We get a ton of questions here on Sexual Health Connection and many of them involve asking if a particular sexual health myth is true or not. We are going to talk about three of the more popular myths which come up on this site and I will do my best to explain why they are myths and not reality.
Sexual Health Myth Number One:
I can’t get pregnant if he doesn’t ejaculate inside of me, he pulls out, or he was only in there for less than a minute.
FALSE There are many babies out there who were the result of having unprotected sex and based upon the false notion that you can’t get pregnant if he doesn’t ejaculate inside of you. Pre-ejaculate can include sperm. It takes only one resilient sperm to get you pregnant. The withdrawal method is probably the least effective of all forms of contraception. Planned Parenthood tells us that out of every 100 women who have a partner who uses withdrawal, that 27 of those women could become pregnant. In comparison only 2-8 of every 100 women who use some sort of birth control pill will become pregnant. It is clear that the withdrawal method is not a very reliable method at all and you are definitely taking a risk.
If your partner is inside you at all and even for less than a minute you can get pregnant. If your partner spills sperm anywhere on your vagina where the lubrication can keep sperm alive, it is possible for you to become pregnant. Some scenarios possibly make it less likely that you will become pregnant but the risk is still there. If you are not using some form of protection or birth control and you are having sexual intercourse, there is a chance for you to conceive.
**Sexual Health Myth Number Two:
** I can’t contract a sexually transmitted disease or pass one on to my partner because all we are doing is having oral sex.
FALSE! Take a look at this article written by Doctor Trager for Health Central entitled, “STD’s and Oral Sex.”
He lists Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, Herpes, and Genital Warts among others as possibly being transmitted through oral sex. For example if your partner has genital herpes this can be spread to your lips or mouth through oral sex. Likewise if your partner has oral herpes this can be spread to your genitals through oral sex. The use of dental dams can reduce the risk of spreading STD’s through oral sex.
Sexual Health Myth Number Three: I am experiencing nausea, irritability, breast tenderness, and fatigue so I must be pregnant.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you are pregnant! The symptoms of PMS can mimic those of early pregnancy. Just read these physical symptoms of PMS from Health Central’s PMS Survival Guide:
Some of the psychological symptoms of PMS include loss of concentration, mood swings, forgetfulness, and irritability.
Based on these similar symptoms alone, it is very difficult to tell these two conditions apart. One of the biggest signs of pregnancy is a missed period. But even this is not a sure sign as there can be many reasons other than pregnancy for missing a period. To read more about these possible reasons please read my article entitled, “My Period is Late! Reasons other than Pregnancy for a Missed Period.”
Likewise bleeding is possible during pregnancy. I bled during my first pregnancy and I talk about this experience in my post about first trimester bleeding.
So if you can’t go by symptoms alone how can you tell if you are pregnant? A home pregnancy test is usually pretty darn accurate. It is usually good to wait one week past when your period is due to get the most reliable reading. And of course a visit to your gynecologist or doctor will give you an official confirmation if you are pregnant or not.
These are just several of the many sexual health myths out there. In subsequent posts I will address more of these myths and their counterpart realities. Remember that there are no silly questions when it comes to sexual health. Please feel free to ask anything which concerns you and we will try our best to give you an honest answer here at Sexual Health Connection.