9 sex myths you’ve totally believed your entire life

With all the talk there is about sex, there sure are a lot of inaccurate rumors floating around. Even if we think we know all there is to know about sexy sex time, we’ve all fell for at least a few of the most common myths. Can you really guess a guy’s penis size by his shoe size? What really is the deal with the hymen? Here are some popular myths that are totally, 100% not true.

Myth #1: Men think about sex every seven seconds


We’ve all heard the myth that, on average, men think about sex every seven seconds. Which, by the way, means they think about sex 514 times every hour. Seems like a *lot* of time to devote to banging.

Yeeeeeah, so, that’s totally untrue, and there’s no research to back up that claim. There has been one study that found the average participant thought about sex 19 times a day — a more realistic number, right? Another study found that people thought more about food, sleep, personal hygiene, social contact, time off, and even coffee than sex. In other words? There’s no way to put an actual number on how many times anyone, regardless of gender, thinks about sex a day.

Myth #2: You can’t get pregnant with another baby while you’re pregnant


It sounds crazy, but you can actually get pregnant while pregnant! If a woman is pregnant, she should still use protection while having sex if she wants to avoid superfetation, or conceiving while pregnant. It’s rare, but it happens to approximately one in a few million pregnancies. Back in 2009, it happened to Arkansas couple Todd and Julia Grovenburg, who found that a male fetus was conceived two and a half weeks after the couple conceived a baby girl.

“Here’s how it happens — egg and sperm, implant. Of course, that’s your first pregnancy,” NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman said then. “But if you ovulate more than one time a month — and women do — and a sperm happens to meet that egg and they, too, implant, guess what, you get a second fetus. You just have to hope it happens within that early window.”

Myth #3: Pulling out is totally ineffective at preventing pregnancy

If you’re having sex with someone other than a highly trusted partner, the pulling out method is a definite no-no — not only because it’s risky to trust someone you don’t know to do the deed correctly, but because of the risk of STDs and STIs.


However, while pulling out is widely considered an irresponsible and rash method, Broadly notes that a 2014 study published in the international reproduction journal Contraception calls it “as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy,” while another study highlighted that, if practiced *perfectly*, only 4% of couples who use the method will get pregnant in a year.

Bedsider agrees, stating, “Out of 100 couples who were withdrawal rock stars—meaning they pulled out correctly every time they had sex—about four of them would get pregnant in a year.” They added, “But it can be a challenge to pull out for lots of reasons, and most people have days when they’re not feeling like rock stars of any kind.” And that’s why 22% of people who used the pull-out method become pregnant. 

Myth #4: Virginity *only* involves a penis and a vagina


Many of us have always thought that losing your virginity involves having penetrative sex between a man and a woman, and that any of the other “bases” didn’t really count, but the reality is that there isn’t an exact definition of what “sex” means — and thus, “virginity” is really just a social construct (and a very heteronormative one).

“There’s no universal consensus on what behaviors constitute having sex,” said relationship and sex expert Kristen Mark, Ph.D. “[The concept of] ‘virginity’ is very heterocentric. It really excludes a large number of people who may consider themselves as having lost their virginity, but that definition is going to be very different for them.”

Myth #5: The hymen always “rips” or “breaks” during first-time sex (and it hurts!)


Many women have felt some serious fear before having sex for the first time, because we heard about our hymens, and really, using the word “ripping” to describe anything in that area is pretty terrifying. However, the hymen often wears away during adolescence due to athletic activities, using tampons, masturbation, or even just walking — meaning that there’s often very little left by the time a woman may have penetrative sex for the first time. In fact, even in the cases where women experienced pain the first time, the pain was often not because of their hymen, but because their nerves (that were caused from this myth in the first place!) make their muscles tighten up. . . ouch.

Myth #6: The clitoris is tiiiiiny


The part of the clitoris we can see may only be about a centimeter or so long, so many people assume that’s how big it is. But, nope — the magic happens inside. Most of the clitoris is located in the body, and it’s actually the approximately the size of medium zucchini. (Just try not to freak people out too much at the grocery store by staring at zucchinis.)

Myth #7: All women can achieve orgasm with penetration alone


It’s easy to feel that there’s something wrong with you, no matter your gender, if both parties don’t achieve climax during sex. However, it’s totally normal! According to Planned Parenthood, as many as 80 percent of women have trouble climaxing from vaginal intercourse alone. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s OK — find other ways to achieve those waves of bliss.

Myth #8: Shoe size and penis size are correlated


No, no, no, you can’t tell a man’s penis size by his shoe size. A 2002 study from the University College Hospitals in London found zero correlation between the size of 104 men’s feet and their penises. Print this out and hand it to that annoying dude who is constantly talking about his size 14 feet, okay?

Myth #9: Great sex happens naturally


It can be easy to feel like there’s something wrong with your relationship — or with you — if you aren’t able to have mind-blowing, amazing sex. If you feel “meh” about the time spent in the bedroom, does that mean your relationship is “meh”? Does that mean you have no chemistry? No, no, no! Great sex means getting to know your body and your partner’s body, trying new things, and learning each other’s sexual language. Practice makes perfect!

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