Published April 07, 2008
They come up time and time again, those seemingly “credible” newsy bits about sex that consumer magazines love to regurgitate. Many have been around for so long that they’ve become the standard “truth” by which we view the sexes and sexual response.
But they’re simply not the facts.
The cost to you: misinformation and missed moments for sexual fulfillment. So make sure you’re not being duped with the following falsehoods about our bodies and their sexual pleasure potential ...
1. A female is not a virgin if she does not have a hymen.
The thin tissue that spans at least part of the vaginal opening known as the hymen is a big deal. Societies around the world still believe that an intact hymen is proof of a woman's virginity. In these cultures, “chaste” women are the ones who can be married off. Sadly, what they don’t know is that some girls and women can stretch or break their hymens through a variety of activities, like sports or tampon use. Furthermore, many hymens are merely stretched – not torn – during first-time intercourse. Therefore, a hymen, and particularly the lack thereof, cannot and should not be used as an indicator of a woman's sexual history.
2. Men are more visually stimulated than women.
Even some sexologists get this one wrong all the time. While we have been taught that men are more visual than women when it comes to arousal, a study in the journal Brain Research indicates otherwise. Researchers out of Washington University measured the brainwave activity of 264 women viewing a variety of color slides of erotic and non-erotic images. Naturally, the brainwave activity became markedly different with the erotic slides. But what threw off researchers is that the female participants responded as strongly as men do to such imagery.
3. Only women can have multiple orgasms.
Females are not alone in their ability to reach bliss time and time again. Men too can experience several non-ejaculatory orgasms in a row during a single sex session. This happens when: (A) A man has been strengthening his pelvic floor muscles for greater control in postponing his ultimate pleasure; and (B) He has learned to back off from that moment of his sexual response cycle known as the “point of ejaculatory inevitability.” It is when a man can postpone his response that he’s likely to have an even greater orgasmic applause.
4. Being uncircumcised is unhygienic.
For decades, parents in the U.S. have been circumcising their infant sons in the name of “cleanliness.” Only recently have parents started to second-guess the idea that having a foreskin is unhygienic. As research has shown, as long as the foreskin is retracted during bathing, uncircumcised males are no more likely than circumcised males to develop problems like inflammation, phimosis (a condition where the foreskin cannot be fully retracted from the head of the penis), or adhesions.
5. A woman must be in love to climax.
Sorry, but orgasm has little to do with love, or experience for that matter. Research out of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque has found that a woman’s romantic attachment does not increase how often she orgasms. Instead, it discovered that a woman’s capacity to reach climax is partly due to her subconscious evaluation of her lover’s genetic merits. Men deemed more symmetrical, that is men whose bodies and features have the appearance of "evenness" and right-left balance, correlated with a high frequency of female orgasm, thus increasing the likelihood that she would conceive. (It should be noted that this refers only to orgasm through copulation.)
6. Men do not have sensitive nipples.
Lots of men have nipples that are sensitive, if not very sensitive. While society tends to regard this erogenous zone as one for a lady’s pleasuring, some men’s nipples are more sensitive than a woman’s. Likewise, not all women have sensitive nipples.
7. A woman must have an orgasm in order to conceive.
As many women can attest, females don’t need to climax in order to get pregnant. British biologists Robin Baker and Mark Bellis have found, however, that when a woman has an orgasm from one minute before to 45 minutes after her lover emits semen, she retains a much greater amount of sperm than she does after non-orgasmic sex. The investigators also confirmed the ‘upsuck hypothesis.’ This “uterine suction” of sorts is where the muscular contractions associated with orgasm pull the sperm from her vaginal canal to the cervix, making it much easier to reach her egg for fertilization.
8. Men’s members need to be handled with care.
Just about any bloke will tell you that while his valuables are just that – valuable – he can handle a bit of manhandling. The key to figuring out just how much he can take, and where, is that matter of communication. Lovers need to talk about what grips, touches, and tugs feel good, especially since every guy is unique.
In-the-Know Sex News:
— L.A. VA offering free oral rapid HIV tests. The Veterans Affairs’ of the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is giving veterans no-cost tests as part of its campaign to encourage testing and treatment. Veterans are slightly more likely than the general population to contract the virus. About half of those newly diagnosed only learn about their status after they find themselves in need of medical treatment for HIV.
— Florida teens gravely misinformed about sex. Florida lawmakers are looking to overhaul their state’s sex education after learning that Florida teens believe that drinking a cap of bleach prevents HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew prevents pregnancy. The state, which is currently implementing abstinence-only sex education, has the sixth-highest teen pregnancy rate in the country.
— Circumcision down in U.S. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, while 85 percent of boys in the U.S. were circumcised in 1965, 56 percent were snipped in 2005. Worldwide, however, about 25 percent of males are circumcised. Experts hold that factors for the U.S. decline include less insurance coverage for such and a lack of compelling data as to whether or not circumcision offers medical benefits. Its use in possibly reducing the risk of HIV infection is currently under great debate.