We have heard a lot of things about sex, it’s safe to say we have believed some of them if not more. Tell me if some of these comments like ‘ a bigger penis equal better sex’ or ‘ period sex is a natural contraception’ or ‘ men are more interested in sex than women’ or ‘if a girl doesn’t bleed after her first time, she’s not a virgin’ sound familiar to you. We have all fallen prey to these beliefs at some point and some of us have even passed them on.
Don’t worry, we are not here to blame you, we are blaming the lack of sex education and the taboo around sex!
Ever since the first time we heard the word ‘sex’ we had to be ‘hush-hush’ about it. Most of us got a better understanding of sex through our friends, or a sneaky peek at a porn video (an awful and unreal representation of real-life sex, and potentially scarring).
Since most of our sex education came from our friends, we were bound to be fed misconceptions about sex from an early age. Growing up, hesitation and awkwardness consumed us when it came to ‘sex’, and dare we question our parents or guardians about it, I know I couldn’t! Sex was discussed more formally in school during sex-ed classes, however, that was restricted to the science of reproduction and STIs, ‘pleasure’ didn’t rank too high on the list and was thus not discussed.
India has the third-highest number of HIV cases in the world, of which adolescents and teens make up 31%. Population growth and teen pregnancy have been at an all-time high. This speaks volumes about the state of sex education in India, and the dire need for it!
We have all had several questions regarding sex and our bodies but nobody answered them correctly. Not all Gynaes are friendly and unorthodox (on knowing we are unmarried and sexually active, we have been looked down upon at times), sexologists are not too common to find and go to, and sex therapy hasn’t even been accepted completely (at least not without being judged by the society). Again we are only left with porn (in the worst-case scenario) and the information we’ve been fed since early adolescence. Don’t even get me started on how people, especially women are denied pleasure and orgasm due to the taboo attached to sex toys! Even if we don’t care for taboos, some of us are lost or clueless and have various doubts – where to buy sex toys in India? Is it even legal? Should I buy sex toys online, will that be reliable? And what not!
Sex myths are known to cause harm or damage if people blindly rely on them. All of us know one friend or distant relative that dealt with an unwanted pregnancy, a severe case of rash around the vagina, and relationship issues and disappointments (caused due to unrealistic expectations), owing to misinformation and myths about sex.
Unlearn 9 myths about sex and re-learn them purely from a factual lens-
- MYTH: Sex is graceful, effortless, coordinated, and smooth. Just like you see in movies and porn!
We’ve all had this misconception about smooth moves, and coordinated thrusts, followed by the sound of heavy breathing and successive moans filling the room. It is almost as if you are being set up for embarrassment. With this notion, most of us are bound to be disappointed. Real-life sex involves efforts, communication, and all kinds of sounds (yes we are talking about queefs and farts!). It involves love and passion but those aren’t the only moods, and that doesn’t mean that you and your partner have to be into the act the entire time. Communication and laughter are known to be indicators of good sex life. So normalize queefs and farts, have some fun and laughter, celebrate cramping up while switching positions, and communicate to ensure your partner is comfortable.
- MYTH: If a woman doesn’t bleed during or after her first intercourse, she is not a virgin.
Firstly, it is a scientific fact that there is no such thing as a ‘virgin’ because the idea of an intact hymen before the first sexual intercourse is medically inaccurate.
Secondly, a woman may not bleed during or after her first sexual intercourse and there can be multiple reasons behind it. Virginity is a social construct, created to keep patriarchy alive by perpetuating sexual shame for vagina owners. A hymen is a thick lining that thins and wears over time, it can be torn during sports activities, inserting a tampon or a finger, or while masturbation. Next time you want to know if it’s someone’s first time or sexual debut, instead of spreading a white bedsheet, just ask them. Depend on the plain and old formula of communicating with your partner to find out the answer instead of these archaic tests for the truth if at all.
- MYTH: It must hurt the first time a woman has sex.
It is okay for you to believe this, that’s what the movies and social media have been feeding you! But hang on, we’re going to try to change that view. When a woman has sex for the first time, it can be many things – awkward, uncomfortable, dry, weird, or all of it. We’ve been told it has to be painful to be proper and acceptable. However, pain during any sexual intercourse is highly unlikely and not normal, be it the first or the 117th time. You may feel a little discomfort during your first time because it’s a new experience and we’re not born pros. Remember, your vagina has to be wet and aroused to provide for a pleasurable experience.
- MYTH: A bigger penis = better sex
This one is for all the penis owners, now would be a good time to let go of all your insecurities and own your body. It is a proven fact that women are not half as concerned as men when it comes to how well hung you are down there. A study was carried out among 25,000 women to understand how concerned they were about their partner’s penis size, the results concluded that 84% of them were ‘very satisfied and 2% preferred a smaller penis. Yes, you read it right, Penis size does not matter to most women! Comparing your penis to those viagra-driven penises in porn movies is just unfair. Comparing your penis, in general, is very unnecessary and vain! Good sex = great foreplay, experimenting with sex toys (check out our shop section), communication, tenderness, stimulating all the pleasure points, right techniques, methods, and positions. It is so much more than the size of your penis.
- MYTH: Protection is not required when the woman is menstruating.
We use protection for two major reasons – to avoid pregnancy and to avoid STDs. Since most viruses are found in our bloodstream, and that vaginal bleeding is very much a part of the monthly cycle, it is fatal to indulge in sex without a condom or any other form of protection. Even if you and your partner have tested negative for STIs but are still avoiding pregnancy, protection is imperative! One may assume that a woman can only get pregnant during ovulation – true! However, the sperm can live up to 5 days inside a woman’s body; some women may ovulate within a few days of their menstrual cycle. So period or no period, pull up your condoms or any other method of protection if you want to steer clear of STDs and unwanted pregnancies!
Read – A guide to period sex
- MYTH: Women are less interested in sex than men.
Any person’s interest in sex varies, depending on factors such as hormonal changes, stress, culture, and stereotypes attached to a specific gender. So, this generalized statement about women’s interest in sex at all times differs greatly from men is a myth. What differs between men and women is orgasm, a study found that heterosexual men were more likely to orgasm during sex when compared to heterosexual women. It is also a fact that homosexual women are more likely to orgasm than heterosexual women. This orgasm gap is a cultural problem, we at Manzuri aim to solve this gap!
- MYTH: Pull out method is a reliable contraceptive method.
“We don’t need a condom. Don’t worry I’ll pull out.” don’t fall for that my dear vulva owners! At least not if getting pregnant or an STI is not on your to-do list. Pulling out or withdrawing requires great self-control, practice, and experience, even then its efficacy is not guaranteed. While the statistics say that couples who use the pull-out method correctly each time they have sex have about a 4% chance of getting pregnant (still more than most other contraceptive methods) and a very high chance of transmitting an STI, This figure applies to people who practice this method ‘perfectly’. Since we are humans, we may not always be able to part from the most intense moment of desire right on time, so in real life, there is about a 22% chance of pregnancy when solely relying on the withdrawal method. So go on, stock up on some condoms!
- MYTH: Masturbating or using sex toys when in a relationship = cheating.
Before you had your first relationship with someone, you already had an important relationship, the one with yourself! Masturbation and having sex with someone else are two separate things. When masturbating the only person there is, are you? Would cheating also include going to the cinemas alone or having a lavish dinner alone at a restaurant? That would be self-care, right? So is masturbation! It is a small act of reconnecting with yourself, and arousing your pleasure zones just to have some fun by yourself! It is not n indicator of how fulfilling your sex life or relationship is. If anything, it is an indicator of a healthy relationship with yourself. Make sure the next time you masturbate, you leave the guilt with your panties, on the floor!
As for using sex toys, it’s the same as masturbation, using a vibrator doesn’t mean you cheated on your man’s dick for a sex toy! Sex toys add layers of pleasure to masturbation as well as to your relationship. With a variety of gender-inclusive sex toys available, every person can benefit from the perks that they offer!
- MYTH: Women who have sex with a lot of men have a ‘loose’ vagina.
The myth of having a ‘loose vagina’ has been used to shame women for their sex lives. You don’t see this concept being used when a woman has a lot of sex with one man, it is very conveniently used only when it comes to women having more than one sexual partner (Also read: What Is Body Count And Does It Matter?). As for the myth, let’s clear that up, the vagina is like an elastic and any elastic that stretches goes back to normal in no time. When a woman is aroused, the vagina gets lubricated and expands to accommodate the penis, and as the arousal wanes off the vagina retracts and goes back to its shape and form. With age, time, and childbirth, it is absolutely normal for the vagina to undergo change. The next time someone stops you from having sex to retain a ‘tight’ vagina, go and have some more!
We hope we have cleared out some of your doubts and provided a better picture of sex myths and facts! The next time you come across a myth about sex, show them the facts. Let us know what other sex myths you have heard, we’ll bust them too!