When you were younger, you might have believed a lot of funny stuff about sex—like the idea that you could lose your virginity to a tampon—but now that you're older and wiser, most sex myths are pretty easy to spot. Still, there's the occasional snippet of sexual hearsay that keeps you guessing, and all that misinformation could be preventing you from reaching your peak between the sheets. So we talked to a bunch of folks in the know, and they schooled us on what's true, what's false, and what's just plain wishful thinking when it comes to sex.
1/ Men Reach Their Sexual Peak at 18, and Women Reach Theirs at 28
No, your sex lives aren't doomed to be perpetually out of sync. Men's testosterone levels peak around 18, but hormones are only one small factor in male sexual performance, says Marc Goldstein, M.D., a professor of reproductive medicine and urology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. And women have no set peak. If you and your partner need to sync up your libidos, agree to take turns initiating sex every few days. "Sex at least once a week is like vitamins for a relationship," says sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., founder of GoodInBed.com. And the more you do it, even if you're not in the mood at first, the more you'll want to.
2/ He's Intimidated by Your Vibrator
Wrong! In fact, your guy might be secretly hoping you'll bust out a new "toyfriend" during your next romp. According to a recent Indiana University study, 41 percent of women have used a battery-powered buddy with their partner. And it goes beyond him watching you go wild: "Many men find vibration pleasurable on their penis and other body parts," says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a research scientist at Indiana University and author of Because It Feels Good. If he's game, vary the vibration speed and intensity to find something that revs up both of you.
3/ The G-Spot Doesn't Really Exist
Earlier this year, a French study found physical evidence of this elusive erogenous zone: Women who were able to achieve vaginal orgasm had thicker-than-average tissues between the vagina and the urethra. Whether this area is a magic orgasm-inducing button for you depends on your sensitivity, says Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide. "Lie on your back and have your partner (or yourself) use one or two fingers to stimulate the upper front wall of your vagina with a 'come here' motion," she says. Hit the right spot and within 10 seconds you'll know it. During vaginal intercourse, try rear entry or woman on top—both put his penis in a position to hit the jackpot.
4/ Men Can't Have Multiple Orgasms
The idea that guys get only one shot (so to speak) at orgasm comes from mistaking ejaculation for climax, says Kerner. While your guy does have physical limitations on how quickly he can produce and release sperm, he can still experience repeated peaks of arousal while doing the deed. The trick is to bring him this close to climaxing and then ease off so that he feels the toe-curling contractions of orgasm without ejaculating. "Ask him to tell you when he's about to go over the edge, then gently squeeze the head of his penis to pull him back," says Kerner. "Focus on kissing or stroking another part of his body for 30 seconds—long enough for him to cool down a bit, but not long enough for him to lose his erection—then start up again." Repeat until he begs for mercy.
5/ Size Matters
A bigger penis doesn't necessarily make sex more mind blowing. For one, it won't help a guy reach your (very realÃ¢â‚¬” see myth No. 3) G-spot, and it could actually be painful if his penis hits your cervix during sex. If his length is lacking, stick to positions that keep you close together (such as missionary), have him use a grinding rather than thrusting movement, and wrap your legs around him for extra clitoral stimulation. Got a bigger boy? Woman-on-top positions (like reverse cowgirl) let you control the depth of his stroke.
6/ You Can't Get an STD if You're in Water
You're actually more likely to catch an STD from an infected partner when you're not dry-docked. Water washes away the body's natural lubricant, creating more friction, which increases the risk of tears in the vagina, where bacteria and viruses can enter. Condoms help, but they are easily weakened by heat, chlorine, and oil-based substances in the water (like bubble bath or sunscreen). "If you're determined to have an underwater orgasm, stick to good old-fashioned manual stimulation," says medical sociologist Adina Nack, Ph.D., author of Damaged Goods, a book about women living with STDs. And use a silicone-based lubricant, which will last longer.
7/ It's Impossible to Get Pregnant When You Have Your Period
"You can get pregnant at any stage of your menstrual cycleÃ¢â‚¬”even on the day you expect your period to start," says Sherman Silber, M.D., director of the Infertility Center in St. Louis. Sperm can live inside the body for up to a week, so if you have sex during your period and then ovulate shortly after, his little swimmers could still be hanging around, ready to make sexy time with an egg when it arrives.
8/ Watching Porn Is a Guy Thing
Watching porn is a guy thing. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that looking at erotic images caused a rapid increase in women's electrical brainwave activity that was just as strong as in men's. "Women can use porn to find out what they like and are comfortable with in the bedroom," explains Lou Paget, a certified sex educator. Watch it solo to help yourself get into the mood, or invite your guy to watch your fave film together as foreplay.