What’s something that nearly everyone does but hardly anyone discusses honestly and openly? The answer: sex.
Sexual health and intimacy are a part of most adults’ lives. Yet the information people hear and share about sex can often be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or just downright wrong.
Here are five common myths you may have heard about sex and sexual health.
Myth #1: Women Want Less Sex
Many assume that women want sex less often than men. But this is more of a gendered stereotype than a fact.
There are numerous factors that can influence when and how often someone wants sex. But according to research, gender itself isn’t a strong indicator of someone’s interest in sex. In fact, male sex drive and female sex drive aren’t that different.
Instead, other factors like hormones, self-esteem and body image, and gender norms can influence how men and women may act in the bedroom.
And the more that people believe this myth, the less likely some women will feel motivated to explore their sexual health and desire. After all, they’re expected not to.
Myth #2: Sex Peaks When You’re Young
You may believe that you must be in optimal health to have a good sex life. And because of that, you may also assume that the quality of sex deteriorates as we age.
There are some health conditions and hormonal changes that may affect sexual health later in life.
But for most, this just means that sexual needs change—not that they necessarily disappear. It might take a bit more time to become aroused, for example, but the quality of arousal doesn’t have to suffer.
And by many accounts, sexual health may actually improve as adults age.
What makes sexuality enjoyable evolves over time. Older adults can enjoy more self-confidence, fewer distractions, and more quality time together as a couple, which can lead to a better sex life.
So remember, sexual health can be an important part of life at any age.
Myth #3: Sex Toys Are Only for Women
This myth goes along with another common myth about sex toys: women may become sexually burned out if they use toys too often.
Sex toys are often associated with women’s intimacy. But there are toys and accessories for couples, men, transgender people, and non-binary people too.
Still, this myth prevents many from ever exploring toys in the bedroom. And it may also stigmatize the women who use them.
The truth is that sex toys don’t indicate any issues with sexual health.
Women who use the same toy often may notice that they do orgasm more quickly with a toy than without. But this is just a reason to switch things up and try something new.
And there’s also nothing wrong with using toys as a couple. There are several options on the market that are designed specifically for two people to enjoy, including men.
Myth #4: Foreplay Happens in the Bedroom
It is true that foreplay can happen in the bedroom. But this underestimates all the other forms of foreplay available to couples.
Foreplay is a key part of intimacy, but it isn’t always sexual. It’s mental too.
Foreplay helps couples get in the mood before sex. So before the touching, kissing, and cuddling, imagine what can actually help to create that mood.
For example, enjoying a dinner date together can be one form of foreplay, especially if you’re flirting and holding hands during your meal.
Offering a compliment or showing appreciation can also count as foreplay.
Or giving each other a relaxing massage with these sexual wellness products can help couples get warmed up way before hitting the sheets.
Foreplay should help couples get connected, both mentally and physically. And there are plenty of opportunities to do this that don’t involve being in bed.
Myth #5: If You Have a Low Sex Drive, You Don’t Like Sex
This myth may sound confusing. After all, if someone doesn’t feel driven to have sex, doesn’t that mean they don’t really like it?
This may sound intuitive, but it’s an oversimplification of what sex drive really is.
Sex drive is the urge someone has to have sex or pursue sexual satisfaction. And for many people, they don’t have a strong sex drive. Still, they like and enjoy sex, just like people with high sex drives.
One common reason for this is that sex drive can be reactive. This means that an interest in sex doesn’t happen spontaneously. Instead, it only occurs when someone is already in a sexual situation.
Then, after being exposed to sexual stimulation, sex drive spikes, even if it was nearly nonexistent just moments earlier.
This type of response is very common for women and may be one reason people believe the first myth on this list. But men, too, can have a reactive desire.
If you or a partner seems uninterested in sex, try different types of foreplay and stimulation (consensually, of course), and see if an interest in sex builds.
Stop Believing These Sexual Health Myths
Because sex and sexual health aren’t often talked about openly, myths and misunderstandings are common.
But believing these myths may prevent people and couples from enjoying their sex lives to the fullest.
Remember, sexual health and intimacy aren’t limited to a certain gender, age, or type of person. And the more you understand about sexual health, the more you can understand your own experiences in the bedroom.
Are you ready for more facts about sexual health and wellness? Read our other health and lifestyle articles for more information!