There are many myths about sex and relationships that we’ve all heard at least once in our lives. Whether it’s the classic tall story about your first sexual experience being magical, the stories about catching STIs from toilet seats or the endless tales of having sex standing, shaking out cum from your genitals or douching after sex to avoid getting a woman pregnant.

Unfortunately, these myths can be damaging and are often the result of misinformation. So with this in mind, we thought we’d provide you with some safe sex truths.

Here are 5 classic sex and relationships myths debunked:


Will me and my partner enjoy our first sexual experience?

Will I have to prepare candles and mood music for the first time I have sex? NO

Having sex for the first time isn’t always as great as the movies say it is. Don’t feel pressured to do anything that is out of your comfort zone. Often your first time will seem uncontrollably awkward, you’ll be worried about where to put your hands, if your making the right noises and if you’re moving your hips in the right direction. It can be daunting for both men and women having sex for the first time, which is why it is important to be comfortable and trust the person you’re doing it with.

Breaking your virginity is special, but different for men and women. As a man, you might be worried about ‘hitting it right’, since this is the first time you’ll be fully penetrating your partner, communication is key. You need to make sure that what your doing is pleasurable for both of you, so be considerate with your positioning and pace.

For a woman, it may be messy, you might bleed or you might not. During vaginal sex, a woman’s hymen may brake which might cause a slight bleeding from the vagina, however inserting tampons, masturbating, or participating in strenuous physical activities like gymnastics or horseback riding can also cause a woman’s hymen to tear. The hymen is a tiny layer of skin that exists to serve a specific biological purpose: to protect the vaginal opening and the area around the opening during a female’s developing years.

Some couples enjoyed sex the first time they have it, other couples say that neither of them had an orgasm. It’s definitely an individual thing, but just try not to expect too – like anything else, it takes time to learn about your body and about your partner’s. Just make sure that you’re ready and you’ve got contraception sorted out.


Should I double bag when I have sex?

Can wearing two condoms during sex increases protection against STIs and pregnancy? NO

Wearing two condoms at once during sex, also known as “double-bagging” isn’t recommended. Doing so only increases the friction between the condoms during intercourse, making them more likely to rip or tear – this is the same for the both the male and female condom. If used correctly every time you have sex, male condoms are 98% effective. Therefore they are a highly reliable method of preventing not only pregnancies but STIs as well.

It’s important to note that, when condoms do fail, it is most often a result of human error, rather than defects in the condom themselves. When used incorrectly (e.g., using more than one condom at a time, not putting the condom on properly, reusing a condom, etc.) the effectiveness of condoms substantially drops.

Also, you can decrease the likelihood of a pregnancy by using a form of hormonal contraception alongside a barrier contraceptive method of contraception, which is also known as going “double dutch”. For example using a male condom and oral contraceptive pill or using a cervical cap and contraceptive patch. There are a lot of options to choose from and each person is unique in what works for them.



Am I the right size?

Is a large penis vital to having good sex? NO

In many cultures  penis size is associated with masculinity, which often causes many men to undergo surgery, take pills or invest in penis extenders to live up to this ideal. Although many males brag about the size of their member in their boxers, it’s usually wishful thinking, so don’t be threaten by their fantastical remarks and comments.

According to Penis Health on the NHS Choices, the average penis size for male adults is about 14 – 16 cm (5.5-6.3 inches) when erect and the average girth for an erect penis is 12 -13 cm (4.7-5.1 inches). However, as a young person, there is no such thing as ‘average length’ as everyone grows at a different rate.

As a man it is important to take time to understand how your penis and the rest of your body works in order to pleasure yourself and your partner effectively. Experimenting with different positions when making love can be hugely beneficial, in addition to experimenting with oral sex and foreplay – women don’t orgasm by penetration alone. Understandably, it takes time and effort for women to get used to making love to either a smaller penis or a large one.

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Am i putting myself at risk?

Can I catch an STI from sitting on a toilet seat? NO

Sexually transmitted infections can’t live outside the body for a long period of time—especially not on a cold, hard surface like a toilet seat. So the chances catching one from whoever used the bathroom before you, are very slim.

What you do need to worry about, however, is skin-to-skin or mouth-to-mouth contact. Kissing, for example, can spread herpes (and deeper kissing can even spread oral gonorrhea and chlamydia), while skin rubbing is enjoyable, it can also pass on infections such as genital warts, herpes, scabies, and pubic lice. So if you are sexually active and want to engage in sexual activity with a partner be sure to get tested first or use a condom.


Should I get myself tested?

Only dirty people take an STI test? NO

The terms ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ are so silly. You can’t tell what someone has just by looking at them, and if you think you can you’re deluded. Having a sexual health test means that you are mature enough to take care of your sexual health. You are actively making a decisions to look after you body, primarily your sexual and reproductive organs.

If you access a test at GUM Clinic or sexual health service you have the option of being swabbed, taking a urine sample and taking blood tests to test for the likes of syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, genital warts, herpes, gonorrhea, HPV and more. You can learn more about STI via our STI Page. Staff at clinics are very friendly and helpful, so you shouldn’t feel nervous about taking a test or accompanying a partner or friend to take one. However, if you are too embarrassed to go down to a clinic, you can order a FREE Chalymdia Testing Kit as well as order a HIV Self-Testing Kit for £29.95 online.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma attached to testing which makes people – young and old – reluctant to access the relevant services. But it is important that you look after your body and get the correct support and advice you need to have a happy and healthy sex life. Don’t put yourself and others at risk by avoiding getting tested, know your status and be clear about it.

We hope that this section has provided you with some FACTS about sex and relationships, in the future if there’s anything you’re not sure about ask a professional or do your research. Similarly, you can always Email Us with any questions you have. 

About Rianna Raymond-Williams

I am the Founder and Managing Director of Shine ALOUD UK. I started the magazine in 2011 as a part time uni project and since then it has grown from strength to strength accumulated 40,000 readers, a host of contributors - both international and international - and financial backing from the likes of 02, Starbucks, The Alec Dickinson Trust and Lloyds Banking Group.