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Politically Dangerous Myths About Sex

Dr. Lisa Lawless

Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert

cardboard sign, Myths About SexSexual Health & Fake News

It seems that as a culture, we are inundated with superficial sexuality but have an absolute disregard for factual and empowering sexual health education, from toxic sex toys, misinformation about lubricants, and understanding how our very own human anatomy works.

With over two decades in the sexual health field, we have seen many examples of misinformation, fake news, and political witch hunts. Every time, we have to wonder when we, as a society, will finally embrace factual sexual health information?

Popular Myths

Even basic sexual health information is often incorrect on websites that are supposed to be reputable. For example, here are commons myths on the internet about sexual health and related products:

MYTH: Herbal sexual enhancement pills are typically safe and effective and can dramatically increase sex drive and sexual performance.

TRUTH: Most sexual enhancement pills have only subtle effects and, in some cases, are ineffective or may be unsafe. Some are even illegally laced with prescription drugs like Viagra or Cialis at extremely high doses. Learn more about herbs and sex through our Herbs For Sex Guide.


MYTH: If an orgasm for a woman is not achieved through vaginal penetration, it is not an orgasm.

TRUTH: All orgasms originate through the clitoris regardless of where the sexual stimulation occurs. Learn more through our: Clitoral & Vaginal Orgasm Guide.


MYTH: You can tell if a female has not had sexual intercourse and is a "virgin" if her hymen is intact.

TRUTH: Not only is the hymen test incorrect, but the concept of virginity is quite flawed. Please learn more through our guide: The Hymen & Virginity Myths.


MYTH: The full structure of the clitoris was not discovered until 1998 or 2004. 

TRUTH: The entire clitoral structure was found in anatomy books in the 1800s. It was not until 1998 that MRIs were done on cadavers and living subjects, and a theory that it was a clitoral complex and part of the G-spot (G-area) came forward. See our Clitoris Guide to find out the correct information.


MYTH: Products with sex pheromones can help you attract a lover.

TRUTH: Sex pheromone products do not work; learn why through our Sex Pheromones Guide.


MYTH: Ectopic pregnancies (fertilized egg outside the uterus) can survive.

TRUTH: Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy is fatal for the fetus and possibly for the mother. A fetus cannot survive outside of the uterus.


MYTH: The only silicone that is safe to use in sex toys is medical grade and can be determined to be true silicone by using a flame test.

TRUTH: Flame tests do not provide accurate results to determine if a sex toy is pure silicone, and sex toys are rarely made with medical-grade silicone; rather, you should look for platinum cured or post-baked peroxide cured silicones. See our Silicone Guide for what is safe and learn why you should be skeptical if a seller claims a sex toy is medical-grade.


MYTH: Polyurethane condoms are safe to use with all water-based lubricants.

TRUTH: Polyurethane condoms are only safe with certain water-based lubricant brands. See our Polyurethane Condom guide to learn what lubricants are safe and why this is a common myth.


MYTH: Male prostate massage is always healthy and prevents cancer.

TRUTH: Prostate massage can be healthy for some and may reduce the possibility of getting cancer, but it is dangerous if one already has prostate cancer as it can cause it to spread. Learn more through our How To Do Prostate Massage Guide.


MYTH: All elastomer sex toys made from TPE or TPR are toxic and contain phthalates and other harmful chemicals. If they are free of toxins, they are unhealthy because they are porous and can harbor bacteria.

TRUTH: Many TPE and TPR sex toys on the market today are phthalate-free, and not all of them are porous. Some TPE is non-porous and medical grade. Learn more about this through our Elastomers & Porous Sex Toys Guide.


MYTH: Penis enlargement pills work.

TRUTH: There is no reputable documentation of penis enlargement pills that are safe and effective to enlarge the penis. Many companies have tried to sell these products and have faced lawsuits and even jail time. For more information, please see our Penis Enlargement Guide.

Harmful Sexual Products

Even today, thousands of sex toy retailers and manufacturers are not just selling unsafe sexual products but perpetuating myths and spreading misinformation to consumers. Uneducated consumers can't tell the difference between what is true and what is not, and based on the articles and hype they read, they earnestly make decisions that could adversely affect their health.

For examplessee the following articles:

Detrimental Sexual Politics

There are current bills, policies, and laws being passed that discriminate against people and even take away freedom over their own bodies putting their health at risk. It is further disheartening when you see people discussing sexual politics online. So many people are clearly uneducated about the topics they support or debate, leading with negativity and cognitive bias, and who are all fervor with no facts. Meanwhile, you have harmful consequences from such ignorance that kill people because of people's biased disregard for science-based sexual health education.

If you want an example of this in history, look at the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. You will see an absolute disregard for accurate sexual health information, political posturing, hateful and dangerous rhetoric, discrimination, and a tragic and unnecessary loss of life. Yet, here we are, repeating history with willful ignorance and cognitive dissonance. 

For examples, see the following articles:

Historical Amnesia

We often rewrite our history or simply disregard it and take for granted the sacrifices past generations made to pave the way for honest sexual health education and liberties. We stand on the shoulders of our courageous ancestors with arrogance and entitlement, forgetting that we can lose what they fought for concerning our equality, reproductive rights, civil rights, and the insistence of the truth. We fail to make further advancements and continue to suppress, oppress and harm people. Accurate and diverse history is important.

The Lesson Of History Books

If you go to different countries, every single one will have a different slant on the same historical subject. For example, if you were to read a public school history book on World War II in America, you would find it dramatically different from each one found in the schools of Germany, Italy, France, etc. Each country has a different presentation of the same historical event. This is because of both biases as well as the diverse experiences of each country.

Most people assume that when they are reading content, it is either factual or not, but in reality, there are also perspectives to consider because what may be true for someone may not be accurate for someone else. Thus, it is essential as one becomes educated to keep one's mind open to new information because truly educated and intelligent people understand what Aristotle famously wrote, "The more you know, the more you realize you don't know."

The Power Of Emotional Thinking

People will hold on to beliefs that may even be against their own best interests to protect their ego and would rather believe all kinds of lies rather than face that their views may be detrimental to themselves and others. The only way to change minds is to get past the filters and safeguards that people emotionally insulate themselves with to protect themselves from opposing points of view.

Emotional thinking is powerful; just look at how Steve Jobs was so successful in marketing Apple because he used people’s emotions to create a problem and an enemy (IBM) to convince people to buy his products. When you can persuade people to do what you want them to through emotional manipulation, that is when you can sell someone pretty much anything, even politically.

Avoid A False Dichotomy

Beware of when an information source attempts to convince you that you only have the choice of accepting one of two things, with one painted as an obviously horrible choice. This is known as a false dichotomy or false dilemma. Most issues are complex, and there are many different ways to perceive something. A popular example is when someone says, if you are not with me, you are against me. One can be against an idea or belief and still be supportive of someone. There are more than two overly simplistic black-and-white choices. It is a form of manipulation to deal with such absolutes.

Education Based On Headlines & Sound Bites

Often, people will read a headline, read an article or watch a video clip and think they are informed about a subject. They may then claim to be educated about something from minimal exposure to biased news clips that are loosely based on factual information and, in many cases, not based on facts at all. When you start asking them more in-depth questions about a subject they claim to be informed about, they don't have any information more than the headline or sound bite. When pressed for more details, you will often see them comment on something unrelated to create a diversion to try and distract you from their ignorance. They hope that you will not notice that they don't know anything about the topic they are debating.

In these cases, you can redirect them back to the subject at hand and encourage them to look into more detailed information about what they are discussing since it seems they don't have a good understanding of the subject. You can share what you know and discuss how you came to understand these things because being educated is crucial to addressing challenges in our society.

Reactive Vs. Calm

Emotional reactivity will cause people to be impulsive, unable to listen, and defensive. Being emotionally reactive means that our emotions and defenses drive our thinking and behaviors; it prevents us from seeing a situation for what it is.

Reactive people will be problem-focused, while those who are calm will be solution-focused. It is far easier to be reactive and focused on the negative. It takes emotional intelligence, courage, and maturity to be positive, compassionate, and solution-focused. Seek out those who are calm providers of education and look to be a calm influence on those around you.

To reduce emotional reactivity, begin doing the following:

  • Become an active listener by listening to someone speak without letting our own biases, thoughts, and emotions cause us to be unable to hear what they are saying. Once you understand their position, take a moment to explore your feelings and thoughts, and then share yours as calmly as possible.

  • Don't interrupt people. This can be more challenging for those with ADHD; however, it is essential to allow people to speak without interrupting them, no matter the challenges you may have. 

  • Recognize your own reactivity and determine your triggers to avoid misreading people.

  • Practice emotional regulation by diffusing heated situations. Be mindful, listen, and remove yourself temporarily if needed to regain your perspective. If you need to remove yourself to take a break, let the person know that you require some time to collect your thoughts and how long you will be gone. Once you return, be the one to initiate the conversation since you are the one that left the conversation.

  • Compliment someone for what is right about what they are saying. For example, even if the content of what someone is saying is incorrect, you can say things that complement their passion for what they feel is wrong or that you can appreciate their ability to be direct. The number one thing that all people want is to be appreciated, so you can show them that by acknowledging some of their positive qualities.

  • Ask open-ended and calm questions as doing so sends the message that you are trying to understand them.

What Else Can You Do?

Remember that any radical political views often indicate metacognition challenges (difficulty understanding one's thought processes). Thus, it is good to stay open-minded and self-aware. Keep your critical thinking skills sharp by identifying the situation or problem as well as the factors that may influence it. Become educated, identify biases, determine relevance, and remain curious rather than overly confident.

It can be a waste of your time to excessively worry, stay angry or surround yourself with non-proactive, negative people (in person or on social media). Here are other things you can do:

  • Get Educated With Peer-Reviewed Studies

  • Take A Hard Look At Your Biases

  • Don't Live In A Bubble; Take Time To Read Opposing Viewpoints

  • Understand Issues Are Complex, Question Over Simplification

  • Avoid Fear-based & Shame-based News

  • Choose To Support Businesses With Your Values

  • Volunteer for Worthy Causes & Organizations

  • Vote

  • Donate To Worthy & Legitimate Organizations

  • Peacefully Protest

  • Write to Inspire

  • Speak to Positively Motivate

  • Model the Positive Force You Desire In Others

  • Remain Passionate

  • Have Respectful Discourses

  • Practice Self Care

  • Take Breaks From Social Media

  • Don't Get Your News From Social Media

  • Fact Check Before Spreading Disinformation & Propaganda

  • Support Ideas & Values Over Politicians Or Political Affiliations

  • Demand Accountability From All Politicians For Misbehavior

  • Avoid Supporting Policies That Minimize Or Violate The Rights Of Other Human Beings

  • Take Your Strengths & Use Them To Contribute

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