When you're young, there are lot of rumors and myths when it comes to sex, which is why sexual education is so important. However, even as we get older, we still discover new things about our sexual health, and there may be some interesting things you wish you learned in sex ed, but didn't. Not everyone receives the most comprehensive education, but it doesn't mean it's too late to learn a few things about your body and safe sex practices.
We know that sexual education is important, because not only does it help you make healthy decisions about sex, but it also helps you to better understand your own body. In fact, multiple studies show that comprehensive sex education reduces the incidence of unprotected sex, increases the use of condoms and other contraceptives, and even lower STI and pregnancy rates, according to multiple studies. Even if you didn't learn that much in school, you're never too old to become more informed about your sexual health, especially as new issues arise.
You may have learned the basics, but there are likely way more facts to know about your sexual health than you even realized. Here are nine interesting things you should have learned in sex ed, but didn't.
1Female Masturbation Is Normal
"Sexual drive and libido should be addressed both for boys and girls," says Steve McGough, DHS, associate professor of Clinical Sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. "The idea that 'boys will be boys' as far as masturbation is often addressed but female sexual drive is frequently skipped. This should also include the fact that masturbation is a natural behavior, and while it is private, should not be demonized or avoided in the presentation."
2How To Deal With Real World Obstacles
Sure, in theory you know it's best not to have sex without a condom, but in the heat of the moment, it's harder to make those decisions with so many other factors at play. "This isn't something women should say 'sorry about," it is just what they choose, and their partner has to accept this or they aren't going to have sex," says McGough. "[It would be ideal to] practice in advance saying this with their peers and get comfortable with saying it. I've seen many women have a lot of insecurity about speaking up and expressing their own needs, or fear of 'ruining the mood.'"
3You Can Still Get An STD With A Condom
Although condoms are highly effective at preventing STDs that are transmitted through bodily fluids, other STDs are spread by just skin-to-skin contact, according to the FDA. This means you can still get STDs like the human papillomavirus (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis, even if you wear protection.
4You Need To Pee After Sex
"Sex-ed typically focuses on pregnancy and STD prevention, but the conversation rarely turns to the all-too common urinary tract infection (UTI)," says sexual health advisor Dr. Draion M. Burch over email. "While you may want to fall right to sleep after a heavy love-making session, using the bathroom is essential for flushing out bacteria that can travel through the urethra to the bladder, causing infection." Yes, you can still take a couple of minutes to cuddle after sex, but try to hit the bathroom sooner rather than later, but at most within the next few hours.
5There Are Multiple Types Of Birth Control
Most of us just hear about condoms or the pill, but those aren't the only type of birth control available, or it might not even be the best kind for your body. In addition to those contraceptives, there are also IUDs, rings, implants, shots, and patches that are all viable options, even if they are lesser known.
6A Lot Of Women Don't Orgasm From Penetration Alone
If you have a hard time orgasming from sex that only involves penetration, there's nothing wrong with you — and you're definitely not alone. The vast majority of women need clitoral stimulation to climax, but many sexual positions don't do this. To help achieve orgasm, it's best to cycle through a variety of vaginal sex, oral sex, and manual stimulation, according to research from the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
7Stay Away From Oil-Based Lube When Using A Condom
Although oil-based lubricants such as coconut oil can seem like a cheap and easy option, they come with a dark side: can make latex condoms less effective, which means you're at risk for STIs or pregnancy. If you're using condoms, stick to water-based and silicone-based lubes instead.
8The Clitoris Has Legs
The clitoris isn’t actually just a pea-sized bump at the very top of the labia — this is just the head. "The clitoris is a complex structure with both internal and external parts," says sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly over email. "It is comprised of a series of nerve endings and tissues including the shaft, head, foreskin, bulbs and legs. Like a penis, it swells with pleasure and becomes erect. This is why rubbing and grinding against the entire vulva is often more pleasurable that straight penetration or pressing on the head of the clitoris."
9You Can Get Pregnant On Your Period
Contrary to popular belief, you can still get pregnant on your period. "This was a common belief because it wasn't well explained during school that while technically you are shedding your uterine lining and the egg is going along with it, there is still the possibility for sperm to meet egg," says sex and relationship expert Megan Stubbs, EdD, ACS over email. "So unless you are vigilant in your cycle and willing to use the rhythm method as birth control, I say there is no safe time for unprotected sex without the risk of pregnancy."