Seven sexual health myths you should ignore
- You can’t get pregnant during menstruation
Menstruation is the process of the womb’s wall lining shedding off after unsuccessful fertilisation of an egg. While it is not common that pregnancy occurs during menstruation, it is still scientifically possible that intercourse during the period a woman sheds blood can lead to conception.
Sperm once shed into the birth canal can remain alive and viable between three to five days. During this time ovulation may take place followed by successful fertilisation.
- You can get an STI from a toilet seat
Venereal diseases are primarily passed from one infected person to the next through sexual contact. Some STIs, such as pubic lice, can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact or sharing clothes, towels or bedding.
In many cases direct contact of skin or genitals or other bodily fluids with infected people is required for successful infection to occur. Urine usually cannot carry STI, so toilet seats are safe on that count. Besides, most STI agents cannot survive outside the human body for a long time.
- You need a big penis to orgasm
A recent study shows that the average human penis is 13.12 cm long and 11.66 cm in circumference. The idea that a big penis automatically means satisfactory sexual experience for a woman is a fallacy.
Most women orgasm by stimulation to clitoris rather than inside the vagina. A woman can either experience clitoral orgasm or G-spot orgasm. A deep-penetrating penis is irrelevant to clitoral orgasms.
- You can’t get an STI from oral sex
You are more likely to get infected with an STI through sexual intercourse than through oral sex. However, some infections are spread much easily through oral sex. The most commonly passed on are herpes simplex, gonorrhoea and syphilis.
The best way to help protect yourself during oral sex is to use a male or female condom or a dam to cover your genital area or anus.
- Menopause kills a woman’s sex drive
Menopause, the age when a woman loses reproductive vigour, is often accompanied by symptoms such as hot flushes. However, losing the ability to procreate does not affect one’s sex drive. A woman well past menopause can experience good libido and also have a fulfilling sexual life.
- Birth control pills make you gain (or lose) weight
Tens of studies covering this subject have been conducted all over the world but none of them is yet to prove a correlation between oral contraceptives and weight gain, this is still a common belief among women of all ages.
Specifically, a review article published in 2006 analysed 44 previous trials and found that while some participants did gain weight during their studies, there was no evidence that their birth control was to blame.
- You have to use a cleaning agent to clean the vagina effectively
It is common behaviour that a proper bath is often accompanied by use of soap or shower gels. This has led to the belief that the vagina (especially internal walls) need to be cleaned with a cleaning agent like soap. It is from this belief that practices such as douching started being practiced.