Most of us have been talking (or rather, whispering and giggling) about sex since that first middle school health lecture. I vividly remember the riveting day in “Family Living” (Ohio likes euphemisms) in fifth grade during which our teacher told all the girls in my class about periods and sex. Like many 10-year-olds, I absolutely thought sex was kissing naked until this very day. So, when my teacher dropped the bomb that is how people actually have sex, I was floored.
PEOPLE DO THAT????? HOW??? WHY!!!
After that day, I spent a very long night on Urban Dictionary. And here we are now, at the beginning of an article I wrote about weird sex things. Ah, how time flies.
Aside from the utter shock of the act of sex, there’s still a lot of misconceptions floating around about what happens in the bedroom. And while they all might not be as shocking as kissing naked versus what actually happens, they could be getting in the way of your own pleasure. Keep reading for all the things they forgot to actually explain in health class.
When I asked my closest friends what their biggest sex questions were, “squirting” was high on the list. What is it? Why do we do it? Am I just peeing all over my bed when I do it? How do I do it? There are a lot of questions to answer. So, first of all, a basic definition: according to a 2015 study on squirting and sex, researchers described squirting as “the discharge of a noticeable amount of fluid from the urethra.”
The why? Because you’re super aroused. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about because it’s actually a good thing. However, it also doesn’t have to be a measurer of arousal either. Studies suggest 10 to 54 percent of women squirt, meaning there are definitely women who will never experience this, and that’s OK! Squirt or no squirt, your sex life can still thrive.
According to Pornhub (yeah, they do research — don’t worry, totally SFW links ahead), women actually search for squirting videos 44 percent more than men. There are many reasons for this, but I predict it’s likely for their own personal research. However, ladies and people with vaginas, squirting isn’t what it looks like in porn. A 2013 study showed that women ejaculate from 0.3mL of fluid to over 150mL, with 29 percent of women ejaculating 60mL. Basically, women aren’t necessarily squirting geysers of fluid out of their vaginas in the same fashion that you see in porn.
There are also many questions surrounding what exactly this fluid even is, and studies have shown both ways. One study found that when women emptied their bladder before sex and squirted that their bladder filled back up with fluid once they were aroused and was emptied after squirting. But it doesn’t mean that you just peed all over your bedsheets like it’s summer camp ‘98 again. The same study tested the fluid, and while it contains urea, creatinine, and uric acid (which are all compounds found in urine), it also contained secretions from the Skene’s glands, which is often described as the female version of the prostate. Science speak aside, this study found that the fluid contains the same compounds found in urine but also secretions from arousal.
A lot of women are afraid or embarrassed to try squirting because they assume it’s the same as wetting yourself. While the jury is still out on if it’s urine or not, it’s safe to say that it isn’t the same thing at all.
2. The clitoris + why it’s the most magical organ on the earth
I could write an entire article on the magic that is the clitoris because there’s so much to say. While all we can see on the outside is the clitoral hood, there’s so much more to this organ than meets the eye. The clitoris extends beyond where you feel it, much like an iceberg, and has nerve endings that extend down the vagina. The pea-sized organ you see on the outside is just a gland and is basically just the beginning of the pleasure you can experience due to the clitoris.
While the ideas of clitoral and vaginal orgasms used to seem like different entities, researchers have discovered it’s actually the same thing. Those clitoral nerve endings extend down into the vagina, so when you feel pleasure from penetration or vaginal sex, you’re just feeling the clitoris through the vagina. Some sex educators even think that the clitoris is the only real way women feel sexual pleasure and that the G-spot is actually an extension of the clitoris. We’ll let you decide your own stance on this idea, but needless to say, clit it or quit it, baby.
3. Anal sex
While anal sex might not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea, it most definitely is widely discussed and often confused. Many people who have never tried it often wonder how it could be pleasurable and instead think it must be painful. The clitoris extends down into the anus, meaning it’s possible to stimulate some of the nerve endings (there’s 9,000 — I told you, it’s the most magical organ!) of the clitoris through the anus. It’s also possible to stimulate the Skene’s gland (AKA the female prostate) through the anus. While it might seem weird and awkward, there’s a lot of pleasure opportunity down there!
There’s also a lot of talk that anal sex has to be inherently painful, whether because you tried it once and it didn’t go well or from the way you’ve heard friends and others discuss it (which is largely biased, uninformed, and stigmatized — but I digress). Anal, however, doesn’t have to be painful if done correctly. The anus isn’t like the vagina (you’re probably saying, “well, duh”); it isn’t elastic in the way that a vagina is, and it also isn’t self-lubricating. This all means that it has to be trained. You can’t just go right into running a marathon never having ran a mile in your life — you’ve gotta practice. Use lots of lube, and go slow. Try butt plugs or finger play to get used to the sensation as well. Like I said, it’s different from the vagina, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pleasurable.
4. What it really means when a partner can’t get or stay hard
While it’s definitely awkward to go through, it isn’t abnormal for a partner to lose an erection or struggle to stay aroused when you’re having sex. Nervousness, certain medications, masturbation, and stress are all factors that can cause anyone with a penis to struggle to get aroused. Instead of getting stressed out that it’s you, ask him to help you get what you want, and try again later.
First, let me say that whoever came up with the name for this certain misconception is on my list. It’s the worst word in the English language, and I stand by that. Now that we’ve established that it’s awkward to type (let alone say aloud), let’s talk about it. If you’ve ever queefed (who hasn’t?), it’s likely you were embarrassed and confused, but here’s why you shouldn’t have to feel either. Queefing happens when air gets trapped in the vagina, getting stuck in the folds of the vaginal canal, and then is released, creating a fart-like sound. It’s definitely unpleasant, but it’s very normal.
6. Why you feel like you have to pee during sex
Squirting and having an orgasm can sometimes make you feel like you have to pee, which is another reason people often that squirting is actually urine. This is because your vagina, clitoris, and vulva is an intertwined system; therefore, when you’re about to orgasm, you might feel it in your urethra. It doesn’t mean you actually have to pee, nor does it mean that you’re going to.
7. Period sex
When we first published our period sex story, there were a few comments on Instagram about how you can’t get pregnant on your period, to which I wanted to climb on Mount Everest with a megaphone screaming, “You’re wrong!!!!!” While it is much more unlikely to get pregnant on your period, it is still possible. Ovulation usually lies in the middle of your cycle, but if you have a shorter cycle than the average 28 to 30 or more days, it’s possible for ovulation to happen when you’re on your period. Sperm can live in the body for up to five days, so you could have sex at the end of your period and actually conceive a few days later when you’re ovulating.
It’s much less common, but using protection is important for this reason if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy. It’s also important for preventing STIs too!