Get to know your body through a better understanding of your anatomy and find the answers to some of your most common questions.
Due to the stigma, fear, and misinformation around the female body, a number of myths and misconceptions around sex have made their way into our cultural discourse. We're here to bust some of the most common and damaging myths once and for all.
Thinking that first-time penetrative sex will hurt leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy of painful sex. It's common to experience some pain, but that doesn't need to be the case. It varies very much from person to person and can be related to your mental state at the time. The more relaxed, mentally prepared, and turned on you are by your partner, the less it will hurt. The more anxious and nervous you are, the more your body and vaginal muscles will tense up, making penetration uncomfortable or painful. Be gentle with yourself, take it easy with your partner, talk about it before it happens, and work your way up to penetration. When you take certain precautions, you can reduce your discomfort and have pain-free, pleasurable, and enjoyable sex.
Hymens can tear during sex or they might rip a bit to make room for the penis, but they can also be elastic enough to handle vaginal intercourse without sustaining any damage. The hymen is a membrane with relatively few blood vessels that – even if torn – may not bleed significantly. Many medical studies have proven that bleeding doesn’t routinely happen after the first time a woman has vaginal penetrative sex. Instead, in first-time experiences, women often experience lack of vaginal lubrication, and sometimes forced penetration, which can cause small cuts in the vaginal wall and lead to bleeding. This bleeding is what causes the “blood-stained bed sheets” and not actually the “tearing of the hymen.”
Although this is what we see in mainstream media, it is not always the case, especially not the first time. Orgasm is something that comes with practice; the better you understand your body, the more comfortable you get with your partner, the safer and more vulnerable you feel, the easier it will be for you to reach orgasm. Don’t expect it of yourself or your partner from the first try.
The vagina is a powerful muscular tube made of elastic tissue, supported by pelvic floor muscles, that temporarily changes shape. During sex, “tightness” is determined by the pelvic floor. When you’re aroused, the muscles relax to “loosen” the vagina and expands to make room for the penis before, during, and after sex and then returns to its usual shape. There is no evidence that sex causes a loosening of the vagina over time.
The size of your vagina changes throughout your cycle.
Pregnancy is possible anytime there is vaginal penetration with a penis, even if it’s your first time. It can happen if a person with a penis ejaculates inside a vagina or outside (but near) the vaginal opening. Using contraception is the best way to prevent pregnancy.
Not all women ejaculate when they orgasm. Female ejaculation, which is fluid expelled from the urethra, occurs when a woman becomes sexually aroused, but it is not necessarily associated with orgasms. The amount can vary widely from woman to woman. Some women release just a little fluid; others may wet the sheets. Some experts believe that all women ejaculate, but most aren’t aware of it because the fluid often flows backward into the bladder instead of outside of the body.
As long as both parties are satisfied, there is no need to worry about the size of your partner's penis. Size only matters when it comes to picking a condom.
Sex is yours to define. There is no right or wrong answer — or a real or less real one. You might see sex as getting naked with someone, receiving or giving oral sex, having an orgasm (alone or with someone else), having a consensual sexual experience, vaginal penetration, or something else altogether. You get to decide what counts.
What are some of the myths you’ve grown up hearing? What are some that you’ve been able to bust yourself as you learned more about sex. Share them with us. Knowledge turns the tide.