Can I Get Pregnant On My Period? 7 Intimacy Myths Experts Say Are True
If you had sex education in school, you probably learned some basics about reproductive anatomy, sex, and contraception options. But if you were someone who didn't have sex-ed or if it's been a while since you did, you might be surprised to learn about some myths about sex that are actually true, according to experts.
How can you know if you're receiving accurate information? It's best to listen to experts, rather than assume that rumors are true. For example, if you have questions about sexual health, your doctor or gynecologist can help you recognize what's accurate and what isn't. If you aren't sure if you like the way you feel about sex, speaking with a therapist might guide you toward a more positive mindset.
"A great resource for sex information is Scarleteen," Kayla Lords, a writer and sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com, tells Bustle. "It's geared towards younger people, but the information is easily understandable and comprehensive." The site offers inclusive advice about specific questions, like how to help your partner become more sex-positive or what to do if you feel undesired, but it also provides general information about sexuality, birth control methods, and healthy communication.
Here are some myths about sex that are actually true, according to experts.
1. Kegels Can Improve Your Sex Experience
You've probably heard of kegels, the exercises where you flex your pelvic floor muscles in order to strengthen them. But what you might not realize is that the claim that doing them can improve your pleasure during sex isn't a myth. "You should do kegels to improve your sexual experience; the pelvic floor muscles are key for stronger orgasms," MaryEllen Reider, a pelvic floor researcher and co-founder of the Yarlap, tells Bustle. "The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that contract during an orgasm," she says. Certain studies show that the stronger the pelvic floor is, the stronger the response to your orgasm."
2. You Should Pee After Sex
Peeing after sex to prevent getting a UTI might seem like a myth, since movies and TV shows rarely show folks going to the bathroom right after. But there's some truth to the idea that peeing after sex prevents infections, Dr. Sonia Bahlani, an OB/GYN and pelvic pain specialist, tells Bustle. Basically, peeing expels stagnant urine from your bladder, which can help prevent you from getting a UTI, she says. While peeing after sex isn't a 100% guaranteed way to never get a UTI, studies have shown that it can be effective. As painful as the infections are, it's probably worth the inconvenience to just get up and go.
3. An Emotional Connection Can Make Sex Feel Better
Generally speaking, you might believe that having an emotional connection with someone doesn't have an effect on how pleasurable sex with them is for you — and that can totally be the case. But this can be at least partly a myth for others. "This idea gets taken to extremes that aren't true for everyone, but it does hold true for many folks," August McLaughlin, a sex-positive advocate and author of Girl Boner, tells Bustle. "Many people of all gender identities enjoy sex without deep emotional connection, but getting to know a person can pave the way for more pleasure by instilling a sense of trust and safety," she says. When you feel safe, whether that means physically safe or emotionally safe, you probably feel more free to explore and embrace your sexual desires, McLaughlin says.
4. You Can Get Pregnant While On Your Period
If you've ever taken the time to learn about how the likelihood of conception varies throughout your cycle, you know how confusing it can be. But, although many people believe it's just a myth, you can get pregnant while on your period. "Getting pregnant during your period is a lot less likely than mid-cycle, when most people ovulate," McLaughlin says. "But not everyone ovulates at that point and cycles vary in length." Plus, if you're someone who ovulates and you're having penetrative sex with someone who produces sperm, their sperm can live in your body for up to five days after intercourse occurs, she says. If you're worried about this, make sure to use contraceptive methods while you're menstruating to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
5. Performance Anxiety Is Real
"Many people do not have a true physical problem with orgasm, but worrying about performance can have a negative effect on one's sex life," OB/GYN Dr. Sarah de la Torre, MD, FACOG, NAMS, tells Bustle. For you, this might mean that you're worried about pleasing your partner, concerned about getting an STI or getting pregnant, or even worrying about whether or not you'll be able to have an orgasm at all. If this is something that you've experienced, a good place to start is to get to know your own body, de la Torre says. Once you're fully comfortable with how your body works and what is pleasurable for you, that can reduce performance anxiety during sex.
6. Sex Can De-Stress You
If you've ever had a friend tell you sex can help when you're going through an especially stressful time, you might have just assumed that they were making a joke and that the connection between sex and de-stressing was a myth. But there's actually a lot of truth to it, Lords says. Whether you have penetrative sex, oral sex, or any other kind of sexual activity, as long as it's satisfying and pleasurable, it can help you relax, reduce stress, and even sleep better — all of which can help improve your mood, she says.
7. The Clitoris Is Very Similar To A Penis
You might think that a penis and a clitoris are pretty different, but they actually have more in common than many folks realize. Up until two weeks of pregnancy, all embryos appear to be forming a body with a vagina, Alice Vaughn, a sex expert and co-host of "Two Girls One Mic: The Porncast", tells Bustle. But around the eighth week of gestation, testosterone is released and the penis starts to form. "Just like a penis, they're both sensitive, have similar volume of erectile tissue, and when aroused, both swell up and get filled with blood," Vaughn says.
The more you learn about sex from positive, trusted sources, the more you'll be able to understand about your own body. And the better you know your body, the better and safer sex is bound to be.