Unfortunately, when it comes to sex, there is a lot misinformation floating around and it can be so hard to discern what information is and is not reliable. Since most sex education is not giving us the information we need to fully understand sex, sexuality, and our bodies, we here at The Velvet Lily want to offer some important education. So, here are some all-too-common myths about sex and sexuality that are 100% false, along with the real facts:
FALSE: Sex toys replace men.
REALITY: SEX TOYS ARE YOUR ALLY, NOT YOUR ENEMY! While sex toys are a lot of fun for masturbation and should definitely be used for masturbation, they also can enhance your sex life! We constantly have men come into the shop with their partners and express concern that introducing a sex toy into their sex life will inevitably end with the sex toy “replacing” them. This could not be further from the truth! Bringing sex toys into your love life can enhance both you and your partner’s pleasure and overall experience. Using sex toys together can spice up your sex and make things new and exciting...plus it’s nice to have someone using the sex toy on you rather than using it on yourself!
FALSE: A broken hymen means the person is no longer a virgin (for people with vaginas).
REALITY: The absence or presence of an intact hymen is not an indicator of virginity in people with vaginas. The hymen can break easily from a number of things (using a tampon, riding a bike or horse, masturbation, etc.) and, in some cases, someone can be born without an intact hymen. Outside of that, the staff here firmly believe virginity is a social construct--if you want to learn more, google it!
FALSE: Masturbation is bad/bad for you.
REALITY: Masturbation is not bad for you and does not have any negative side effects. Masturbation actually has many benefits, including relieving period cramps, improving self-esteem and body image, helping with insomnia, relieving stress, learning your sexual likes and dislikes, relieving pain like body aches and headaches, and even potentially improving your immune system (according to some preliminary research).
FALSE: You cannot get an STI from oral sex
REALITY: You CAN get an STI from oral sex. You can get an STI in the throat from giving oral sex and you can get an STI on the genitals or anus from receiving oral sex, depending on who is infected and what they are infected with. Risk of contracting an STI during oral sex rises in those with poor oral health (e.g. bleeding gums), open sores in the mouth and/or on the genitals, or the infected partner ejaculating, getting “pre-cum” and “cum” in the mouth.
FALSE: Peeing and/or douching after sex prevents pregnancy
REALITY: Urine travels through a tube that is separate from the vaginal opening and/or the fallopian tubes, meaning peeing after sex does not impact the presence of sperm. Douching (washing out the vagina, typically with a mixture of water and vinegar), is ineffective because it usually either takes place after the sperm have reached the uterus or can push sperm into the uterus faster. Vaginal douching can also increase chances of contracting an STI. However, you should still pee after sex because it flushes out bacteria before it can travel to the bladder, preventing urinary tract infections.
FALSE: You can reuse condoms and using 2 condoms at once offers extra protection
REALITY: The purpose of a condom is to prevent sperm from entering the vagina, mouth or anus, thus preventing STIs and pregnancy (in the case of vaginal sex). Once the condom is used, there is no way to ensure semen has not gotten on the outside of the condom, meaning reusing the condom could introduce semen (and sperm) into the vagina, mouth, or anus. Using two condoms also does not offer extra protection, it offers less protection because the rubber of each condom rubbing against each other could cause the rubber to tear, making both condoms ineffective.
FALSE: Only gay and/or queer men have and enjoy anal sex
REALITY: Anyone can have (and enjoy) anal sex. Anal sex is not “just for gay men” or just for “men to do to women”, if you have a butt, you can have and enjoy anal sex. There are a lot of nerves in the anus and rectum, meaning stimulating them can be pleasurable and add a new dimension to your sex life. Anal sex can be even more pleasurable if you have a prostate because stimulating the prostate is similar to stimulating the g-spot in someone with a vagina.
FALSE: Baby oil and petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline) are good and effective lubricants during sex.
REALITY: You cannot use baby oil and petroleum jelly with condoms and they are not recommended as a lubricant, in general. Baby oil and Vaseline will break down condoms making them more likely to break during sex. Additionally, they do not wash away easily so they will stay in the vagina or anus for a few days after sex, attracting bacteria and an increase in the likelihood of infection.
FALSE: Vaginas stretch out and get loose from having a lot of sex.
REALITY: Vaginas are elastic, meaning they stretch to accommodate whatever is coming in or out (e.g. a penis, fingers, or a baby). The vagina is designed to retain its shape even after being stretched out. While the muscles can weaken with age and childbirth, having sex does not “stretch out” or “loosen” a vagina, no matter how many times you have sex. Plus, kegel exercises are a way to tighten the pelvic floor muscles in the case of aging or childbirth. Additionally, having sex with multiple people (over your lifetime or at once) does NOT make you “dirty”, “tainted”, or “worn out” and does not affect your ability to have a healthy and fulfilling sexual and/or romantic relationship.
FALSE: Your testicles will be damaged if you go without sex or get turned on and do not have sex.
REALITY: Sexual arousal that does not result in orgasm is often called “blue balls” for those who have penises. Contrary to the popular myth, having “blue balls” does not damage the testicles and only causes mild discomfort. Additionally, masturbation (as opposed to sex) can relieve blue balls. The lack of someone with a penis (or someone with a vagina, for that matter) having sex does not cause any sort of damage to the health or genitals of the person.
FALSE: You cannot get an STI if both you and your partner have a vagina.
REALITY: Although the probability of contracting an STI when both partners have vaginas is lower than other sexual situations, it is still possible. STIs can be contracted through fingering, especially if there are cuts or sores on the fingers, oral sex, and use of sex toys. Dental dams, condoms, and latex gloves are all good ways to protect against STIs when fingering, having oral sex, or while using sex toys.
These are just a few of the MANY myths floating around about sex and sexuality! So when you hear something from friends, family, or on TV, do your own research and make sure you are using reputable sources. Plus, you can always come down to The Velvet Lily and talk directly to our staff! We’re all passionate about sex education and would love to spend some time chatting with you and answering your questions!
If you’re interested in purchasing a toy you can also check out our website here.