When it comes to stuff that goes on between the sheets, it's better to know beforehand than find out later, as a rude surprise. With the number of weird stories and hearsay floating on the Internet, we decided to painstakingly fact-check and research the most enduring beliefs and myths about sex we've all, at some point or the other, wondered about. Here's what we found.
Myth: Women have the monopoly on multiple orgasms
Good news; men can have multiple orgasms too. The reason this myth exists is that most men are unable to de-link orgasm from ejaculation. In reality, orgasm is what happens before ejaculation, about 2 to 7 seconds before. After ejaculation, the male body goes into refractory mode, which is what makes a second orgasm (or more) seem impossible. Men can prevent themselves from ejaculating by clenching the PC muscles (the same that are used to stop urine). World renowned sex researchers Masters and Johnsons studied a man who could achieve three orgasms within 10 minutes.
Myth: Bigger is better
A big penis has an evolutionary benefit, and little more. A longer penis can displace a rival male's sperm in a woman's vagina, ensuring that his own genes are passed on instead. A 2002 study published in the journal, European Urology, found that only 1 percent of women consider penis size very important for sexual pleasure, and 31 percent felt that girth mattered more than length. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, only women who preferred penile-vaginal intercourse said they climax more easily with longer penises. But considering that less than 20 percent women are able to climax with intercourse alone and that most women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, the link between sexual pleasure and penis size is mostly in men's heads and egos.
Myth: Ejaculation = Orgasm
Although rare, a medical condition called retrograde ejaculation can make the semen travel backward into the bladder instead of coming out through the hole at the head of the penis, causing men to have what are called "dry orgasms".
Myth: 7 second "rule"
No one knows where this number came from, but all of us have heard that men think about sex every 7 seconds. If that were to be true, men would be thinking about sex 514 times an hour, or a staggering 7,200 times a day! According to a 2011 study at the Ohio State University, men think about sex about 19 times a day, while women think about it about 10 times a day.
A man's flaccid, maximally stretched penis is very closely proportional to the size of his index finger.
Myth: Tantric sex means earth-shattering orgasms
The mere mention of Tantric sex makes most people imagine endless orgasms and indiscriminate orgies. The reality is a lot less salacious. Tantric sex is simply about harnessing one's own sexual energy. When both partners engage in sexual activity after learning to modulate their breath with principles of tantra, it may lead to enhanced intimacy, arousal and an enduring orgasm, but the goal of tantric sex is simply to foster a deeper connection between partners.
Myth: Penis size = shoe size
We've all looked at men with inordinately large feet and giggled (in our heads, at least) thanks to this myth. Here's conclusive proof that there is zero correlation between penis and shoe size: A 2002 study conducted at the University College, London, showed that the average shoe size for men is 9, which is a little over 9.5 inches, whereas the average penis size is a little over 5 inches. A 2002 Greek study has, however, shown that a man's flaccid, maximally stretched penis is very closely proportional to the size of his index finger.
Myth: Multiple orgasms for all women
While physiologically all women can have multiple orgasms, with the Centre for Marital and Sexual Studies in California reporting the maximum number as 134 orgasms in an hour for a woman, other research has shown that only 15 percent of women actually experience more than one orgasm.
Myth: Lubrication means trouble
Lubricants are often associated with older women experiencing vaginal dryness due to menopause. In truth, most women experience vaginal dryness at some point or the other, regardless of age. This isn't surprising, considering the number of factors that can lead to dryness: stress, anxiety, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, even menstruation, medical conditions such as diabetes and immunity issues. It can even be caused by chemicals in harsh soaps, powders and perfumes! Contrary to being something to be ashamed of, lubricants actually substantially enhance women's sexual pleasure. In a 2013 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that 90 percent of women found sex more comfortable and enjoyable when using lubrication.
Men who blame condoms for difficulties during sex are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction even when they weren't using condoms.
Myth: Withdrawal won't get you knocked up
Considering withdrawal as a viable method for birth control is the contraceptive equivalent of keeping your fingers crossed. A 2009 study at the Duke University Medical Centre put the failure rate of coitus interruptus at 18 percent. There's a reason it's called the 'pull out and pray' method, right?
Myth: The first time will always bleed or hurt
A woman's first time doesn't have to look like the red wedding. The hymen is simply a thin tissue. Women with a thin hymen hardly bleed while those with a thick membrane bleed more. It is possible for the hymen to break without a woman even realising it, during activities like swimming, exercising and horseback riding. While some discomfort is expected the first time, if it hurts a lot, it could mean lack of lubrication or a medical issue.
Myth: Condoms ruin the fun
No, no, it's nothing like showering with a raincoat on. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 38 percent men said that condoms had no effect on their ability to experience sexual pleasure while 32 percent claimed that condoms affected their ability to maintain an erection. But here's where things get interesting; the study also found that men who blame condoms for difficulties during sex are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction even when they weren't using condoms. Another study, at the Indiana University, found that most men who complained about condoms impairing sexual pleasure were young, sexually inexperienced and anxious about their performance. Another possible reason for condoms receiving a bad rap is that an alarming 30 percent men in the 2015 study claimed they had never actually been taught how to put on a condom.
Myth: Double-bagging means double safe
On the opposite side of the "pull and pray" spectrum are people who think using two condoms can lower the chance of pregnancy even more. Using a condom reduces the risk of pregnancy by 82 to 98 percent, but using two condoms can actually increase the risk because the friction between the two condoms while thrusting might cause both to rip and become ineffective.
Myth: Women don't watch porn
Not only are an increasing number of women watching porn, they're watching it for longer than men! A 2015 study by the website Pornhub found that the worldwide average for a woman watching porn was 10 minutes and 10 seconds, compared to 9 minutes 22 seconds for men. The same study put India's female porn-watching population at 30 percent, up from 26 percent in 2014.
Myth: Sex is better when you're younger
Sex might be more athletic, vigorous and frequent when you're younger, but multiple researches show that it's a lot better as we grow older and more confident about ourselves. A 2015 survey conducted by IllicitEncounters.com found that 37 percent of women and 34 of men described their 40s as the period when they had the best sex of their lives.
Myth: Too much sex can make the vagina loose
Rest assured, the penis has no superpowers that can permanently change the shape and size of the vagina in any lasting ways. The vagina is an elastic organ, programmed to go back to its original size after sex, no matter how much and how many times it stretches to accommodate a big penis or a toy. Unless a penis is the size of a baby, the vagina is not going to become "loose" or bigger due to too much sex.