Four sex myths you can’t ignore

Meghan Bogardus

You hear about it in songs on the radio, see glimpses of it on TV or in the newest film or maybe even have a class about it: sex.

So why is the aforementioned topic, which is so widely scattered across media branches, a taboo topic in daily conversations?

Chelsea Morgan, a freshman early childhood development major, has a theory.

“People are embarrassed to talk about it,” Morgan said. “They are afraid to ask questions, even in sex ed.”

So we’ve decided to put together a list of common sex myths and their truths – just in case you were afraid to ask.

The myth: You can’t get pregnant during your period.

The truth: Donna Bernert, assistant professor in the health education and promotion department, said it all depends upon the woman’s cycle.

“It depends on if the bleeding is actually related to her period,” Bernert said. “Because if it’s not, she’s not technically getting pregnant while on her period.”

The numbers: According to information on, a woman ovulates about two weeks before her next period. Eggs can live for up to three days, and sperm can live for seven. It is possible to get pregnant seven days before ovulation and up to three days after it.

The myth: You can’t get pregnant while having sex standing up or in the shower or a bath.

The truth: Having unprotected sex, standing up or otherwise, can lead to pregnancy. According to an article titled “Sex Myths” on the Men’s Health Web site, having sex in water can kill sperm, but there will still be enough left to result in pregnancy.

The feedback: “I think that’s stupid, because it is possible,” said Barbara Farrell, a freshman American sign language interpretation major. “I think these theories get started because people just want to have sex without getting pregnant.”

The myth: Condoms are 100 percent safe.

The truth: The statement that the only safe sex is no sex remains true. Condoms are highly effective, but they can always break if not used correctly. Bernert said what you do if the condom breaks depends upon the relationship you are in.

“If you are in a monogamous relationship where both of you have been tested for HIV, and you aren’t worried about pregnancy, do nothing,” she said, “Otherwise, if you think you are pregnant, you might get the morning after pill.”

The number: According to, every year, “only two out of every 100 couples who use condoms consistently and correctly will experience unintended pregnancy.” The site also states only 2 percent of those who use condoms correctly became infected with HIV.

The myth: Missing one pill doesn’t matter.

The truth: According to, a pill is “missed” if it is taken more than 12 hours late. If this happens Bernert suggested you take your pill as soon as you remember. If two or more are forgotten in a row, you should not have sex, or you should use an alternative source of birth control.

The numbers: If taken on time, the American Pregnancy Association says that pills are 99 percent effective. This drops to 93 to 97 percent when pills are missed.

Contact features correspondent Meghan Bogardus at [email protected].