I will be using words like “penis” and “vagina” in this article, so if that makes you uncomfortable, then there’s the door. *points to red X in the corner of your web browser*

Sex is natural. It is nothing of which to be ashamed. It is how we all got here, except for those angelic babies that were delivered by storks. But sex can also be stressful, awkward, embarrassing, and downright scary, especially in an environment that lacks an open dialogue about sex and intimacy.

There are all kinds of wacky myths about sex floating around that enter our brains and make us scared to ever take our clothes off. These myths come from a lack of understanding of intimacy and an absence of knowledge about our own bodies. Ladies, raise your hand if you used to think that your pee and babies came out the same place.

So, in this sexy edition of Myth Busters, we’re going to break down the most ridiculous, frightening, and silly sex myths that are def,  not true.

Size matters.

This one’s for the dudes. There is no direct correlation between penis size and how much pleasure a woman feels during intercourse. The celebration of well-endowed men is simply a social construct that continues to exist thanks to porn and the media. Sometimes a large penis isn’t always a good thing: When paired with a small vagina, intercourse can actually be a little uncomfortable. So don’t be discouraged by penis size, and ladies—don’t be self-conscious about your vagina, its size or any part of it. Just work with your partner to figure out what feels best.

Women don’t want casual sex.

And the insinuation of sex makes my fragile lady heart shatter as I clutch my pearls and fall onto my fainting couch! NOT. Newsflash, people: Women think about sex just as much as men, and sometimes we want it without any strings attached. Yes, there are women (and men!) who prefer to keep intimacy strictly to committed relationships, but no single preference can be representative of the sexuality of a whole half of the population. Everyone should just do what is right for them and consent with their partners, whether they’re gettin’ it on during a one-night-stand or in the marriage bed. And tell those woman-haters to get a new hobby.

Orgasms make women fall in love.

This misconception comes from the same source as #2: People believe that our little lady brains are so emotionally-driven that when we climax, we form an unbreakable emotional bond with our partner and thus we are discouraged from having casual sex. Do you really think our own brains would betray us like that by filling us with love hormones? There is no existing evidence to support this myth.

You can’t get pregnant when you’re on your period.

Yes, you can. It’s rare, but it can happen. This is because, according to Planned Parenthood, sperm can live inside the female reproductive organs for up to six days. The vagina is naturally acidic and is harmful to sperm, but if the fastest swimmers make it far enough inside to the fallopian tubes, they can survive until they find an egg to match with. I’m not saying it will happen, but it’s kind of like how birth control is only 99% effective—that 1% is left out for a reason. It’s something to keep in the back of your mind, and it should encourage you to be extra careful.

You can’t get an STD from oral sex.

You can get a cold sore from a regular ole virus, but you can also get the form of herpes around your mouth from oral sex. While viral STDs (such as HIV, HPV, and herpes) are usually transmitted through vaginal or anal sex, it is not impossible to contract them through oral sex. If you get an STD from oral sex, it will most likely be a bacterial STD, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis. There is no cure for viral STDs, but there is treatment for the bacterial variety. Remember all those gross pictures of infected faces that teachers used to show you in health class? It might be time to break out the flavored condoms, or at least be cautious or know your partner before you get dirty with them.

Sex is better when it lasts longer.

I don’t know about you, but sex makes me sleepy. It’s like exercising but better, and it can leave you physically exhausted. The female anatomy is made of soft tissues that should be treated with respect and care. Don’t mistreat it by going longer than you should because you think that’s what’s supposed to happen. Sure, sex can get a little rough and can last for as long as you want it to, but it should NEVER be painful. EVER. You have to listen to your body and know when enough is enough. I researched sex horror stories from having prolonged coitus to write this bullet and am now scarred for life, so trust me when I say: It’s okay if your sex lasts only a handful of minutes. Communicating with your partner to figure out what you both want is what really matters.

The goal is to orgasm.

It doesn’t have to be. Putting a strong emphasis on finishing can actually cause performance anxiety and general unhappiness for both men and women. Setting goals and having expectations that society wants you to have can take away from what a beautiful experience sex can be. Ladies, you don’t have to orgasm from just intercourse and you don’t have to orgasm multiple times. Guys, it’s okay if you ejaculate quickly or if you don’t ejaculate at all. And couples, you don’t always have to climax together. Bodies are wonderful and unique things. Accept your body and know it well, and don’t be so focused on the finish line.

You HAVE TO perform oral sex on your partner/let them do something to you/etc. to make them happy and have a strong relationship.

You NEVER have to do anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s your dream partner asking you to give them something. If you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. A little embarrassment and awkwardness in saying “no” will hurt a lot less than doing something you didn’t want to do in the first place. And if your partner is aggressively pressuring you or threatening you? Get the hell outta there! Trust your gut, and speak up for yourself when something feels wrong. You are strong enough to stand up for yourself.

Kissing causes pregnancy.

Sometime in the history of time, kids invented the sweet, innocent concept of conception by kissing. There was a point in all of our lives when we learned the truth about the birds and the bees, whether it was during a discussion with our parents, in sex ed, or from someone’s older sibling. Just going to public school as a kid, I learned about all kinds of things that were deemed too taboo for kids: swear words, belly shirts, and “boners”.

That’s why it’s important to have open, honest conversations about sex now as young adults. We’re not children anymore. There’s no more looking up “dirty” words in the dictionary to make your friends laugh. Sex involves having an intimate connection with another person. We can’t truly understand the gravity of sex and how it affects our bodies and if we can’t even talk about it, and we can’t appreciate it as a powerful expression of emotion and affection.

So get your facts straight, and enjoy your sex life!

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