A couple of weeks back, Katherine and I sat down and planned the rest of the year’s content plan for Zusterschap (after an overdue catchup about our bodily functions and sex lives, of course). When we decided on October’s theme, we had a hilarious and lengthy conversation about ridiculous sex myths that terrified us when we were younger. After much laughing, we then started to realise how harmful some of these myths were and how they almost shaped our thoughts regarding sexuality. We wondered if others out there had come to the same realisation and invited our readers to share myths they heard growing up and why they need to stop.
Growing up, sex was never spoken about in a healthy way because, well, sex was never spoken about. ‘Reproduction’ and ‘anatomy’ were mentioned by a red-faced chemistry teacher. The girls were ushered out into a different room to talk about ‘woman things’ that we boys just ‘didn’t need to know about’ (that’s a rant for another time).
This lack of education about what sex actually was meant that I learned about from porn and classmates. Now in a world dictated by the patriarchy, those aren’t exactly healthy advice-givers. So the message I received was that sex was for the purposes of male pleasure. In, out, in, out, come. Once the man’s done, it’s over. That’s just how sex is, don’t question it.
Sexy, right? I was lucky enough to question this fairly quickly, but it’s easy to see how many wouldn’t. This then leads to unfulfilling sex for women, is it any wonder that it’s a common misconception that women aren’t interested in sex when that’s what’s on offer? (Another myth and rant for another time!). It’s not just women who are missing out, that sort of mechanical sex is unfulfilling for men too.
For me, great sex is exploring each other’s body and mind: finding out what the other person likes, relishing in giving each other pleasure, sharing yourself with your partner. Not just taking your clothes off, but being really naked and exposed with another human. That’s real intimacy and sexy. Now where is that taught in the in/out/come sex education we receive?
Myth 1: When you lose your virginity, there will be blood
When I was a lot younger, and our school’s sex education classes consisted mostly of diagrams on plant reproduction, I thought the first time I had sex I would bleed. A lot. Like Texas Chainsaw Massacre proportions of blood. Our gym teacher, who had been given the job of explaining sex to a room full of hormonal teenagers even though he was unqualified to do so, reiterated that this was the definitive marker for virginity.
It was implied that if there wasn’t blood then you were already sexually active and therefore you deserved to be shamed. Not only is this ridiculous, it’s an unhealthy ideal to instil in young people as it gives the impression that sex is something to be embarrassed about.
Myth 2: The 3rd date is the “right” time to have sex
I’m not sure when this became a “thing”, but somewhere along the line the “third date = sex date” myth came about and panic ensued. Gone were the days when you could go on dates with someone and sleep with them when you felt ready to. Once you’d been on a couple dates, the very mention of a third date elicited nudges and winks from your friends because it was just assumed your night would end with your knickers hanging from the chandelier.
Why is this harmful? In no way should anyone ever feel they are EXPECTED to have sex with someone, whether it is the third date or the 30th. This sort of expectation encourages slut-shaming and no one should be judged on whether they choose to sleep with someone on the first date or not at all. Not to mention the sinister ramifications that if someone agrees to go on that fabled third-date, they are obligated to have sex and perpetrates rape culture.
– Lucy Wang (@mlle_fromage)
Tetris and Cheesecakes
One of the most ridiculous myths I ever heard was that you can’t get pregnant if you have sex in wet environment including swimming pools, showers and baths. I have heard this in many different places from books to conversations with various friends.
In a bid to avoid buying condoms, a friend once said to me that her and her boyfriend would only have sex in the bath. This myth is harmful for two reasons: it’s incredibly unhygienic to have sex in a swimming pool and sex without condoms can also lead to pregnancy or STD’s. Regardless of whether you’re in water or not, you always need to be very careful.
– Kerrie (@lushivity)
One of the common myths
I remember hearing growing up, and still hear even now in adulthood, is the stereotype that women inherently have less interest in sex. We supposedly
have lower sex
drives than men and following on from that, men are “always
up for it”.
In my first serious long-term relationship, this myth really screwed me up for a while. If you’re brought up believing that sex is all men think about, you’re going to think that there’s something wrong with you when your partner says he isn’t up for it. It made me feel dirty for being hornier than a guy, and it made me feel even more anxious about our relationship because I was terrified that he wasn’t actually attracted to me.
Fast forward many years later and it’s clear I had nothing to worry about – we’re still together and have a great sex life. Perpetuating the idea that women like sex less than men and that men are all horny 24/7 is harmful for many, many reasons. Back then, it made me feel even more awkward and ashamed for being a sexually active young woman. It also made my partner feel inadequate for not being DTF all the time like a man ‘should be’. Libidos come in a form of varieties whatever your gender!
I think the worst sex myth
I heard was that you should wait until you’re married! At age 17, I lost my virginity to a boy that I was in love and felt comfortable with. However, this myth stayed with me all the way till university. I was told that I should only have sex with people I love so whenever I slept with guys, I felt really guilty.
Looking back, I know this is a wrong and harmful way to think. I’m now happily married and learning not to regret the fun I had.
– Charlotte (@discoveringcl)
What other myths do we need to stop perpetuating?