Knowledge of sex and safe sex practice has improved in recent years with improved education in schools, and a more liberal and open approach to the subject. However, there are still endless myths in circulation regarding sex, which can have a negative impact on individuals if taken at face value. This article looks at, and dispels some common myths about sex and confirms some important truths.

Myths

You Can’t Contract Infections From Oral Sex

A common misconception. Some of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) such as Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis can all be contracted through oral sex. Diseases such as HIV and genital warts are less commonly transferred from mouth to genital interaction.

If You Have Something, There Will Be Symptoms

Again, false. One of the main problems of infections such as Chlamydia is that they are symptomless. If they are not discovered for a prolonged period of time, the consequences can become more severe and an individual may suffer from infertility.

The Pill Will Protect Against STI’s

The contractive pill protects against pregnancy, not STI’s. Those who are taking the pill thinking they do not have to use a condom, are misinformed, as they are still susceptible to the range of STI’s that are in circulation.

Having An STI Makes You Promiscuous

People sometimes feel ashamed about having an STI, due to the aspersions that others will cast on them and subsequently do not visit the GUM clinic or local doctor to be treated. Having an STI does not necessarily indicate promiscuity – an individual can catch an STI from having just one partner, if that individual is carrying something themselves.

Truths

You Can Get HIV From A Tattoo Or Body Piercing

Poorly sanitised needles or equipment can transfer the HIV virus from one individual to another. If getting a tattoo or body piercing, it is essential that any equipment is properly sterilised to eliminate the risk of contracting anything. The rates of HIV amongst heroin users is so high because of the number of shared ‘dirty’ needles.

Washing Immediately Does Not Prevent Contracting STI’s

If you have slept with someone with an STI, washing straight away does not prevent you from contracting the disease or infection. This is because the bacteria is likely to have spread from skin to skin during the act of sexual intercourse, and as such washing is a futile exercise.

It is important to have a good knowledge about STI’s and what measures can be taken to minimise the risk of catching them. Furthermore, if indulging in regular sexual intercourse, check-ups at the local sexual health centre or GP can offer both peace of mind and can minimise the risk of any serious complications as the result of a relatively minor STI. Failure to treat any issues can often result in cases of infertility.  The best way of reducing the potential of catching an STI, is to use condoms, whether participating in sexual intercourse or oral sex, and knowing your partner well and their sexual history can also help.