Writers With Benefits: Sex Myths

“The sexuality in cultures throughout the world ebb and flow. You had a Roman period, a Greek period, where people were more open. Then you have Christianity. When you get to the Victorian era, you get this prudish kind of idea about sex and you get rumors. How do you spread rumors fast? The Internet and all the research start to tell these stories to scare people to try to get the culture to understand something.”

-Human sexuality professor
Jim Skalicky, Ph.D


Everybody has heard that story of a friend of a friend. “Marissa’s cousin got pregnant once from sitting on a toilet seat.” or “George’s brother’s best friend said you can’t get pregnant the first time.” Some of these myths are so outrageous, there’s no way they can be true—but where did they come from? Writers With Benefits David Tate and Melanie Gudino are here to try and solve some of the sex myths you may (or may not) have heard, while adding a few facts along the way. Don’t worry though—you’re DEFINITELY the best they’ve ever had.

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Fact: Penile fracture.

MG: After I watched a viral video of Jamaicans getting down with a dance called “daggering” that seems to be nothing but a mixed-gender pelvic pounding contest, I was curious to find out exactly how durable the penis can be. Fact is, chair of the urology department at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Hunter Wessells, said has seen the University of Seattle sees about two cases of penile fracture a month.

“[Penile fracture] is a severe form of bending injury to the erect penis that occurs when a membrane called the tunica albuginea tears,” Wessells said in scientificamerican.. “The tunica albuginea surrounds the corpora cavernosa, [a] specialized spongy tissue in the core of the penis that fills up with blood during an erection. When the tunica albuginea tears, the blood that is normally confined to this space leaks out into other nearby tissues. You get bruising and swelling.”

Doctors in Jamaica have been alarmed—but only after cases of penile fracture have tripled on the island.


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Myth: Masturbation causes you to go blind.

[Niel Kitzler]

DT:Ok, ok. We know nobody believes this one. What we were more concerned about was where this myth came from. Who was the first person to say it? And who was the first person to actually believe them?

One of the earliest records of masturbation being linked to blindness came in 1716, when Dutch theologian Balthazar Bekker wrote a pamphlet describing the ills of “Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution.” According to Bekker, the list of maladies from masturbation included “attacks of rage, madness, idiocy,” “disorders of the eye and ear,” and finally, “suicide.” Makes you wonder how the human race has survived almost 300 years of suicidal blind idiots.


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Myth: The birth control pill causes weight gain.

[Niel Kitzler]

MG:Women take birth control to prevent pregnancy but is gaining weight a side effect or a myth? Fluid retention can cause some women to gain weight but according to an article posted on webMD.com, “Birth control pills and weight gain,” “A review of 44 studies showed no evidence that birth control pills caused weight gain in most users. And, as with other possible side effects of the pill, the minimal weight gain is generally temporary, going away within two to three months.”

So how did this myth even come into play? Early contraceptives in the 1960s had side effects of nausea, blurred vision, bloating, weight gain, depression, blood clots, and strokes because the doses had 10 times the amount of estrogen that modern-day birth control pills have. If only women had noticed that breasts are one of the two main targets for estrogen, you could save so much money on plastic surgery.


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Myth: Men think about sex every seven seconds.

[Niel Kitzler]

DT: You’ve heard this one, right? Most men have heard this one so often they usually shrug it off. Personally, I’ve got three go-to jokes I can use when when somebody drops the stat.
But has anybody ever done the math on that? I don’t like to think any guy’s mind wanders more than mine, so I sat down and put my community college education to work and found out that my brain works a little slower than Mike D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” offense.

In order to maintain that average, men would have to think about sex more than 12,000 times a day. In reality, men think about sex around 19 times a day, according to a 2011 study done at Ohio State University. Next most frequent topic? Sleeping. At least nobody will make the mistake of considering us overly complicated.


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Myth? Fact? : Size matters

[Niel Kitzler]

WWB: Should the size of a man’s package really matter in sex? The question if size matters has probably been around as long as sex itself, but even today it’s still a popular debate. Most data shows that size isn’t that big of a factor and when it is, it’s often a matter of personal preference. According a study reported in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, the erect penis size of most men — 68 percent — is between 4.6 and 6 inches long. About 16 percent of men have an erect penis size longer than 6.1 inches, and of those only 2.5 percent are over 6.9 inches. So how did this particular issue became so… well, big?

“It’s something that men are concerned about; it’s sort of self-perpetuating based on fear,” said human sexuality professor Rick Brown. “I’m not sure how it came or how it started but I can see where it would perpetuate.”



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