Sex Myths Magazines Tell Us

As a young girl, while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store with my mother, I’d peek around the tabloids and cooking magazines to find a publication saturated with hot pink and lots of cleavage. In my young, pre-pubescent mind, the contents of Cosmopolitan were beyond my comprehension. I hardly understood it, but the bright lettering on the cover made sex seem like something that my life would inevitably revolve around.  

In my middle school years my best friend and I would sneak into her room and read issues of Cosmopolitan aloud in funny voices, giggling and not understanding what any of it meant. Although I laughed at the articles then, I absorbed more information than I realized, as many women do. I started to believe that sex was something I needed to know everything about and needed to be good at before I’d even had it. There were, and still are, so many lies and expectations that surround the topic of sex, and magazines unfortunately propel them. So, here are some of those myths and why they're absolutely not true. 

1. Women don't watch porn

False. Women definitely watch porn. Granted, it is harder for women to find porn where the woman, 1. Looks like a real person, 2. Isn’t being objectified or blatantly mistreated, or 3. Portrays any type of realistic sexual scenario. Women do find ways to get their fix, though. According to a study conducted by Marie Claire in 2015, one out of three women watch porn at least once a week. 

2. He will always be horny and she never will be

We know this isn’t true. Believing that women never crave sex has unfortunately become a social norm throughout the years, but at the same time women who turn down sex when they’re not “in the mood” are villainized. Why are women sometimes viewed as such wet blankets when it comes to sex? Statistics simply don’t back that up. According to a recent study, women have, on average, had more sexual partners than men — they’re just not as braggy about it. This discrepancy between beliefs about and the reality of the amount of sexual partners women have could easily be linked to the social expectation of women to be less interested in sex than men. And it's really no surprise this myth exists: women should only ever be sexy when men need them to be, right? 

3. Penis size matters

You might think that bigger is better, but a man who knows how to use his thang is more of a treasure than a clueless dude with a baseball-bat-sized schlong. What matters is the compatibility of your vagina with his penis. It's a Goldilocks situation — like that new pair of skinny jeans, you want it to fit just right.

4. Intercourse alone can bring a woman to orgasm

Penetration is simply not enough to bring a woman to orgasm for 80 percent of the female population, according to Planned Parenthood statistics. A woman’s orgasm is almost always dependent on the direct stimulation of the clitoris, which doesn't always happen during intercourse. Approximately 30 percent of women have trouble reaching orgasm at all, further proving that the female climax is truly an art form.

5. Safe sex sucks

Nope. Whether you’ve got condoms, the IUD, or are on the pill, safe sex is the best sex. “Enthusiastically-consented safe sex is the most fun because you don’t have to worry about anything,” says author and sex expert Jenny Block. You're totally focused on the moment. Makes sense: being cautious takes the worry away and leaves more room for your own sexual experimentation.

6. Relationships can’t be intimate without sex

Ready for what I’m about to throw at you? It’s possible to be in a relationship without having crazy sex! Weird, right? Where are all the articles saying sex doesn’t need to be an essential part of a relationship? Most women’s magazines, and even some men’s magazines, are fueled by sex, making it seem like the most important part of being alive. A relationship without sex can be equally as passionate and intimate as a relationship with sex. The best sex is the kind that is accompanied by love and trust, which are two things that aren't intrinsically linked. A partner that makes you feel taken care of both emotionally and physically will make you feel more satisfied overall. There’s something you might not read in Cosmo.

Before picking up your next issue of Cosmo or clicking on an article entitled “How to SPICE IT UP in the Bedroom,” remember to not let the media dictate what your sexual experience should or should not be. You do you, and have fun with it.

Feature photo by Raydene Salinas VIA Getty Images