Want to separate the sex facts from the sex myths? Dr. Jen Gunter is here to do some serious debunking. Take notes!
1 Do I really have a higher risk of getting pregnant in certain sex positions?
Nope! How you and your partner are arranged doesn’t have any effect on your chance of conceiving. (While it’s true that some fertility doctors tell patients to lie flat for up to 30 minutes after an insemination procedure, there’s no research that shows having sex in, say, missionary ups your odds of conception.) So go ahead and do it however you want.
2 What supplements out there can *actually* treat PMS?
Most of the time, herbal remedies and supplements don’t work, but the good thing about science is that if these products are tested and they stand up to scrutiny, we call them medicine! Certain data suggests that some vitamins and supplements can help with mild to moderate PMS. So when your period is a few days away, a foray into the vitamin aisle may be worth it. Calcium, for instance, has been shown to help reduce bloating and boost your mood, chasteberry may ease your headaches and breast pain, and vitamin B6 has been linked to improving a bunch of period side effects. Just check with your doc first—you never know what can interact with a medication you’re taking.
3 I’m self-conscious about the way my inner labia stick out. Is this normal? My friend said I could fix it with an easy surgery.
Anatomically, more than 50% of women have labia minora that protrude farther than their labia majora, so this is very common. As for the surgery (it’s called labiaplasty), we have very little info on how this might affect your body. There are the typical risks of surgery—but then there’s also the chance that sex might feel different for you afterwards, as the inner labia are sexually responsive organs with specialized sensory nerves. Consider this: Reducing the size of the labia for cosmetic reasons is the same as reducing the size of the penis for appearances.
4 I’ve heard that eating sugar affects my vag in weird ways, like causing yeast infections. True?!
Unless you have diabetes, it’s not likely. Yeast infections are biologically quite complex, and the reason yeast overgrows for some women and not others isn’t well understood. What we do know is that they can’t be kick-started via anything you eat (even if you’ve been snacking on a boatload of candy). That said, if any foods come into physical contact with your vagina (like if the whipped cream you used during foreplay accidentally makes its way inside you), that can lead to irritation that could be mistaken for a yeast infection or even cause infections.
5 An influencer I follow says I don’t need Pap smears because my body will know if something is wrong. Is she right?
Wow, not only is this bad advice, but it’s also harmful and deadly inaccurate. A cervical-cancer screening (which includes a Pap smear and/or HPV test) is one of the greatest advances in modern medicine because it detects precancerous cells or high-risk HPV before full-blown cancer develops. There is no way for your body to ‘know’ when cells are becoming cancerous. My take? Don’t just unfollow this influencer. Block them, keep seeing your gynaecologist for regular cervical-cancer screenings, and get the HPV vaccine if you haven’t already.
6 Can Kegel balls really give me stronger orgasms and make sex better for my partner?
Sooo, here’s the thing: Kegel exercises are meant to treat incontinence or prolapse (a condition in which your pelvic organs or vagina droop down). If you aren’t dealing with those but still want to give an exerciser a try, you do you. Just know there’s no good science that shows a ‘ripped’ pelvic floor leads to better sex or epic climaxes. You can also focus on stuff that does work, like experimenting with masturbation or talking to your partner about trying something new.
…And Dudes Wanna Know
7 Is it okay that I don’t want sex all the time?
Absolutely! Everyone has varying set points, libido-wise, so ‘all the time’ differs per person. That said, if you’ve never experienced a drop in desire like this before, talk it through with your doctor to find out what’s going on.
8 I think I can feel my girlfriend’s IUD with my penis. Possible?
Yes, you could be feeling the string—particularly if it’s a hormonal IUD, which has a firmer string than the copper one. If it was cut too short, you might feel some light poking. But if you’re jabbing into hard plastic, it might mean the tip of the actual IUD has shifted out of place. Not only is this very painful for you, but it also makes the IUD less effective for your girlfriend. Stop having sex, and get your partner to an MD.
9 If my GF needs lube, does that mean she’s not that into me?
Wetness isn’t a yardstick to measure how good or bad sex is or how attracted a woman is to you. She could be having the best time, but for a variety of reasons (like medications or something that happened that day), she just isn’t getting wet. Ask her what turns her on, and treat lube like it’s your friend.
Feature image: Getty Images
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com
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