The top 5 sex myths we still think are true

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Most of us are past our confused teenaged beliefs that 'you can't get pregnant standing up' or that 'his balls will go blue.' But when it comes to a thorough sex education, many Brits have felt left in the dark, leaving the nation believing in many myths and falsehoods about sex, pleasure and their health well into their adult lives.

In the hope of helping Britain gen up on sexual health, Lovehoney ran a survey, revealing the most prevalent sex myths in the UK. Judging by the research, it’s clear there's no shortage of sexual misinformation circulating.

Here, sex expert Ness Cooper from The Sex Consultant debunks the top 5 most commonly believed sex myths in the UK.

Love and comfort. Happy african-american young couple lying in bed and kissing, free space
These two don't believe in silly myths. (Getty Images)

The top 5 sex myths believed by Brits

1 ‘Erectile dysfunction is a normal part of growing older and men have to learn to live with it.’

Man in black jeans covering his crotch with his hands, closeup. Men
Is erectile dysfunction inevitable? (Getty Images)

Believed by a third (34%) of Brits

"Almost 70% of men / those with penises will experience erectile dysfunction by the time they are 70," says Cooper. "However, we shouldn’t classify it as normal, as there are many reasons it can affect an individual and these can vary from person to person.’

‘Anyone experiencing erectile issues should see a medical professional to find out the cause. Once the cause of erectile dysfunction is found whether that is psychological, physical, or a mixture of both, there are many treatment methods to help manage symptoms."

Never assume a sexual problem is inevitable - talk to your GP and allow them to help you find a solution.

2 'Sex shouldn't be painful for women if they are attracted to their partner'

Shot of a mature woman looking upset with her husband in the background
Is there something wrong with you? (spoiler: no) (Getty Images)

Believed by over 1 in 4 (27%) Brits

"Being attracted to your partner doesn’t stop sex from being painful if you’re experiencing pain during penetration," says Ness Cooper. "If you are attracted to your partner it can mean you become aroused more easily when thinking or being with them, and this can lead to producing more vaginal lubrication naturally, but may not solve intercourse related pain.

"There are many reasons someone may experience pain during penetration but whether or not you’re attracted to someone isn’t one of them."

Menopause, illness, tiredness and physical and mental health all play a part. See your GP if pain during sex is an issue.

Read more: 11 of the best sex tips we learned from sex educators, therapists, and a dominatrix in 2021

3 'You can tell when you have a STI'

You can't always see an STI before it's too late. (Getty Images)
You can't always see an STI before it's too late. (Getty Images)

Believed by 1 in 5 (21%) Brits

"Sometimes STIs can go unnoticed due to the incubation time before they really become active in the body," says Cooper.

"Even when an STI is active and showing up on test results, there aren't always symptoms. This is why it’s important to get tested regularly as we can’t always tell if we have contracted one."

Many such as chlamydia have no visible symptoms, particularly in the early stages. Never assume that a new partner is free of STIs just because you can't seen any signs.

4 'You can get an STI from a toilet seat'

Part of woman on toilet
Are you sure you know the facts? (Getty Images)

Believed by almost 1 in 5 (18%) Brits

"STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) don’t spread on toilet seats, and ones that spread through contact of bodily fluids don’t survive outside of the body long enough to be transmittable through sitting on a toilet seat," says Cooper.

"The fear of STIs being transmitted via toilet seats has been going around for far too long."

STI are transmitted through skin contact or penetration with an infected person.

Read more: 'Sex is much better when you're younger,' and other myths

5 'Pulling out is an effective method of contraception'

couple in bed
"Honestly, I read it on Instagram..." (Getty Images)

Believed by 15% of Brits

"Whilst precum often only contains trace amounts of active sperm there is a possibility someone could get pregnant from penetration that has pre-ejaculation," explains Cooper. "This means that the pull-out method isn’t always reliable."

Many babies exist to prove this point - so always use contraception if you don't want a pregnancy.

The survey also found that....

  • Almost 1 in 3 Brits do not seek sexual health advice from any source

  • One in ten men get their sexual health advice from porn

  • Understanding the importance of communication is the number one thing Brits wished they had learned about sex sooner.

  • Feeling sexy in your own skin was one of the most popular lessons women wished they’d learned sooner with a third (33%) agreeing compared to only 19% of men.

Watch: Sex tips for a straight woman from a gay man