Since time immemorial, people have been believing in certain theories about sexual health without giving much reason to it. But now researches and studies have proved these theories as myths, in turn, helping the society understand the truth so that it can enjoy a healthy sexual life.
The World Health Organisation states that ‘sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships’.
Busting of these myths has helped people understand sexual health with a positive frame of mind so that all can lead a happy and healthy life.
Here are some of the common myths related to sexual health busted by researchers.
Myth: Use of birth control pills increases weight
Women who gain weight after switching to oral contraceptives directly link the two incidents to each other. A study published in journal Human Reproduction in February 2011 went on to say that weight gain and pill use had no relation to each other.
To look at the effect of oral contraception on weight gain, the researchers gave oral contraceptives for 8 months to rhesus monkeys, whose reproductive system is almost identical to humans. Half the monkeys were considered obese and half were normal weight. There was no change in those who had normal weight, while those who were overweight lost an average of 8.5 per cent of their weight.
A study shows that injectable progesterone is the only birth contraceptive that leads to weight gain. Those included in the study showed an average weight gain of 11 pounds over three years.
Myth: Circumcision hampers sexual sensation
In yet another theory, it is believed that circumcision hinders a man from enjoying sexual pleasures. But a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine says that there is no difference in the sexual sensation of circumcised and uncircumcised men.
The research, conducted at the Department of Psychology of McGill University in Montreal, used genital sensory testing on circumcised and uncircumcised men during states of sexual arousal and non-arousal. And the results revealed that in both the cases, there was no difference in sensitivity to touch or pain.
Myth: High frequency of ejaculation increases risk of prostate cancer
The next time your man comes to you to make love quoting sex as one of the methods to cut down prostrate cancer risk, don’t take it as an excuse. Because, he is right.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, high ejaculation frequency is related to decreased risk of prostate cancer.
For example, men who reported 21 or more ejaculations per month in their 40s had a 32 per cent lower risk of prostate cancer later in life compared with those who reported between four and seven ejaculations per month. Men who reported more than 21 monthly ejaculations in the previous year had a 51 per cent lower risk of prostate cancer.
Myth: Unprotected intercourse during menstruation is safe by all means
It is a common belief that intercourse without any protection during menstruation is safe and one does not need to be concerned about infections during this time. Intercourse during menstruation is safe but it should not be unprotected. People also have this notion that women will not get pregnant even if they have sex without protection during menstruation. But the fact is that chance of any sexually-transmitted disease being passed onto women increases this time. The cervix opening increases at this time compared to other times and this makes women more susceptible to contract any infection. At times, women do continue to get eggs in their fallopian tube if they have shorter cycles or irregular periods, thus increasing the chances of their getting pregnant.
Myth: Oral sex keeps the person away from contracting sexually transmitted disease
People have the notion that sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) cannot be transmitted through oral sex. But this is a big myth. According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, genital herpes can be acquired very easily through oral sex.
A person infected with genital herpes can have virus in his or her saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions. The virus can enter another person’s body through mucosal surfaces, such as vagina, anus or mouth or micro-abrasions on skin.
Myth: Masturbation is unhealthy
The myth regarding masturbation revolves around the fact that it will damage your sex organs or stunt your growth. But there is no parameter to say that it is too much masturbation. According to American Psychiatric Association, masturbation can be considered too much if it hampers your daily activities like work or meeting friends. Masturbation has no physical or emotional ill effects. In fact, it helps in getting rid of stress as it acts as a natural painkiller. Research has shown that orgasms can help prevent endometriosis, a disease of the uterine lining in women. And frequent ejaculations also decrease a man’s chances of developing prostrate cancer.
Myth: Vaginal douching is hygienic
Women take to vaginal douching or intravaginal cleansing with the notion that it is hygienic and would help keep away infections. But the reality is just the opposite of this thinking. In fact, researchers are of the opinion that douching with liquid solution such as vinegar can be harmful. It may alter the pH level of the vagina and prevent growth of normal bacteria.
Women should avoid douching as it removes some normal protective bacteria present in the vagina, thus increasing the chances of contracting some sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers also say that douching may increase chances of yeast infections. The National Women’s Health Information Center, US, says douching makes women more prone to bacterial infections and can even carry existing infections into upper reproductive tract. Many women also think that after unprotected intercourse douching helps a woman in not getting pregnant. But this is again a wrong notion.
Myth: Regular sex makes a person weak and can harm reproductive organs
It has come to light that sex has a lot of positive aspects attached to it. Sex acts as stress buster and it is a natural painkiller. People enjoy better sleep after sex. It improves female bladder control and lowers blood pressure. It can be considered a good exercise which also lowers chances of heart attack. It decreases chances of male prostate cancer.
The list does not end here. But if people get a closer look even about certain facts related to sexual health, their life can become much happier and healthier.
Latest Publications and Research on Popular Sexual Myths
- 'Think Hep B' in primary care: A before-and-after evaluation of a self-guided learning package. - Published by PubMed
- Factors associated with violence against women in a representative sample of the Lebanese population: results of a cross-sectional study. - Published by PubMed
- Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Erectile Dysfunction Associated With Peyronie's Disease Among Men Seeking Urological Care. - Published by PubMed
- Male and female condoms: Their key role in pregnancy and STI/HIV prevention. - Published by PubMed
- Biased partner perceptions of women's pain self-efficacy in postpartum pain during intercourse: A dyadic longitudinal examination. - Published by PubMed