PostHeaderIcon Sexual Health Myths

The most common myths that can affect sexual health

It is easy to know if I have a sexually transmitted infection

Whilst there are many gruesome pictures online of what can happen if an STI is left untreated, they do not represent the early signs of having a sexually transmitted infection. In fact, chlamydia and HIV, which are globally two of the most commonly known sexually transmitted infections, are so widespread because symptoms can be dormant for a long period of time.

I have only had sex with my partner so I have nothing to worry about

Unless you know that your partner does not have an STI and is faithful, this is not true. The best way to be certain that you do not have an STI is for both of you to get tested and to use condoms.

Using condoms and contraceptive pills is not the only way to avoid pregnancy

Many girls report that they do not think they will become pregnant if they don’t have sex that often, if they have sex during their period or if their boyfriend doesn’t ejaculate inside their vagina. However, it is possible to get pregnant the first time you have sex.

It is important to be aware that sperm can live for up to six days after ejaculation. This means that it is possible to become pregnant after having sex during a menstruation if a menstrual cycle is short and you have sex towards the end of you period. This is because short menstrual cycles are marked by early ovulation periods. Similarly, men tend to have mini ejaculations during intercourse, which means that even if a man has an ejaculation outside of a woman’s vagina there may still be some sperm left in the woman’s vagina as a result of the penetration leading up to the final ejaculation.

Oral sex and anal sex is not really sex

Defining sex as pure vaginal penetration is constrictive and naïve. There is no formula for what should constitute a complete sexual act and a sexual act can consists of touching, teasing and stroking. A sexual act can reflect intimacy as well as submission and dominance. Millions of couples, whether homosexual or straight are having oral and anal sex and there is nothing wrong with that if it is done correctly and both parties are mindful of the risks associated with it.

You should not have a pap smear if you are a virgin

A pap smear will not lead to a girl losing her virginity. A pap smear is an important clinical test used to see whether a woman has cervical cancer. Ignoring to do it means it can get detected later.

Everyone is having sex by the time they are 16

Studies across countries have consistently shown that only about one third of the students between the age of 13 and 18 are sexually active. Similarly, the age of a person losing their virginity differs between countries with some countries having the age at 16 (Sweden) and other countries having the average age of sexual debut at 21 (Cambodia). Having sex is a personal and intimate choice. It should never be forced on you by physical or social pressure.

Masturbation is harmful and only losers do it

Masturbation is a healthy way to explore your body and to understand how it works and what you like. Everyone has masturbated at some point and most people masturbate regularly throughout their life. Masturbation is a private and intimate act. It is something you should choose to do or not to do. 

There is a really good NHS tool on this website where you can take a test to find out if the myths around STIs are true or false. Why not take the test to see how well you do/