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We all think we know things we don’t, but when it comes to sex being fuzzy can be sticky. It’s harmless enough to think, say, that green M&Ms make you horny, but if you didn’t realize you had to take the birth control pill every day, misconceptions could lead to conceptions. So, are you ready for a sexual pop quiz? Here are 10 ideas about sex and the reasons they are true or false. Because you don’t always know what you think you know. Ya know?
1. True or false: Women lose interest in sex as they age.
There are myths we project onto others and myths we project onto ourselves. I assumed that my interest in sex would wane over the years whether I wanted it to or not, but during an evening of girl talk about the weird effects of perimenopause, this phrase came up: “Nobody ever told me about the horniness.”
I remember, because I was the one who said it.
I thought for a while that my hormones were ready to go off to an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, but no: they go in and out of retirement like Michael Jordan (and they, too, want to take up new sports). Which just goes to show you that while it’s true that sex drives change periodically throughout our lives, it’s not true that interest in sex has some absolute cut-off point.
Sexuality and U, the website for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, says that after menopause arousal does take longer, lubrication is not as easy and hormonal fluctuations may alter desire, but that doesn’t mean it will vamoose altogether. Some women have an increased interest because they’re unburdened by fear of pregnancy or having young kids to take care of. Our Bodies, Ourselves says the quality of relationships also plays a part in our later-life interest in sex as do some medications. So the bottom line is, it depends on the woman and her situation.
I know…you were looking forward to letting yourself go. Me too. Now I think I’ll still be flirting and asking “How’s my hair?” when I have more wrinkles than an Agatha Christie plot.
2. True or false: If you have heart trouble you should stop having sex.
Well, as luck would have it giving up sex isn’t necessary if you’ve had heart trouble. From ThirdAge.com: “Dr. Dawn Harper explains, “People with heart disease should be able to lead a completely normal sex life. Even people who’ve had a heart attack can normally resume their sex lives within two or three weeks unless there are complications. However, if you suffer from chest pain during sex, you should stop immediately and see your doctor.”
The American Heart Association has a list of tips, most of which involve checking with your doctor and some of which include specifics on erectile dysfunction, estrogen and recovery from heart failure. Of course, you want the green light from your own doctor, but you also don’t necessarily have to give up something that helps make life worth living.
Also that fabulous plot device of guys having heart attacks in the arms of their mistresses turns out not to be not-so-likely in real life. From the AHA: “Cardiovascular events — such as heart attacks or chest pain caused by heart disease — rarely occur during sexual activity, because sexual activity is usually for a short time.”
Dang it. That’s how I was planning to go.
3. True or false: You can orgasm, no direct stimulation required.