There are a lot of myths around about sex. Here are the truths about some common misconceptions regarding sexual health.
Myth: You can’t get pregnant during your period
This is false: No matter what your cycle length, you can get pregnant during your period. Sperm can live for up to seven days, so if you ovulate (release an egg) the week after your period, you can get pregnant. It is not safe to have sex during your period unless you are using some form of contraception.
Myth: You can get pregnant by having oral sex
This is false: Even if you swallow semen (sperm), you still cannot get pregnant from oral sex.
Myth: You cannot catch an STI by having oral sex
This is false. You are just as likely to catch an STI by having unprotected oral sex, as you are by having unprotected anal or vaginal sex.
Myth: You can’t get pregnant if a man withdraws before he comes.
This is false: This is absolutely not true. Before a man ejaculates, he releases fluid from his penis. This fluid contains sperm and can very easily result in pregnancy.
Myth: You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex.
This is false: Sperm can fertilise an egg anytime, whether it is your first time or whether you have lots of sex and lots of sexual partners.
Myth: There are certain sexual positions that will protect you from pregnancy.
This is false: Again, all it takes is one egg and one sperm to make you pregnant. It doesn’t matter whether you have sex standing up, sitting down or lying down. It also doesn’t matter if you have sex in the shower or wash straight afterwards. The reality is that you can pregnant anywhere, any time and in any position.
Myth: A man’s testicles will be damaged if he doesn’t have sex when he is turned on or if he hasn’t had sex in a long time.
This is false: A man will not be harmed in any physical way if he doesn’t have sex.
Myth: Condoms can be washed out and re-used.
This is false: Condoms are only effective if they are used once. The friction (movement) of sex weakens the condom and so it will break if you re-use it. If you are strapped for cash and are over the age of consent, you may be able to get cheap or free condoms at places like the Red Ribbon Project Dublin Aids Alliance or a STI clinic, or your student’s union.
Myth: You will always have symptoms if you have an STI.
This is false: Not all STIs present with symptoms. Many STIs have no symptoms or are symptom free until the STI has caused significant health issues. Therefore, it is vital that you always practice safe sex and that you get regular check-ups. Check out our guide to getting tested here.
Myth: You can use plastic bags or cling film instead of condoms.
This is false: Never ever, use something like a plastic bag or cling film instead of a condom. Only condoms protect you from STIs and pregnancy. They are specially designed to catch the sperm and keep you safe from infection.
Myth: Women can’t get STIs from sex with another woman.
This is false: You can catch a variety of STIs from woman to woman sex. Many people are not aware of this. It is vital to always protect yourself, no matter whether you are having sex with a man or a woman. For oral sex that is performed on a vagina or anus, you can use a dental dam to protect against STIs.
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you’re over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.
*This article was posted on SPUNOUT.ie and transcribed here for informational and educational purposes.