As a sexual health professional, the spread of misinformation and myths on the internet around sex and sexuality is alarming. So I’ve decided to create a shortlist to debunk them for you.
Here we go….
“An orgasm can burn 100 calories.” Don’t we all wish! In actuality, one hour of sexual activity burns about 150 calories.
“When men have intercourse for the first time, the foreskin falls off.” I sincerely hope this was a joke, but in case anyone out there believes this (because sex education in America is not the most comprehensive), I need everyone to know that this is false. Foreskin is the roll of skin that covers the head of the penis when the penis is flaccid. This is also the part that gets cut off during a circumcision. When the penis becomes erect, the foreskin slides back, which can thus give the illusion of disappearing. However, the skin does not spontaneously fall off the first time a penis owner has penetrative sex, and if it does, please see a doctor.
“Stages of a Vagina…”
- Before sex: closed
- After her first boyfriend: opened
- After one semester in a hostel: loose
- During her Slaying stage: gaping hole”
In my opinion, this is one of the more harmful misogynistic myths on the internet. The vaginal canal is a muscle that does not permanently stretch from having accommodated a penis or toy. The vagina is incredibly resilient and bounces back quickly.
“Oral sex may help prevent miscarriages. The more “familiar” a woman is with her partner’s semen, the more likely her uterus is to accept it.”
I assume this is based on a study conducted by Meuleman and colleagues in 2019, who hypothesized that oral exposure to seminal plasma will modify the maternal immune system, resulting in more live births. This study suggests a possible protective role of oral sex in the occurrence of recurrent miscarriages, where recurrent miscarriage is defined as three or more consecutive pregnancy losses prior to the 20th week of gestation. Their results suggest an association between less oral sex and the occurrence of recurrent miscarriage; however, none of the comparative data between women who have experienced miscarriages and women who had uneventful pregnancies was significant. Therefore, we cannot say definitively that oral sex prevents miscarriages. However, if there are any future researchers out there, this may be a very interesting line of study.
While some of these myths are silly, others can cause and perpetuate harm. This is a gentle reminder to please not believe everything you see on the internet. If you are struggling with guilt, shame, or confusion related to these or any sexual misinformation, we are here to help you through that and come to a place of self-love, compassion, and acceptance.