These are the top 5 biggest sex myths—and they’re about to get debunked

From STIs to the pull-out method

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Cavan Images)

Sex is always evolving, there are new sex trends every year not to mention endless new and wild positions—you can now even find sex positions based on your zodiac sign. While we’re starting to see more open conversations about sex, masturbation, and pleasure, there are still some alarming sex myths floating around out there.

Sex can be just as important as self-care, whether it’s masturbating, avoiding bad sex, or reaping the benefits of morning sex—and while it can be very fun, solo or with a partner, it does come with risks. Especially if you believe these five sex myths…

A study by Lovehoney has found that Brits (in particular) frequently fall for five, common misconceptions about sex. For many, inadequate sex education can be blamed for this, but it’s important to understand and know what is true and false. Especially when it comes to medical issues or sexually transmitted diseases, and so on. So let's dive right in!

1. 'Erectile dysfunction is normal as you get older'

While it is a common issue for those with penises, it isn’t the norm when you get old. Sex consultant, Ness Cooper says: “Almost 70% of those with penises will experience erectile dysfunction by the time they are 70. However, we shouldn’t classify it as normal, as there are many reasons it can affect an individual and these can vary from person to person.

Cooper says if you find you’re experiencing it, whatever your age you should seek medical help and adds: “Once the cause of erectile dysfunction is found whether that is psychological, physical, or a mixture of both, there are many treatment methods to help manage symptoms. 

2. 'Sex shouldn’t be painful if you’re attracted to your partner'

Another doozy, with one in four of those surveyed believing this. First of all, pain during sex can be down to a number of medical reasons. Even things like vaginal dryness, which is completely normal and can strike at any time during your monthly cycle, can lead to discomfort.

Ness says attraction has nothing to do with whether someone experiences pain during sex, she explains: “Being attracted to your partner doesn’t stop sex from being painful if you’re experiencing pain during penetration.

“If you are attracted to your partner it can mean you become aroused easier when thinking or being with them, and this can lead to producing more vaginal lubrication naturally, but may not solve intercourse-related pain. There are many reasons someone may experience pain during penetration but whether or not you’re attracted to someone isn’t one of them.”

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Ashley Armitage / Refinery29 for Getty Images)

3. 'You can tell if you have an STI'

An alarming 21% said they believe you can always tell if you have an STI. This is a seriously dangerous myth as STIs are notorious for running unnoticed and then being sexually transmitted to others. 

Cooper explains: “Sometimes STIs can go unnoticed due to the incubation time before they really become active in the body. Even when an STI is active and showing up on test results, there aren't always symptoms. This is why it’s important to get tested regularly as we can’t always tell if we have contracted one”

4. 'You can get an STI from a toilet seat'

We’ve all heard this rumor, and it is 100% NOT true. 

“STIs don’t spread on toilet seats, and ones that spread through contact of bodily fluids don’t survive outside of the body long enough to be transmittable through sitting on them on a toilet seat," Cooper explains.

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Ashley Armitage / Refinery29 for Getty Images)

5. 'Pulling out is an effective form of contraception'

The pull-out method can be very tempting among those of us who struggle with hormonal contraceptives and dislike the feel of condoms—but it is not a reliable method of contraceptive. Even if your partner ‘pulls out’ in time before ejaculation, pre-cum can still contain sperm.

Cooper says: “Whilst precum often only contains trace amounts of active sperm there is a possibility someone could get pregnant from penetration that has pre-ejaculation. This means that the pull-out method isn’t always reliable.”

Relying on the pull-out method without using condoms can also put you at risk of STIs and STDs.

Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is a trainee News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on fashion, wellbeing, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life and is training for an NCTJ Qualification. 

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.