No one wants to admit that they’re doing it wrong. You know what I’m talking about: sex. By the time we reach our teens, we want to think we know everything about it.
But well into adulthood a lot of us are still clueless, running around with all kinds of silly ideas in our heads about how sex works. Then we carry that misinformation into a marriage, and no wonder there are so many sexless or sexually-blah relationships out there.
Two doctors are out to dispel as many myths as they possibly can through a new book: Don’t Put That in There! And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked by Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman. Even if you’re sure you know everything about sex you may be surprised… or at least curious. Come on, admit it. Here are 9 myths about sex that could be ruining your marriage — or at least dampening things in the bedroom. See how many of these you already knew.
1. You can’t get pregnant during your period. It’s a lot less likely that you’ll get pregnant when you’re menstruating, but it’s still possible. A woman’s egg and a man’s sperm can live for several days in the cozy environment of the womb.
2. Sex can give you a heart attack. We’ve all heard the stories of the older guy who just got way too excited during lovemaking. But Carroll and Vreeman looked at the research, and unless you smoke or have diabetes there’s a one in a million chance that you’ll have a heart attack during sex. If anything, it’s good for your cardiovascular health. One study showed that men who have sex twice a week or more have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
3. Married people don’t play with themselves. Supposedly if you’re married you don’t have to masturbate because of all the sex you’re having, right? Wrong! People who live with a sexual partner actually masturbate more than singles. But it’s not because their sex lives are dead. Folks who are married also have more sex and better sex.
“The myth that married people don’t play with themselves is just plain wrong!” says sexy lifestyle expert Dana B. Myers. “For busy moms, its so important to give yourself some ‘pleasure-play time’ for stress relief, to ground yourself, and to keep learning about what you like. It helps you tap into your unique power as a woman. While its often great, and fun, to involve another person, crafting out time for a weekly, or even daily, a solo session is one of the greatest ways we can instantly bring ourselves into a state of calm, centered authenticity and reclaim our own happiness.”
4. There’s a 10-year difference in sexual peaks. Supposedly men hit their peak in the early 20s while women hit it in middle age — but the truth is, men and women experiences peaks and valleys throughout our lives. “Sexual desire constantly fluctuates, and is related to many, many more factors than age,” Carroll and Vreeman say.
5. It’s only a matter of time before a man cheats. First of all, cheating is not inevitable. Secondly, age is hardly a factor. People (men and women) are more likely to cheat when they’re unhappy in their relationships and/or when they’re sexually incompatible.
6. Sex with your socks on is lame. It’s supposed to be a big turn-off. But in one bizarre study, couples who wore socks while having sex were more likely to have an orgasm than people who went sockless. Bottom line: “The best sex may happen when you are comfortable,” as Carroll and Vreeman put it. If having warm feet makes you more comfortable, go ahead and keep those socks on.
7. Men doing laundry turns on wives. Sharing the household chores equally is GREAT for a marriage, make no mistake. The studies on this have been mixed, but it actually looks like the reverse may be true (sorry, my fellow women!). One interesting study showed that the more “core housework” (cooking, cleaning, doing laundry) a man did, the less frequently he had sex. On the other hand, the more “manly” chores he did (car repairs, lawn work, paying bills) the more sex he had. So it could be the kind of housework a guy does that makes the difference.
8. Women don’t really want sex. People have been saying this for years — that men’s sex drives are stronger than women’s. Well, the most current research proves that’s just plain wrong. It’s just that women often want sex in different ways — and we’ve been culturally biased against seeing women as sexual beings. “When it comes to biology,” Carroll and Vreeman write, “there is plenty of research to suggest that women are also hardwired to have a strong sex drive in and of itself.”
9. Big feet and hands means a big … Nope. While the same genes seem to be involved in genital, finger, and toe growth, “there is no good evidence that men with big feet have bigger penises.” You really can’t tell just by looking at his hands.
What’s a sexual myth you wish people would stop passing on?