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On Sexual Health: Sexual Myths and Facts

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Think about this: you meet a potential new love interest. What do you discuss? Well, online you’ll of course disclose way more, much faster than in real life. In real life you may talk less openly but you’ll notice cues that indicate socio-economic standing, like car, clothing, wrist watch. You’ll be alert to relationship status, via rings on fingers (although these days, some married people don’t wear their rings, sigh), times of availability and phone calls received and relationship to mobile. You may watch movies/TV/Series together and get a feel of this person’s politics, including gender politics, sexism, feminism, religious standing, biases, cultural beliefs, etc. and you will even gingerly push sexual boundaries by making sexual jokes to test out levels of traditionalism versus liberalism.

In other words, from get go, you are assessing the sexual health of this person and whether you two will be a good fit for each other. Sexual health intersects with your personal and political, social and relational worlds. No way can you get sustained arousal and engorgement with someone who has different politics to you, who does not respect your right to privacy and who discriminates against you because of the way you look, your sexual preferential behaviors or your relationship desires.

Our society needs clarity on what sexual health is and what each person’s sexual rights are. Forget about “wear a condom” as being the ultimate definition of sexual health. It is that and much more.

“Debunking Sexual Myths”. Let’s get down and factual right now.

Tick off the myths that get in the way of your sexuality:

Myth:  “Blue Balls” is a real medical condition

Fact: But … not a serious one. The correct medical term for “blue balls” is vasocongestion. This happens when blood builds up in the testicles and/or prostate when a male gets aroused (“turned on”) but doesn’t ejaculate. It is often accompanied by a cramp-like ache and pain or tenderness in the groin area. While this can be uncomfortable, it is not a serious condition and is not an excuse to pressure a partner into sex.

Myth: You can use a condom more than once, if you wash it properly.

Fact: A condom should NEVER be used twice under any circumstances.

Myth: The best way to avoid getting pregnant is to use a condom.

Fact: The best way to avoid getting pregnant is through abstinence. Abstinence (not having any kind of sex) is the only 100% effective form of birth control. If abstinence isn’t an option, using a condom in combination with a hormonal form of birth control is a close second. For example, this could be a condom used together with the birth control pill.

Myth: You can get HIV or an STI from getting a tattoo or through body piercing.

Fact: There can be a risk for HIV or another blood-borne infection (like hepatitis B or C) if the instruments used for piercing or tattooing either are not sterilized or disinfected between clients. Any instrument used to pierce or cut the skin should be used once and thrown away.

Myth: You can’t get an STI from oral sex.

Fact: During oral sex, you can give your partner your STI and you can get theirs. Not all STIs are transmitted through oral sex, but some are.

Myth: Female orgasm happens in the vagina

Fact: No – try the clitoris

Myth: All men have a hard-as-steel-can-go-all-night erection

Fact: No – disease, medication, lack of attraction, anxiety, anger get in the way as does simply not feeling aroused.

Myth: Saying “I love you” entitles you to my body.

Fact: Consent is golden and if you don’t know how to give it, or listen to it, don’t be sexual.

Myth: HIV/AIDS is a death sentence.

Fact: HIV is now a manageable chronic disease.

Myth: Rape is a once off traumatic event.

Fact: Rape is a developmental trauma. The trauma develops and changes overtime and brings different consequences throughout a lifetime.

Myth: Online chatting/sexting in secret is not infidelity as there is no physical touching.

Fact: Cyber Infidelity is real, which includes chatting and sexting.

Myth: True love means unconditional acceptance – even if s/he throws me around every now and then.

Fact: Abuse is a toxic form of love. Learn the difference between healthy love and co-dependence.

Really consider what sexual beliefs you have. They may be myths and they may be interfering with your right to sexual pleasure, and to embracing and being embraced in a relationship that is respectful and wholesome.

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