10 Myths of Sexuality According to Science

Most of these myths stem from common taboos or insecurities. Fortunately, science has denied them.
10 Myths of Sexuality According to Science

Last update: 10 April, 2021

Throughout our lives, especially when we reach the age when we begin to discover sex, we’re exposed to different myths about sexuality that can affect the way we relate to our partners. Some of these practices have become rather stereotypical, but science has a lot to say about them.

Most of these myths affect men and make them doubt their performance if they don’t meet a supposed series of requirements. For women, many of these beliefs have robbed them of true pleasure.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that up until a few years ago it was believed that the only role of women was to have children. Sex for mere pleasure just didn’t sit right as far as people were concerned.

The 10 myths of sexuality according to science

These days, beliefs aren’t quite as extreme, but myths and erroneous beliefs continue to appear that can affect personal and couple perceptions regarding sex.

Because of that, and based on scientific evidence, we’re going to reveal the reality behind those beliefs.

1. Men only think about sex

What we often hear is that men are always thinking about sex non-stop. Of course, this varies from person to person, but the truth is that both men and women spend only a small proportion of their time thinking about sex… other things are important too!

One study sampled 283 college students who recorded their thoughts related to food, sleep, and sex over the course of a week. The study showed that men, even though they thought more about sex than women, also spend much of their time thinking about food and sleep.

2. Women don’t like porn

There’s a false belief that women don’t like watching pornography. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health analyzed the effects of pornography on sexual response during masturbation and sex in a group of women.

The use of this content during masturbation has been shown to decrease difficulties in achieving arousal and orgasm.

Among the most important myths of sexuality is the viewing of pornography by women.
This practice can also be carried out as a couple to improve the experience during relationships.

3. Size does matter

For a long time, and throughout many different generations, the rumor has spread that the larger the penis, the greater the pleasure. However, this isn’t entirely true. Let’s start by defining what would be the definition of a small penis.

A study determined that a small penis, a candidate for possible “lengthening”, is one that measures 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) flaccid or 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) erect. The fact that a man’s member is small doesn’t mean that they’re going to find it difficult to give pleasure to a woman.

In fact, other research pointed out that women are often satisfied with their partner’s member size. Out of all the women surveyed, only 20% indicated that length is an important factor, and just 1% that it’s very important. 55% of the women said that it wasn’t important, and 22% believed that it was irrelevant.

4. It’s wrong to masturbate

Who hasn’t heard people say at some point in their life that masturbating is bad? Many people have probably even believed it.

The truth here is that in the case of women, a study concluded that those who masturbate have a greater number of orgasms and more sexual desire, as well as better levels of self-esteem and marital satisfaction. In addition to this, they require less time to get aroused during their sexual encounters.

As for men, a study involving 11 volunteers proved that sexual arousal and masturbation-induced orgasm improve the functioning of the immune system. Other research, conducted in 2016, noted that frequent ejaculation may lower the risk of prostate cancer.

5. Condoms decreases sensitivity

Some men, even these days, refuse to use a condom because they believe that this method of protection decreases sensitivity during sexual intercourse.

However, a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in which 500 young men between the ages of 18 and 24 were surveyed, noted that 38% have no erection problems when using a condom.

According to the research, the 32% who said they had problems with the use of a condom, may have difficulties due to a possible basic erectile dysfunction, which may be of psychological or physiological origin, but which, in any case, would not be related to the use of this method.

6. Swallowing semen is harmful

Oral sex is one of the most common practices among couples, although swallowing semen has long been a taboo subject. In fact, it has been said that it’s harmful to health to consume this body fluid.

Although there’s still much to investigate, some studies have suggested that in this substance there’s a protein that affects the areas of the female brain that regulate ovulation. This means that when you swallow semen, a signal is sent to the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which can induce the release of the ovum.

Among other effects, it could also cause an antidepressant action and a notable improvement in the appearance of hair and nails.

The truth is that this is a practice that remains firmly in the hands of couples who trust each other completely, as it can’t be denied that microorganisms can be transmitted through this liquid. These include HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HPV (human papillomavirus), hepatitis B and C virus, herpes, and chlamydia.

One of the main myths of sexuality is about the benefits of oral sex.
In couples with good levels of trust, the practice of oral sex can be very pleasant and safe.

7. Vasectomy causes impotence

Vasectomy is a planning method in which the seminal ducts, that is, those that carry sperm, are cut and closed. It’s one of the myths of sexuality that this surgery causes impotence, which is why many men refuse to have it done.

The Mayo Clinic mentions in an article some of the risks that can occur when undergoing this surgery. However, it emphasizes that there are no effects on sexual performance or the man’s perception of masculinity. In fact, it highlights that some men have reported greater sexual satisfaction.

In addition, it unveils other myths related to the alleged involvement of the sexual organs. It indicates that neither the testicles, the penis or other parts suffer damage that could prevent an adequate sexual performance.

8. Sex toys are for the unsatisfied

Some couples may have difficulties at the thought of using sex toys, such as vibrators. This is due to the myth that these types of items are for the exclusive use of women who are dissatisfied with their partners, which is not true.

A study carried out in the United States pointed out that, in fact, women and men have positive beliefs about the use of vibrators. Women indicated that this tool helps them to become aroused, lubricate and reach orgasm more easily, reducing pain in certain practices.

9. During pregnancy you can’t have sex

Studies have found that a large number of couples abstain from sex for fear of harming the baby or to avoid miscarriage. People think that women should rest and avoid exertion, but this is also a myth.

Having sex while pregnant has been found to be very enjoyable. This is due to the fact that women experience an increase in lubrication and sensitivity, as there is a greater vascularization of the genital areas.

The Mayo Clinic points out that, at this stage, sex can be practiced comfortably, as long as there are no diagnoses that prevent it.

10. The elderly don’t have sex

It’s common to hear many young people say that you have to take advantage of your youth to have plenty of sex, because later on in life it’ll be impossible. Studies have indicated that, while it’s clear that old age brings physiological changes, this doesn’t imply that they’ll have to stop having sex. This has dispelled another of our myths of sexuality.

The elderly can learn to enjoy their physical changes and adapt to their new realities. In this way, they can continue to enjoy sex in a way that doesn’t necessarily need to involve penetration.

Being aware of the limitations (and possibilities) regarding sex is vital in order to avoid frustrations as the years go by.

Don’t let yourself be affected by the myths of sexuality

In addition to the myths that we have mentioned today, there are many other myths about sexuality that science has been unveiling. In this way, more and more people can live out their sexuality without the taboos and prejudices that can negatively affecting their sexual experiences.

  • Fisher TD, Moore ZT, Pittenger MJ. Sex on the brain?: an examination of frequency of sexual cognitions as a function of gender, erotophilia, and social desirability. J Sex Res. 2012;49(1):69-77. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.565429. Epub 2011 May 24. PMID: 21512948.
  • McNabney SM, Hevesi K, Rowland DL. Effects of Pornography Use and Demographic Parameters on Sexual Response during Masturbation and Partnered Sex in Women. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(9):3130. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093130
  • Wessells H, Lue TF, McAninch JW. Penile length in the flaccid and erect states: guidelines for penile augmentation. J Urol. 1996 Sep;156(3):995-7. PMID: 8709382.
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  • Rider JR, Wilson KM, Sinnott JA, Kelly RS, Mucci LA, Giovannucci EL. Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up. Eur Urol. 2016 Dec;70(6):974-982. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2016.03.027. Epub 2016 Mar 28. PMID: 27033442; PMCID: PMC5040619.
  • Herbenick D, Reece M, Schick V, Jozkowski KN, Middelstadt SE, Sanders SA, Dodge BS, Ghassemi A, Fortenberry JD. Beliefs about women’s vibrator use: results from a nationally representative probability survey in the United States. J Sex Marital Ther. 2011;37(5):329-45. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2011.606745. PMID: 21961442.
  • Sapién, José S, & Córdoba, Diana I. (2011). Comportamiento Sexual de Varones Durante el Embarazo: Casos en la Ciudad de México. Terapia psicológica, 29(2), 185-190. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-48082011000200005
  • Herrera P., Adela. (2003). SEXUALIDAD EN LA VEJEZ: ¿MITO O REALIDAD?. Revista chilena de obstetricia y ginecología, 68(2), 150-162. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-75262003000200011
  • Marcelo H. Ratto, Yvonne A. Leduc, Ximena P. Valderrama, Karin E. van Straaten, Louis T. J. Delbaere, Roger A. Pierson, and Gregg P. Adams. The nerve of ovulation-inducing factor in semen. PNAS first published August 20, 2012; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1206273109

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