9 Sex Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Let’s talk about sex. Specifically, let’s talk about what people get wrong when it comes to sex. Despite progress in understanding sexuality and dismantling sexual taboos, there is still a ton of misinformation out there about pleasure, desire, conception, birth control, and more. In my work as a sex educator and writer, I’ve come across a host of false beliefs that have simultaneously made me want to hurl and correct them. I choose the latter. Ahead, nine of the most egregious myths I’ve encountered.

1. You can’t get pregnant if you’re on top during vaginal sex.

Not only is this a joke in Knocked Up (“…if a woman’s on top she can’t get pregnant. It’s just gravity”), I’ve heard this belief earnestly expressed more than once. Cue the biggest eye roll ever. You absolutely can get pregnant in the cowgirl position — and any other position in which a penis is in a vagina, for that matter. Sperm swim, whether you’re straddling your partner, standing up, or doing somersaults. They can also live inside the body for up to about five days. Please get yourself a real form of birth control.

2. The pull-out method can be used as a stand-alone method of birth control.

The pull-out (or withdrawal) method, also called coitus interruptus, is when the partner with the penis pulls out of the vagina before ejaculation. Planned Parenthood reports that about 27 out of 100 women who use this method get pregnant each year, meaning it’s about 73 percent effective at preventing pregnancy in real life. That’s not as effective as condoms, which are about 82-percent effective IRL, or birth control pills, which are about 91-percent effective. Use the pull-out method in combination with another birth control method, folks. Human error happens.

3. Anal doesn’t count as sex.

I once had a friend in high school tell me that she only had anal with her boyfriend because she was saving herself for marriage. Um, what?

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