9 Porn Myths That Have Nothing To Do With Real Sex And Need To Be Retired

For better or worse (OK, usually worse), a lot of us get our earliest sexual information from porn. Our parents might be squeamish about explaining sex to us and our schools may prefer to pretend that sex doesn't really exist, but when we're sexually inexperienced and curious, porn is always there, ready to answer our many questions about what happens when two consenting adults hump on each other. But while porn can sometimes be a valuable educational resource, it is mostly about creating a fantasy of human sexuality, rather than giving us a realistic depiction of what happens when real people get it on — which can, unfortunately, lead us to absorb many myths about how sex is "supposed" to look and feel.

This isn't to say that porn is by any means bad. Porn can inspire us to try something new in bed, it can encourage us to be proud of our sexual desires, and it can liven up a kinda blah sexual encounter or masturbation session. But most porn — especially most mainstream heterosexual porn — isn't necessarily the best way to learn how to actually have pleasurable and mutually fulfilling sex. Still, it's easy to let the glossy porn version of sex get into your head and make you feel sexually inadequate — especially if you have a partner who thinks that porn acting represents the gold standard of actual sexual behavior.

But you don't have to act like a porn performer (who themselves are the subjects of a lot of myths) in order to be good or have fun in bed. And as a reminder, here are nine myths about sex that you may have learned from porn movies that you can forget about forever.

C Lantz on YouTube

Myth #1: Good Cunnilingus Only Takes A Few Seconds

The kind of sex portrayed in porn is often of the "wham-bam-thank you, dude with a shaved chest" variety — which means that the pair (or trio, or whatever) on screen usually waste no time getting down to business, often spending only seconds on cunnilingus and other forms of foreplay. This works in porn because the actors are trained pros, who are making use of a wide variety of aids (including all varieties of lube) that make them able to perform on command when the cameras roll.

But cunnilingus and foreplay are important in real-life sex; they're crucial for making sure that you're aroused enough to have an actually pleasurable sexual experience (also, foreplay is just awesome). And most people need 10-12 minutes of foreplay in order to actually become aroused — not 10-12 seconds.

Myth #2: Spit Is The Best Lube

From the way that porn performers are always spitting on each other's orifices, you could be forgiven for thinking spit must be the best lube around. After all, these pros have access to the world's greatest sex aids, and they're still just using spit, right? But porn actors actually use a wide variety of lubes, especially when having anal sex or otherwise inserting a large object into a small opening — they just usually apply the lube off-camera.

Spit is a bad lube — it dries quickly, and doesn't come close to providing the degree of smoothness that commercially produced lubes do. (And depending on spit as a lube while having anal sex is basically guaranteeing a painful encounter.) There is a universe of lube out there, and you're not bad at sex, gross or somehow "cheating" if you utilize it.

Myth #3: Men Only Care About Their Penises During Sex

If you judged by porn alone, you'd think that men like to be touched on their penis and only their penis during a sexual encounter — with possibly some very brief touching on the balls or butt, you know, if there's time.

While it would be foolish to argue that most men don't enjoy being touched on the penis during sex, most men also like to be touched other places, too — just like women, all men have unique erogenous zones where they enjoy being stimulated. Communicating with each other about where you like to be touched — the neck? The chest? The ears? The foot? — is what makes actual sex actually gratifying. Don't believe the hype: there really is more to dudes than their boners.

Myth #4: Penetration Is All Women Need To Orgasm

Again: putting the object of your choice in the V is a great option at the grand buffet that is human sexuality. But based on watching porn — and the way most porn actresses appear to have screaming orgasms after mere moments of penetration — you might think that penetration is all that there is to sex. You might also think that if you're not orgasming from penetration alone, there's something wrong with you.

But nothing could be further from the truth — 75 percent of women can't orgasm from vaginal penetration alone, and those who can are probably not getting off after barely a minute of penetrative stimulation. So there's no reason to feel ashamed if you're not crazy about penetration, if you only orgasm from clitoral stimulation, or if you otherwise don't have a screaming orgasm just from having someone stick something in your vagina.

Myth #5: All Women Love To Be Called 'Sluts' In Bed

According to a survey conducted by sexy stuff purveyors Adam and Eve, 80 percent of Americans enjoy some dirty talk in bed from time to time. But the umbrella of "dirty talk" covers a lot — it doesn't just exclusively mean the aggressive and often name call-y dirty talk seen in porn. Feeling unaroused by porn-style dirty talk doesn't mean that you're a prude, unadventurous, or abnormal. It just means you're one of the many people who doesn't like being referred to a "slut."

Myth #6: The Best Sex Positions Involve Putting Your Legs Over Your Head

Though borderline-yoga sex positions are pretty standard in porn, remember that they're not necessarily being selected in order to maximize the female performer's pleasure — they offer other bonuses for porn performers and producers, such as allowing the camera a clearer view of vaginal penetration. But when cameras are not rolling, contortionist-like positions that involve pulling your legs up over your head can be very uncomfortable for many women — and position the clitoris in such a way that having an orgasm is basically an impossibility. So if the ol' legs-on-the-shoulders isn't your jam, don't be afraid to speak up — it's not a position that was necessarily designed with your yonic happiness in mind.

Myth #7: Being Jackhammered By A Penis Feels Amazing To All Women

No shade to anyone who enjoys a good jackhammering; but for many of us, sex based around furious in-and-out penetration is not that satisfying or stimulating, and definitely not a way to get any closer to an orgasm. So you shouldn't be afraid to explain to a partner that jackhammer banging is basically cinematic magic, and not something you can usually count on to actually get off.

Myth #8: All Women Want Guys To Come On Their Faces

Again, it's perfectly fine to want anyone to come on any part of your body that you want. But know that when they show facial shots in porn, it's not because the facial is the supreme form of sexual enjoyment — visible ejaculation allows the porn film to reassure the viewer that the sex was real. So you're not un-liberated or behind the times if you don't feel like having someone jizz on your face — in fact, despite their seeming popularity, facials are not actually that common a sex act.

Myth #9: The Only Way To Be Good At Sex Is To Say 'Yes' To Anything

Yes, being open to new ideas (within reason) can help you develop a fulfilling sex life — in fact, a 2012 study out of the University of Arizona and Hanover College reported that couples who were willing to try new things sexually had greater overall relationship satisfaction than couples who weren't.

There's a difference, of course, between being up for hearing new ideas and saying yes to literally anything — but sometimes, watching the way porn performers seem to be up for whatever, from threesomes to bondage to weird sex toys, can make it feel like declining any sexual act your partner requests means that you're a buzzkill.

But that's not true. For starters, again, being a porn actor is a job — porn actors may enjoy what they're doing in a certain scene, but they're also doing it because they're at work. But there's even more to it than that. Knowing your own sexual limits and boundaries, and being honest about them, can make you a better lover, because it allows you to feel comfortable and enjoy yourself more. Knowing that you're not going to be asked to do anything that makes you uncomfortable is the key to feeling more relaxed in bed. And that can do more for your sexual enjoyment than all the jackhammering in the world.

If you’d like to take a trip down memory lane, watch the sex myths you believed as a child below (and subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more videos):

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Images: 20th CenturyFox, Giphy (5)