Sexual health myths have existed since the beginning of time and we’ve all heard ones that are so ridiculous, it’s hard to believe that anybody could fall for them. However, some of them have been repeated so frequently that become ‘fact’.
In this article we’ll be examining some of most common sexual health myths, disproving them and helping you to keep safe.
"Wearing multiple condoms will reduce the risk"
This was one of the first myths that I heard as a young boy. More is always better, right?
Holes and breaks are the enemy of condoms, after all, they can’t protect you if there is not a complete barrier. By using more than one condom you are going to cause abrasion between the layers of latex, this is more likely to lead to a tear in both layers.
Condoms are designed to be used as a single layer and proper application will lead to around a 98 - 99% safety rate. They will protect against accidental pregnancy and also the large majority of sexually transmitted infections, however, you may still be at risk of herpes, lice and other problems.
Condoms aren’t a fix-all, but they are an extremely effective pre-caution and one that we would recommend all men use, regardless of other pre-cautions you use.
"The pullout method is effective"
The pullout method is a delicate topic. Plenty of men will claim anecdotally that they’ve used it and had no problems, but when compared to birth control or proper condom usage, it’s still much riskier.
Although using this method is better than using nothing at all, we would highly recommend that you opt for using a condom instead. We understand, it’s not the exact same feel, but nothing feels worse than catching something or having an unwanted pregnancy.
Also, the pullout method is only going to marginally protect against pregnancy, it won’t stop any STI’s. Seriously consider trying a premium condom that’s branded as “real feel”, you might be surprised how good they can be. Put your and your partners health first!
"Only gay guys get HIV"
During the AID’s epidemic of the latest century the myth of homosexuality and HIV was perpetuated to the point that some still believe that it’s true.
Of course, science has shown that we are all susceptible to HIV and while certain sexual acts might increase your chance of contraction, heterosexual men can still contract the virus.
The best way that you can protect against HIV is to not have sex, of course, but if you’re sexually active then you should ensure that you use a condom. Condoms are incredibly successful at preventing infection from HIV.
Make sure that you use a condom every time and take a few extra seconds to apply it properly so that you are adequately protected.
"Only dirty people get STD’s"
There’s still a strong stigma against sexually transmitted infections/diseases, but anybody has the potential to contract one.
No matter how well you clean yourself, you can still get infected. The myth that only dirty people can contract these issues is completely bogus and STD/STI’s shouldn’t be a taboo topic. If you have any symptoms, please go to see a doctor or attend a GUM clinic. Don’t be afraid.
"I’ll know if I or the other person has an STD"
Although many STD’s do present themselves with noticeable symptoms, others may not. Chlamydia can often have no symptoms and even those who do experience symptoms may not realize they are from an STD.
Just looking at another persons body isn’t good enough, they might not have visual symptoms and that’s why it’s so important that you use a condom. If you’re entering into a relationship, ensure that you’re both tested.
"You can only catch something from vaginal sex"
This is another extremely popular myth, especially among teenagers who might not have had penetrative intercourse yet. It’s still important that you practice safe sex when you’re perform sexual acts with your hands or mouth.
In fact, herpes could just as likely be passed through oral sex as well as anal or vaginal sex. Similarly, if the person had touched their infected genitals right before touching your penis, there’s still some risk of transfer.
In general, washing your hands, using a condom and getting tested is the best way to prevent against infection. It might not be as sexy, but using a condom specifically designed for oral sex can be a safe addition to your nighttime fun.
I know, it’s not cool and it can be a little awkward sometimes to put a condom on, but it’s worth it for the added safety.
"Once you’ve had an STD you can’t get the same one again"
Another potentially dangerous myth is that you can’t get an STD again if you’ve already had it. The truth is that you can of course contract the same STI/STD again and many people do.
If you know that your partner has something then you should wait for them to complete a full course of treatment and then continue to use condoms for extra protection.
"You can’t get STD’s from sex toys"
One of the most likely reasons for a young person who hasn’t had sexual contact yet to get and STD would be the sharing of sex toys. We’ve all heard the crazy rumor of people getting STD’s from toilet seats and whilst it’s possible, it’s almost entirely unlikely.
Whereas due to the intimate nature of sex toys, it’s not all that unlikely. If you do choose to share a sex toy with somebody, you should ensure that each person uses a fresh condom and that you clean it with an antibacterial wash.
This includes cleaning toys like fleshlights. Most brands include their own cleaning liquid that is safe to use with the materials in their toy and you should ensure that this is used before exchanging toys.
"STD testing is painful and time-consuming"
Finally, it’s important that we disprove the myth that STD testing is painful and time-consuming. Fortunately, a large proportion of infections can be tested for with a simple urine sample and the remainder with a quick and small blood sample.
This means that to get a complete screening might only take 3-5 minutes in the doctors office and only involve two small samples. If you’ve never been screened and are currently sexually active, it’s worth finding out the nearest clinic to your home.
A visit should take less than 30-minutes in its entirety and will give you peace of mind. In general, it’s best to test at least once per year and where possible, between sexual partners.
Tests are painless, easy, NOT embarrassing and ARE a responsible decision for any sexually active person to make.