develop a sexual drive relatively fast and the age of sexual initiation is often low, one of the most devastating myths related to sex life is the claim that a girl cannot get pregnant the first time she has sex. The origin of this myth is unknown, but is very widespread and often difficult to weed out due to its pervasive nature and attractiveness.

The problem is that any sexual contact involving vaginal intercourse has the possibility of resulting in pregnancy. This extends to the so-called first time when the hymen is ruptured. Its breakage releases no special hormone or molecule, nor does the act inhibit the movement of sperm. The risk of pregnancy is not the only one. As the rupturing of the hymen is the only thing that differentiates the first time from regular sexual intercourse, it's also easy to contract a sexually transmitted disease if either of the parties is ill.

Myth 6)  Pulling Out is Enough to Protect Against Pregnancy
While it is certainly a method for conserving troops in times of war, coitus interruptus is one of the least recommended contraceptive methods that nevertheless continues to be used worldwide by as many as 35 million couples. At its core, it looks reliable and simple enough. Instead of ejaculating inside the female partner, the male withdraws before climax. Since no contact is made between the sperm and the vagina, they have no means of making their way to the ovum. While this method can indeed work, but there are several reasons why it's not the method of contraception out there.

For starters, it requires a very strict discipline from both partners to remove the penis in a timely manner. Furthermore, it also relies on strict hygiene on the part of the man. Sperm left in the urethra from a previous ejaculation, regardless of its source, can remain viable and can fertilize the ovum if they enter the female partner's body with the pre-ejaculate. The pre-ejaculate itself does not contain viable sperm. However, the most problematic element of this contraceptive method is that it offers absolutely no protection from sexually transmitted disease. Coupled with an estimated failure rate up to as much as 28 percent, coitus interruptus is not a recommended long-term contraceptive method. It's cheap, but its price is indicative of its efficiency.

Myth 5)  Natural Family Planning is the Way
Otherwise known as fertility awareness contraception, this type of pregnancy prevention relies on observing the woman's symptoms to determine fertile and infertile periods. These are computed from basic body temperature, cervical mucus, and cervical position. It is often marketed, particularly by the Roman Catholic Church, as the only effective method of contraception that doesn't violate human dignity. How measuring these symptoms each day is less violating than simply taking medicine or using condoms is never explained.

Woman's menstrual cycle

Regardless of the position of the Church, the method has numerous problems associated with it. Most importantly, in relies on perfect adherence to the methodology, with no room for deviations of any kind. Furthermore, this method does not take into account variations in the fertility cycle due to external factors, which may delay, hasten, or otherwise affect fertility. The estimated actual failure rate for this method is between 2 percent and as much as 25 percent, making it far cry from what it says on the tin. The older calendar method of determining fertile days that relied on pure mathematics has a solid 25 percent failure rate, making both of them ill advised for couples that are serious about avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

Myth 4)  Home-made Contraception is Enough
contraceptive girl finding out she is pregnantThere are dozens of myths associated with contraception alone, but none of them are as pervasive and dangerous as various folk remedies and conventional wisdom that are passed around as viable methods of contraception. The attractiveness of these is undeniable. After all, you get to have sex without having to pay attention to the consequences! Unfortunately, as is often the case with conventional wisdom and folklore, these are for the most part completely unworkable and can even be dangerous.

Take, for instance, the rather absurd claims that washing up after sex helps remove sperm from the vagina. Of course, this method never succeeds. Water does not mix well with the natural mucus lining of the vagina and the sperm is not removed. What's worse, douching can damage the vagina walls, leading to an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, as well as elevated risks of cervical cancer, endometritis, and a large variety of bacterial infections. Other home-made contraceptive methods that are just as ineffective and even more ridiculous include urinating after sex (the urethra is located above the vagina, not inside) or jumping up and down vigorously. In general, if you want effective contraceptives, you'll have to pay for them.

Myth 3)  Late Sexual Initiation is Bad
closeup of loving coupleHowever, the most destructive myths in sex are related to culture, rather than physiology. One of the top three most damaging myths is definitely the conviction that late sexual initiation is intrinsically bad or signifies something negative about the person who did not start his sex life until later in life. The increasing sexual activity among teenagers has naturally led to the emergence of stereotyping and even ridicule of people who did not lose their virginity until later in life. This myth is very deeply rooted, equivalent to the lack of scientific basis it has.

For starters, there is no such thing as an optimal moment for sexual initiation. There is also no correlation between sexual initiation and maturity or lack thereof. Available studies point to something entirely different: people who start their sex life later in life are actually better off in the long term. With a matured, developed personality and a proper understanding of consequences, late starters form more stable and long-lasting relationships than early starters. As such, social stigmatization due to abstaining from sex until you are mature enough to understand its finer aspects is undeserved and one of the most harmful myths. Often, peer pressure can lead to poor decision making and adverse consequences.

Myth 2)  Virginity and Marriage Are Vital to Good Sex and a Happy Life
A related issue to sexual initiation is virginity and abstaining from sex until marriage. The most widespread myth states that these two elements are a prerequisite for a happy marriage and a good sex life (or even the only means of achieving it in some cases). The key problem with this argumentation is that the quality of a relationship is tied to an arbitrary moment in life, ignoring dozens of underlying issues.

Married couple on the beach drawing a heart

The first thing that needs to be stated is that virginity is not effective as means of ensuring a committed relationship. Commitment is a function of effort and time invested into maintaining and deepening the relationship. The key problem with this myth is that it removes the burden of responsibility from the persons that formulate a relationship, tying the quality of their life together and sex to an external factor. In short, rather than relying on abstinence and marriage to ensure the quality of your relationship, invest yourself. Abstinence is only useful as long as it doesn't adversely affect the relationship itself. Conversely, early sexual engagement can have the same detrimental effect. The best solution is, as usual, the middle ground.

Myth 1)  It Won't Happen to Me
However, if there's one myth that is truly the worst of them all and wreaks the most havoc is the claim that problems will never happen to you. Often backed up with more or less reliable claims of education, maturity, or even some innate luck, claims that one is immune to the vagaries of fate and random occurrences that can cause consequences down the line.  No one wants to find themselves pregnant and without a plan. 

stages of pregnancy

How to handle this myth? The best way is to simply do your research and never fail to think rationally. Granted, this might be hard to do when it comes to sex, but maintaining a clear head and always examining situations from multiple angles is never a bad idea, especially in situations where your health may be a stake. Always take the proper precautions if you expect problems: carry spare contraceptives, don't engage in unprotected sex, and try to screen your partners beforehand. Casual sex may be fun, but the enjoyment tends to diminish once an STD kicks in and your life can become ruined very quickly.

The prevalence of myths surrounding sex life may be surprising. After all, humans have been doing it for thousands of years. However, as such a vital part of life, it became deeply linked to culture and religion, resulting in thousands of myths that continue to exist and mar the image even now. The best way to react to myths and limit the impact they have on your life is to simply ensure that you educate yourself and stay on top of any developments. Although it is indeed very tempting to subscribe to a ready-made ideology and tie your opinions to it, to enjoy a healthy sex life you should rely on your own research. Which is a universal rule, not just limited to tumbles in the hay.





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