Sexual Health Myths You Should Stop Believing, According To An Expert

It's never too late for a sex ed refresher. Chances are, your last sexual health lesson was in a stuffy classroom during your pre-teen days, where you were given a quick explainer on periods. Or maybe your high school gym teacher did an awkward demo of how to use a condom. Either way, the information you received likely wasn't enough, according to a 2021 study on formal sex education published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.


To fill in the gaps, you might've turned to misinformed friends or misleading porn to try to learn the ropes and understand your own body. But like any other type of health, sexual health isn't something that can be figured out through media and casual (read: not from a doctor or expert) advice alone.

To help you brush up on your knowledge and separate fact from fiction, Glam spoke to Suzannah Weiss, a certified sex educator and the resident sexologist for the pleasure product brand Biird. Now, here are the sexual health myths she says might be putting a damper on your bedroom fun.

Myth: STIs ruin your sex life

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may have a bad rap, but they don't have to be feared, nor will they permanently wreck your sex life. "STIs are all either curable or treatable," explains Suzannah Weiss. "Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis are all curable. Herpes is not curable, but there is medication you can take to prevent outbreaks and drastically decrease the chances of spreading it."


Moreover, these infections aren't so different from the common cold. Weiss notes that most people will have an STI at some point and will likely be asymptomatic. Yep, that means you may have already had an infection and didn't even know it.

However, just because most STIs aren't a big deal doesn't mean they should be ignored. "It is important to treat STIs and discuss them with your partner, but they do not have to interfere with your sex life in the long term," says Weiss. If you're not sure if you have an STI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests visiting your doctor or a clinic and getting tested along with your partner.

Myth: Using toys puts a pause on pleasure over time

Sex toys can boost both solo pleasure and partnered sex, but you may have heard that your favorite bullet vibe or rabbit wand can damage your genitals over time. Thankfully, Suzannah Weiss says this rumor is nothing more than a pervasive myth. "There is no evidence that sex toys will cause nerve damage or decrease your sensitivity. Some people feel temporarily numb after experiencing vibration on their skin (or orgasming, which vibration can cause), but this should pass within minutes," she shares.


Go ahead and pull out your favorite toy and recharge those old batteries, but be sure to shake things up from time to time. Weiss warns that relying on the same method and motion to feel good every time you hit the sheets, especially when masturbating, might make it harder to experience pleasure in other ways. Her recommendation: "If you notice this happening, switch up your masturbation routine."

Myth: It's healthier to remove your pubic hair

Landing strip, triangle, bare Brazilian — no matter which shape or style, pubic hair removal is arguably the norm. A 2016 study published in JAMA Dermatology discovered that a whopping 84% of American women report grooming their bikini area, and the most commonly cited reason was "hygienic purposes."


However, you don't need to shave and wax your way to a "cleaner" vulva, according to Suzannah Weiss. "Many people claim to groom their pubic hair for [hygienic reasons], yet research has actually shown higher rates of STIs and genital pain among those who engage in pubic hair removal," she tells Glam. "Pubic hair serves as a protective barrier to keep out unwanted microbes, and removing pubic hair can leave cuts in the skin where bacteria can enter."

If you prefer the look and feel of less body hair down there, Weiss suggests sticking to trimming instead of shaving and ripping out hair. Use disinfected scissors or trimmers, and go slow to avoid nicking your skin. Alternatively, keep your hair untouched and au naturel. The choice is yours!