Equipped with sweaty palms and wide eyes, most of us have braved health classes featuring the dreaded birth video, awkward giggles and possibly a banana. Some of us paid attention in class. Others had an awkward discussion with their parents.

The vast majority of us though, had our sex education from hushed games of telephone. We whispered knowledge we gleaned from siblings, from the internet, or from the other kids who seemed “in the know”. These conversations came with misconceptions, myths, and mysteries about sex that our innocent minds readily believed. We gathered some of these myths and legends to make it clear - what is real and what’s not. 


"You can't get pregnant the first time/while nursing/on your period/doing it doggie style.”

Many of us would love it if we didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant until we wanted to. To our dismay, anytime sperm makes contact with an egg and fertilizes it, there’s a possibility of a pregnancy.


“You can get STDs from a toilet seat.”

While there might be a tiny chance of this occurring, it’s quite unlikely. Disease-causing organisms generally only live on surfaces for a very short time. For the STD to be transferred, during its short lifespan, the disease would have to travel to a urethral, genital tract, or through an open wound. So ease up on those fears of sitting on a public toilet seat. And if you’re really concerned, a quick disinfectant wipe will solve the problem


“Girls who are tighter have had less sex.”

The vagina is a powerful organ! It quickly recovers elasticity and does not permanently loosen from frequent sex. Same goes for the butt!


“I always thought the hymen had to actually ‘break’ (bleed a lot) and that showed you were a virgin.”

Some people’s hymens bleed a great deal when they break, though this isn’t always the case. Hymens come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Hymens can also break for many reasons, and the presence or lack of a hymen doesn’t reflect someone’s sexual experience.


“There are only birth control options for women.”

“There are only condoms for men.”

Many contraceptive options exist for all sexes including condoms and vasectomies for people with penises. In addition to the birth control pill/vaginal ring/implant/patch and IUD, there are other forms of contraception. The internal condoms exist for both vaginal and anal use.

Hormonal Methods

Oral Contraceptives
— Birth Control Pill

(Intra) Vaginal Ring
— Long term
— Inserted into vagina and releases hormones

Transdermal Patch
— Long term
— Releases synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones

IUD
— Long term
— Device inserted into the vagina, lined with hormones

Intramuscular Injection
— Injects hormones into your bloodstream

Barrier Methods

Condoms
— Available for external (covering the penis) or internal (inserted into vagina/anus)
— One-time use only

Diaphragm
— Cap that fits over the cervix

Cervical Cap
— Similar to a diaphragm but smaller in size
— Paired with spermicide

Copper IUD
— Device inserted into vagina to block sperm, and is toxic to sperm/
— Long-term

Sterilization

Fallopian Tube Implants
— Sperm blocked from the eggs by small metal springs implanted in the fallopian tubes

Tubal Ligation
— Cut/Tie/Seal Fallopian Tubes

Vasectomy
— Cut/Seal Vas Deferens


“A person would always know if they have an STD so it's okay to have sex without a condom because that person would tell you [if they have an STD].”

Though this myth would grant peace of mind, not everyone is aware they’re a carrier because they don’t have the symptoms (up to 70% of people with chlamydia or gonorrhea don’t show any symptoms). It is important to maintain safer sex practices and get tested regularly. For people with vaginas to stay informed of their sexual health, the Eve Kit Service provides a convenient and discreet way to screen from home. 


“I've heard that the more women orgasm, the better their skin looks.”

This is actually possibly true! A University of Michigan study found that orgasming increases the amount of estrogen in women. Estrogen increases skin thickness and improves skin elasticity which makes your skin look younger.


“I thought a blow job is when you actually blew on a guy’s dick.”

You know, sometimes life isn’t so literal.


“When I was a kid I thought you were supposed to pee in a girl to get her pregnant.”

Egg(s) are fertilized by sperm that travels from a penis’ ejaculate.* So not pee, but close?


“There’s an old myth that masturbating will make you go blind.”

It doesn’t. Promise.


“My health teacher said that birth control would cause a lot of problems with your liver and getting heart attacks or strokes.”

Though this is rare, studies have found that birth control, oral contraceptives can contribute to liver damage [Oral contraceptives and liver function], blood clots that lead to heart disease [Heart Disease & Birth Control], and add to the risk of stroke [Migraine and the contraceptive pill].


“I thought women didn’t climax.”

Our bodies’ response to a climax is not all that dependent on the sex of the person. Getting to a climax, however, depends entirely on the individual’s preferences.


Sex and our bodies really shouldn’t be mysteries. The best way to combat these myths is through better education and openly discussing sexual health.  What myths have you heard about sex? Share it with us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Looking for a fresh perspective on sex ed? Toronto native and Eve intern Ayesha writes about her experience with sex ed and how the curriculum changes might affect young people. Read on >> Opinion: Sex-ed is Life Education - Curriculum Changes in Ontario