From demonising a significant percentage of the population to indulging in risky sex, there is no dearth of myths surrounding sexual activity. While these urban legends generate a good round of laughter among friends, for the sufferer of the myths, there can be significant distress to their individual and couple intimacy life.
1. An intact hymen is a sign of virginity
Contrary to popular belief, the hymen isnâ€™t necessarily a barrier at the opening of the vagina. It is a membrane that only partially covers or surrounds the vaginal opening. Hymens differ and not everyoneâ€™s hymen can break during the first intercourse because it can be thin and stretchy or thick and rigid and in some cases, completely absent. The hymen can also tear for other reasons including engaging in sports, using a tampon or during masturbation when something is inserted in the vaginal opening.
2. All women can have multiple orgasms
While multiple orgasms are assumed to be the trump card of women when it comes to sexual intercourse, not all women can have (or wish to have) multiple orgasms. Some women may find their genitalia too sensitive to touch after achieving an orgasm and may not want to go for more.
3. Women who have a lot of sex have loose vaginas
The vagina, like many other parts of the body like the mouth and the anus, has the ability to expand and contract to optimize its function. When a woman is sexually aroused, the vaginal muscles expand to enable intercourse and contract again after sexual activity ends. While there may be slight loosening of the vaginal opening after child birth, engaging in a lot of sex has no effect on the tightness of the vagina. Women are encouraged to practise â€˜Kegelâ€™s exerciseâ€™ especially after childbirth if they wish to improve the tone of the vaginal muscles.
4. Douching after sex prevents pregnancy
Douching is the act of washing the vaginal cavity with water or other substances. Douching after sex will NOT prevent pregnancy. The sperms in the semen are extremely fast swimmers and can reach the uterus by the time a woman even begins to douche. Also, the pressure of the douching solution squirted into the vagina can actually push the sperm into the uterus. Additionally, douching can increase the chances of getting an STD.
5. You can't get STDs from oral sex
While the risk of STDs is comparatively lesser in oral sex than in genital sex, bacterial infections such as chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhoea in the mouth and/or throat â€“ and in some rarer occasions â€“ can lead to genital warts in the mouth.
6. If you start foreplay, you must end with intercourse
There is no rule that says a kiss must end with intercourse. Consent plays a key factor in anything two people are engaging in sexually. While foreplay can end with intercourse, it has to be the want of both parties involved.
7. The anus is an erogenous zone only for homosexual men
Anal sex is commonly associated with homosexual men as it plays a significant role in the possible sexual activities available to them. However, the anus is an erogenous zone for not just homosexual men, but men and women of all sexual orientations. It is definitely important though to emphasize that it is not an essential aspect and a couple may engage in activities surrounding the anus upon mutual consent and communication. Also, note there is no natural lubrication in this area unlike the vagina.
8. Condoms lessen sexual pleasure
This is the most common excuse for not using condoms as a method of birth control. Condoms, today, come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They are specifically designed not only to prevent STDs but are carefully made so that they do not interfere with the sexual experience. It would definitely help for couples to experiment with different brands, sizes and types of condoms to find one that is most enjoyable. Sexual pleasure is not just at the local (penis) level but largely at the higher centres (brain).
9. Faking an orgasm is okay
Women sometimes fake orgasms to either draw closure to the sexual activity or to avoid letting their partner down. Unfortunately, this stunts the communication and doesnâ€™t allow the partner to understand the need of the hour and improve it by trying other things.
10. The female orgasm is unnecessary
In certain cases, women are known to squirt on climaxing. While this is a controversial area of sexual medicine research, the male orgasm is deemed more important because of its obvious reproductive function. However, the female orgasm is just as necessary and sex does not end until both partners have been satisfied. Alternatively, the female orgasm can result in better lubrication making intercourse easier and more pleasurable.
11. You can tell the size of a man's penis by his shoe or nose size
Researchers do suspect that there may be some genetic connection between the development of the penis and the development of the limbs. However, there has been no conclusive scientific evidence to prove that there is any correlation between the size of the feet, nose or general size of the man and the size of his penis.
12. Sex should be natural, asking for it or planning it spoils it
The movies always portray sex as an activity that is spontaneous and passionate. While this can happen in real life, the first time can be confusing and the fiftieth time can be monotonous. Communicating needs or planning a night for sexual activity can not only address these issues but enhance the experience. Couples are discouraged to view sexual intimacy as something very special and blend it with their routine lifestyle.
As explained earlier, there are no specific gender roles for two people engaging in sexual activity. This applies to same sex couples as well. Same sex couples do not necessarily take on the role of either gender to enjoy sexual activity.
In todayâ€™s world, everything is online. Information is at our fingertips. Sex need not be as elusive as the Loch Ness or as blurry as the Yeti. Get the right facts and end the virus that myths and misconceptions are. For further reading please refer to our previous articles in this series.
This is a part of the Sexual Health series bought to you by The News Minute in association with Happy Relationships. Happy Relationships is an enterprise that works in the field of sexual health and relationship wellness.