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11 Sex Myths You Really Should Know

1. Myth: Everyone’s doing it.Truth: Less than half of high school students have had sex, according to studies.

It might seem like everyone’s doing it, but the numbers show that only 42 percent of high school girls are having sex and only 43 percent of teenage boys—a very slight difference. In fact, one study found that 68 percent of teenage boys said they could be happy in a relationship without sex. So, the false impression that everyone’s having sex and that it’s the “normal” thing shouldn’t play a part in your desire or decision to do it.


2. Myth: You can’t get pregnant if you’re on your period.Truth: You can still get pregnant from sex while menstruating. “Timing” your cycle is not a reliable form of birth control.

This all has to do with a woman’s ovulation schedule, or when an egg is released from the ovaries. Since most women begin ovulating between days 11 and 21, where day one is the first day of your period, you’re unlikely to become pregnant when menstruating. But not all women follow a regular cycle, and it’s possible for those with irregular or short cycles to still be ovulating during their period. Also keep in mind that sperm can live inside the vagina for five to seven days after intercourse, so pregnancy is still possible if ovulation begins in the first week of the cycle. Keep in mind that mid-cycle spotting can sometimes be mistaken for menstruation—don’t get the two confused!


3. Myth: You can get herpes from someone infected with the virus, even if he/she has no open sores.Truth: You can only get herpes when the infected person is experiencing an outbreak—but not all outbreaks have visible sores or symptoms.


Herpes, which can lay dormant for long periods of time, can only be transferred through skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected and experiencing an outbreak. Typically, herpes outbreaks are marked by sores or blisters, but some outbreaks have no visible symptoms. In that case, even though no open sores can be seen, you can still be infected by herpes.


Cold sores around the mouth area are also considered herpes outbreaks. Cold sores are mouth-to-mouth transferable, but herpes also can be transferred via oral sex. If you have a cold sore outbreak around your mouth and give your partner oral sex, your partner can get genital herpes. The opposite also applies—if you have genital herpes, you can give your partner cold sores.

 Woman with cold sores, with a close-up showing the sores.

4. Myth: Using two condoms is better than using just one.Truth: Using more than one condom is actually less effective.

Otherwise known as “double bagging,” using two condoms actually makes sex less safe. The friction between the two condoms can cause them to tear more easily. Instead, you should just stick with one condom, which is 85 to 95 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly.

Condoms can be used in conjunction with other female contraceptives such as birth control pills, cervical caps or spermicides. Do NOT use a male condom with a female condom, for the same reasons you should never use two male condoms at once.


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