5 Safe Sex Mythsby The HealthCentral Editorial Team
Myth # 1: "She can't get pregnant if I don't ejaculate inside her." This relic of the "I Only Put It In a Little" School of Rhetorical Reasoning has accidentally conceived hordes of children just before intentionally soiling tons of bed linens. The high failure rate of this most messy of birth control methods is due to the lubricating presence of pre-ejaculate fluid, which leaks out of your penis before ejaculation and teems with more than enough sperm to impregnate a woman. So if you're relying on the "all-hands-on-deck" Pull 'n' Shoot method as contraception you should let your partner know you're a card-carrying member of Half-Assed (Un)Planned Parenthood by wearing a t-shirt proclaiming your true mindset: "Lord, I was born a gamblin' man."
Myth #2: "I can't get pregnant if we have sex standing up." This is not what we mean by knocked up. Sir Isaac Newton wasn't much of a sexual research scientist, but it's safe to assume that the modern calculation of gravity -- still 9.8 meters per second, squared (and still holding, as of last Tuesday) -- is not enough to delay semen from rocketing toward your fallopian tubes. Having vertical sex won't increase your chances of dodging a hail of seminal bullets, either, so take every safe(r) sex precaution you would use for horizontal sex. Oh, and lift with your legs, not with your back.
Myth #3: "I can't get pregnant having sex in water." Why not? The creatures of the seas do. While your attention might be focused on maintaining sufficient lubrication in an aquatic environment, your major concern should be potential pregnancy and disease from an "unprotected" partner; water wings do not count as safe sex paraphernalia, and just because you're in a body of water does not mean that any number of sexually transmitted diseases can't find a home inside your body.
Consider that a sperm's will-to-power is a simple yet potent one: swim or die. It's all about the relentless pursuit of fertilization, and millions of them can survive inside your body for almost three days as they swim upstream to deliver their chromosomal payload. Do you really feel safe gambling that some water -- spiked or not with pool chemicals -- and your reproductive tract can stave off a siege on Mount Ovum by as many as 300 million determined sperm?
Of course, if you're planning on pool sex you should also keep in mind (1) will you still be a hunk of burnin' love when your fingers and toes are all wrinkled, and (2) how many kids peed in the pool that afternoon?
Myth #4: "I won't get pregnant if I drink ice water." Sure, uh huh, and people went to The Grateful Dead shows solely for the music.
Yes, this frigid theory is an absurd stretch of logic, but not much more so than the rest of these myths; chances are that if you've never kinda/sorta believed this then someone you know has, and probably took it to heart (after all, there are no pregnant snowmen).
We've already mentioned above what tough li'l troops sperm are, and it's not going to matter to the traveling baby batter if you chill your system before, during, or after coitus; you're just as likely to conceive as before the icy intake, unless the guy is turned off by the natty cardigan you have on to preserve your dwindling core temperature. Face it, oh would-be frigid one, if you want to kill off things inside your body you should probably stick to drinking Tab. The only way this most misbegotten of myths works is if you drink freon, and then you will be impregnable -- because you will be dead.
Myth # 5: "The rhythm method works." A favorite for untold generations due to religious conviction and/or lack of superior birth control methods (especially when the "early withdrawal" technique mentioned above just doesn't seem very dignified), the rhythm method's dismal effective rate (80%) is further exacerbated by modern research. Now politely dubbed "natural family planning," the rhythm method prescribes checking physical criteria such as body temperature to determine whether or not a woman is ovulating, so that the couple will abstain from sex for that duration.
This is tantamount to assuming ovulation is calibrated by an egg timer that "dings" when it's booty time. Since when have people become exact creatures of mechanical precision? How can anyone assume that a given body temperature indicates ovulation? A woman may just be running warm or in the clutches of shoe sale lust. Also, there's no biological guarantee that a woman will be most fertile for a set span of days, nor that only one egg per cycle will be released, nor that she'll let you paw her once she's out of the "danger zone." You'd better stick to less psychic prophylactics, Nostradamus.**
That's all for this installment. Next up we'll be dealing with orgasm intensifiers and aphrodisiacs, among other enticing myths.