10 Myths I Believed About Sex When I Was Young That Are Flat-Out Lies
As it turns out, you don't know everything when you're first starting out.
I lost my virginity when I was 17. At the time, I thought I was being super rebellious. While a lot of my friends were waiting for “the one,” I was just happy to get that awkward initiation over with. There are all sorts of myths you believe about sex when you’re just starting out. I just happened to be more curious about the mechanics of sex (you can do WHAT with your fingers?!) than the idea that it had to be with the perfect person on the first try.
Still, a lot of things I thought I knew about sex have totally changed for me over the years. As it turns out, you actually don’t know everything at 17. There are sex acts I never thought I’d enjoy that I absolutely love now, and I’ve also learned to set better boundaries. I don’t know if hindsight is really 20/20 when you’re doing it doggy-style, but here are some things I believed about sex when I was young that turned out to be total myths.
1. Sex should only be with someone you really care about
I think this is something adults tell teenagers because they don’t want them to rush out and screw like rabbits. I get it, it’s a loss of innocence and increased likelihood of teen pregnancy, STDs, and so forth. But as a young adult, I learned a lot from having sex with people I wasn’t in a relationship with, and those moments really prepared me to have great sex with people I did care about later on.
Besides, sometimes I just want to get my kicks. My relationship track record is kind of bleak, so if I only had sex with guys I was dating, I don’t think I’d be as confident sexually as I am now. Without a committed partner, a less-special person will have to do, and as long as I’m able to detach myself from emotional post-sex pulls, I generally find no issues with this.
2. Having sex on the first date never leads to a relationship
I am not one to place “rules” on dating and sexual activity because I feel like it really hampers intimacy overall. If you and your date are feeling horny, why not go for it? These moments are usually super-charged with passion and a rush of adrenaline you’ll never forget. And a few of my best relationships have grown out of sex on the first date.
Sex also reveals a lot about the person and, for me, it’s been a great indicator of how that person might be in a future relationship. If a guy skips foreplay and rushes into penetration, I find he’s either egotistical and doesn’t care about my sexual needs. Pass. But if he goes down on me first or multiple times and seems like he really enjoys it? That likely won’t go away, so if things do turn into a longer-term situation, I’m set up for success.
3. Men want a porn star in the bedroom
I used to think that if I acted like a porn star during sex, men would think that I was the perfect woman. After all, dudes watch a lot of porn. Sexual liberation is a great feeling, but I came to realize that most men really prefer to separate their porn fantasies from their relationship expectations.
“Porn isn’t real,” one guy told me when I asked him if I’d look better with a boob job after knowing his preferred porn channels were focused on extremely large breasts. Another one asked me to stop asking him to “cream pie” me (ejaculate inside me without a condom; don’t worry, I was on birth control) because it felt uncomfortable for him in real life. Knowing this takes a lot of pressure off me when I am in bed and also allows me to feel closer to my partners by discussing our sexual preferences. That’s definitely one sex myth I was happy to leave behind.
4. Having lots of sex is better than having no sex
Going into a sexual draught used to be one of my biggest fears. I never wanted someone to pity me or think there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t having sex regularly. I’d end up overcompensating by sleeping around with anyone who’d come home with me, which usually resulted in lackluster boning, or if I was in a relationship, I’d force myself to initiate sex despite just really not being in the mood, which also results in lackluster boning.
The reality is that people need a lot less sex than we think. As I got older and stressors related to work, family, travel, and more began taking hold of my life, sex got pushed aside sometimes. It actually helped me appreciate the moments when I did have sex because it was intentional. I realized how much better it felt when I could be fully focused on my partner and myself. If a long period of sexual inactivity arose, I’d talk to my therapist or my boyfriend to figure out the underlying cause and fix it, but I began to feel more forgiving when having sex every day turned into having sex maybe once a week.
5. If you’re not kinky, you’re boring
As someone who studied sex, relationship, and kinship patterns from an anthropological perspective back in college, I know all too much about kink. I have had a lot of discussions with people about their kinks and tried hard to figure out what mine are, as well. I thought everyone had to have some kind of fantasy — a wardrobe of costumes, a drawer filled with sex toys — to go beyond “vanilla sex.”
Honestly, though, wearing a nurse costume feels so strange for me. And I don’t want to be whipped. For me, sex should be pleasurable. I’ve come to accept that vanilla sex actually feels great and that not subscribing to a specific kink doesn’t mean I’m somehow sexually repressed or boring.
6. Anal sex is gross and weird
Butt stuff was not something I was supposed to like, according to my close friends. It was always this taboo subject, uncharted territory, but the idea was like, “Poop comes out of there, why would a penis go into there?” Plus it doesn’t naturally reshape itself the way a vagina does, so most people I knew who had tried it explained it was great for the guy, but painful for the girl.
Still, I was always curious about it and exploring this area on my own terms helped me feel better when I tried it for the first time. Now I find I’m really into it, but, of course, it comes with my own set of boundaries. I prefer to have it with people I really trust, and it has to come with adequate prep time because it should be fun for everyone.
7. Guys want nothing to do with a girl’s period
The period sex stigma is still alive and well, but honestly if a dude is horny enough, he won’t care if you’re riding the crimson wave. Maybe it’s because we’ve sexually matured, or maybe it’s because we’ve discovered way grosser things to do in bed than deal with a few teaspoons of shedded uterine lining. Whatever the case, I don’t know any guy these days who is against period sex. Some of my guy friends say they don’t notice it, or they think it enhances their experience because the girl’s hormones are a ragin’.
I’m happy at least to know that menstruation and sex can coexist in a way that doesn’t make me feel bad for my involuntary biological needs.
8. Size doesn’t matter
This is more my personal take on the subject but, sadly, I do find size matters. It’s an unfortunate sex myth. I’ve definitely had some experiences with men who were so small, I didn’t feel anything except their hip bones jutting into my body with every thrust. If I can’t feel anything, I’m instantly turned off and also distracted.
It’s not the guy’s fault, of course, but I don’t know how to make it work. Maybe there is something to the whole idea of “it’s how you use it” and their sexual technique is just not good enough to register within the caverns of my loins. Luckily for most men, it’s not really an issue; even if a guy thinks he has a small dick he usually has an average size and it’s all good in the end.
9. Masturbating every day is a sign of sexual addiction
This is one is tied to guilt issues from my Catholic upbringing. I was lucky enough to at least ignore the idea that masturbation was a sin, touching myself was disgusting, and something was wrong with me if I did so (as many of my friends believed). I did, however, think for a long time that I needed to create certain boundaries for it.
I used to have a “jerk-off day” planned on my calendar which set a specific date and time for me to touch myself, thinking anything beyond that was overboard and indicative of sex addiction. As I got older and realized how ridiculous that was, I was happy to remove one last item from my schedule. Now I masturbate almost every day, sometimes even twice a day. There are lots of health benefits tied to it, like natural stress-reduction, and my libido is stronger as a result as well.
10. Cheating is the worst thing you can do in a relationship
Back in the day, I believed that having sex with someone other than your committed partner was the worst thing you could do. I don’t think cheating should be a habit but I do think having sex with someone else outside of my relationship can be ok and sometimes even enhance that relationship if done right.
Maybe it’s not totally cheating — some people call it “consensual non-monogamy.” The idea is that parameters are made within a relationship to consider outside experiences, how they are taken on, and how it can change the relationship depending on how far you take things. It’s different for every relationship and definitely requires some difficult and honest conversations. But if it works out, it’s a really interesting form of sexual exploration that has taught me a lot about myself, my relationships, and my preferences.