Debunking Sexual Wellness Myths

Sexual health is a mystifying labyrinth of common beliefs, misconceptions, and downright sexist talking points for women. I personally used to be ashamed of my sexual well-being as a sheltered child. I’m here to say that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all deserve to be informed, healthy, and derive pleasure from our own bodies whilst also being safe. Here are a few myths I’d like to debunk about sexual wellness!

  1. 1. Masturbation is immoral and/or addicting 

    I get it! Masturbation is a huge taboo. Masturbation is a bigger taboo than sex itself or the explicit actions of sex. In fact, a national survey showed that one in five women have never masturbated. There’s nothing wrong with your choice to abstain from masturbation, however, the shame and negative stigma of this action is downright disgusting. Masturbation has shown to not only be pleasurable, but it has also been proven to provide better sleep, less painful menstruation cramps, and it empowers women! There is no proof that masturbation is addicting, although using anything in excess in order to cope with a personal issue is serious. Masturbation NEEDS to be normalized. It’s a choice that should have no guilt or shame associated with it.

  2. 2. Sex toys make you numb to actual sex

    There is no evidence sex toys numb you to actual sex. Sex toys are not a replacement for your partner, but they are a form of pleasure. Everyone deserves pleasure regardless of their genitalia, and this false myth makes it hard to feel good about using a vibrator or any other toy. The truth of the matter is that in cisgender heterosexual relationships, some men feel insecure that a vibrator is replacing them. They believe that the only symbol of their sexual performance and masculinity is with their specific genitalia. Sex toys spice up relationships and encounters and a sizeable amount of partners are ashamed to talk about the use of them. We need to normalize sex toys for solo sex and partner sex!

  3. 3. No, your vagina doesn’t loosen after more sex

    I have personally heard this myth multiple times and I cannot stand it. Your vagina does not loosen after having sex multiple times or with multiple partners regardless of their “size” (assuming this is penetrative sex). The vagina expands during or after sex and contracts afterwards. Think of your vagina as a rubber band: it has the ability to expand and contract regularly without any major consequences. This stigma leads to slut-shaming as sexually promiscuous women who are “loose” and shaming them for choosing to do whatever they please with their bodies. 

Misinformation and lack of knowledge is prevalent with sexual wellness information. We need a better sexual education in schools that is all encompassing and teaches students about every taboo. We need to talk about LGBTQ+ inclusive sex, the clitoris, different types of relationships, how your hymen “breaking” does not indicate if you’ve had sex, foreplay, consent in depth, masturbation, toys, safe kink, types of contraception, next day pills, and much more. Without this education, we risk more sexist /homophobic rhetoric being spread. Sex should not be taboo and needs to be normalized. Anything less is an archaic disgrace. 

 

Sources:

  1. Wynn, L L et al. “Misconceptions and Ignorance About Sexual and Reproductive Health.” The female patient vol. 34,11 (2009): 29-32.

  2. Friedman, Danielle. “Masturbation Relieves Anxiety, Helps You Sleep, and Boosts Your Sex Life. So Why Don't More Women Do It?” Health.com, 16 Aug. 2017, www.health.com/sex/female-masturbation. 

  3. Clark-Flory, Tracy. “A Vibrator Is Not a Substitute for a Partner. But How Do You Tell Men That? | Tracy Clark-Flory.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 Mar. 2015, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/21/vibrator-not-a-substitute-...

  4. Sissons, Clare. “Loose Vagina: Myths and Facts.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 29 July 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325890. 

  5. Herbenick, Debby, et al. “Sexual Diversity in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Probability Sample of Adult Women and Men.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, 20 July 2017, journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0181198. 

  6. TENGA Co. Ltd.  “World's Largest Masturbation Survey Uncovers How Traditional Views of Masculinity Prevent Men from Having Fulfilling Sex Lives & Relationships.” PR Newswire: News Distribution, Targeting and Monitoring, 27 June 2018, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/worlds-largest-masturbation-survey-unco...

  7. Vagianos, Alanna. “This Is How Often Women Masturbate.” HuffPost Canada, Huffington Post, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/women-masturbation-statistics-fivethirtyeigh...

  8. Chalabi, Mona. “Dear Mona, I Masturbate More Than Once a Day. Am I Normal?” FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, 30 May 2014, fivethirtyeight.com/features/dear-mona-i-masturbate-more-than-once-a-day-am-i-normal/.