Don’t Put That in There: Sex Myths Debunked

By Playboy.com Staff

Share

Don’t Put That in There: Sex Myths Debunked:

People have more access to medical information than ever before with an abundance of printed and online resources, and yet we still believe “facts” about our bodies and sexuality that are just plain wrong. From doctors Aaron E. Carroll and Rachel C. Vreeman comes a brand new book, Don’t Put That in There! And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked, which takes on these myths and misconceptions and exposes the truth behind some of those weird and worrisome things we think about our bodies and sex. In celebration of the book, we’re running two of our favorite excerpts that examine the commonly held beliefs that men always ejaculate when they climax and that it’s inevitable that guys will cheat. THERE’S ALWAYS SEMEN WHEN YOU’RE SCREAMIN’

One of our friends told us a hilarious story about his early experiences with sex. As a seventh grader, he and a girl would sneak off at school once a week and make out in the back of the school auditorium. It came as a complete and scary surprise to our friend when, one day, this secret session led to a wet explosion in his pants. Although the sessions and the in-the-pants coming continued for weeks and weeks, he had no idea that men ejaculate when they have an orgasm. Someone should have filled him in that there’s always semen when you’re screamin’!

But is that true? Can men have an orgasm without ejaculating? We have to start by saying that the vast majority of men cannot have an orgasm without ejaculating. After all, men are evolutionarily designed to ejaculate. It’s the circle of life, the “coming of age.” There’s no good biological reason for men to orgasm without ejaculation. Ejaculation is the primary reason for male animals to have sex, and most men just can’t help themselves.

Some men, though, do have “dry orgasms.” When a man has a “dry orgasm,” it’s usually because something is wrong. The body is not working the way it should. For instance, men who had a condition called posterior urethral valves in infancy are more likely to have a slow or dry orgasm later in life. This is because there is something inherently abnormal in their urogenital tracts. Older men who have undergone radical prostatectomy are also more likely not only to be impotent, but to sometimes have dry orgasms as well. The prostate makes most of the fluid that goes into ejaculate, and so taking out the prostate gland disrupts the system. Some men having dry orgasms report differences in sex, like they don’t feel the “point of no return” when ejaculation seems inevitable.

Additionally, some drugs are associated with a higher rate of dry orgasm. Studies of certain drugs, like alpha-adrenergic blockers, used for benign prostatic hyperplasia, can lead to dry orgasms.

So the bottom line is that dry orgasms aren’t impossible. This doesn’t mean they are common. It also doesn’t mean you should ignore them. As you would probably guess, men who suffer from orgasm without ejaculation often have a harder time fathering a child.

There are some reports of men who have trained themselves to prevent ejaculation with orgasm willingly and actively. Supposedly they have practiced stopping their urine midflow and strengthening the muscles that block fluid emission from the penis. Theoretically they can voluntarily stop ejaculation as they reach the “point of no return,” allowing them to feel an orgasm without the accompanying release of semen.

But such reports do not appear in the medical literature (at least not where we can find them). So while we declare dry orgasm absolutely not impossible, it does seem unlikely—or at least really difficult—for men to stop ejaculating at will.IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL A MAN CHEATS

The seven-year itch, a popular meme in all kinds of media, refers to the belief that there is a time when men (and sometimes women) begin to wander in their marriages. In a broader sense, however, it refers to the belief that over time, people are more likely to want something outside of their relationship. Along these lines, many people believe that older men are more likely to have an affair.

This myth is reinforced by the idea of “trophy wives.” Men may age, but they always want younger women. So an older man is more likely to abandon his older wife for a newer model.

But is this myth true? Are older men more likely to cheat?

Before we get into this, it’s important for us to consider why this is important. Human beings in relationships can get caught between a number of competing feelings and instincts—jealousy, lust, a desire for passion, wanting to protect their partner or family. The idea of infidelity is a worrisome one for many people, and they want to know the warning signs for an affair. They want to know how to predict one.

A ton of research has looked at what factors might be related to infidelity. Unfortunately, a lot of it is contradictory. Older work pointed to the fact that men were more likely to cheat than women. In recent years, though, that difference has dwindled. These differences also depend on what you define as cheating. If you require intercourse to call it an affair, men may do it more often. If you’re willing to accept other acts as cheating, women are pretty much the same as men.

Religion can be a mediating factor. A number of studies have shown that people who endorse some sort of religious affiliation are less likely to report infidelity than those who do not. Of course, religion might change what people feel comfortable reporting more than it changes what they actually do.

Many believe that education and income can also predict infidelity. Some studies suggest people with more education and who make more money are more likely to engage in affairs. But it is not clear whether this is really due to education or money, or to the fact that people with these things have more opportunities to cheat. Is it the money, or the freedom it purchases?

But most of these factors are red herrings. They are an attempt for us to blame something external for the infidelity that we might see. When we focus on these factors, we can tell ourselves it’s not something in the relationship—it’s something in the person or their environment.

Does age make a difference?

One rigorous study published in 2011 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior looked at this question. The study evaluated 506 men and 412 women who were in reportedly monogamous sexual relationships. They examined a host of potential factors that might be associated with infidelity. Age did not turn out to be one of them. How can this be?

Well, part of the reason is how we ask the question. If you are interested in whether a man has ever had an affair, then it is quite obvious that men who are older will be more likely to answer such a question positively. After all, older men have had more years in which they might cheat. As they age, the accumulated chance of cheating can only go up. But what we really want to know is at what age a man is most likely to cheat. And when it comes to that factor, age is not nearly as relevant.

What is? A host of factors. This comprehensive study found that about 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women had cheated during their current relationship. Most of the results are not surprising. People who are unhappy in their relationships and are somewhat incompatible in terms of sexual attitudes and values are more likely to stray. Such factors are far more important than demographic factors.

And in the end, that makes perfect sense. People who are unhappy or who are mismatched in some way are more likely to cheat than those who are not. So stop worrying about the age of your partner and start worrying about the quality of your marriage. Not only will that reduce the chance of infidelity, it will make your relationship better as well.

Don’t Put That in There! And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked is available for purchase now at all major retailers. Excerpts printed and used with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.


Share

Playboy Social