It is a time of grouping and fumbling and not all of it is in the dark. Much of the cobwebbed confusion that plagues the adolescent years exists in those teenaged minds as they try to come to grips with their own emerging sexuality. Because of the shroud of dark secrecy that has been flung over the subject, half truths about sex tumble over self delusions and jostle with antiquated falsehoods – adding to the turbulence of these troubled years.
Here are the most common misconceptions about sex among teenagers:
Will kissing make me pregnant? Is withdrawal safe enough not to make me pregnant?
Is my penis too small to satisfy my girl and me? Will sniff pf cocaine take my ‘performance’ to the heights?
Question, question… they abound inn those perturbing pubescent years! And neither stretching your imagination nor asking you cleverest classmate provides satisfying answers. Or even the right ones! Below, a compendium of the confounding sexual myths that blight the teenage years and the ‘whole truth’ answers:
Myth #1: Masturbation Is Self-Abusive, A Dirty Word, It Makes You Week and Adversely Affects Sexual Enjoyment
No other form of sexual activity has been more frequently (or secretly) discussed among teenagers, more roundly condemned by their parents and more universally practiced by both generations.
Some teenagers, both boys and girls attribute anything that goes wrong from acne to falling hair, to the fact that they masturbated, thus providing regular punishment for the enjoyment of a perfectly natural activity. What’s worse, ‘weakness’ has also been connected with masturbation. Finally, the semen is thought to be a very precious fluid of which each man has only a limited supply, and therefore its loss, through masturbation, it is feared, may cause them to lose their potency.
Actually, the semen is just a glandular secretion and in a healthy male the testicles are capable of producing semen whenever required. In olden times and even now, in certain communities, girls and boys married at 16 to 17 and cohabitation certainly did not, and does not make them weak in any way. However, a 25 year old unmarried man who masturbates fears physical weakness is an illogical fear.
Many teenage girls, too, suppress the urge to masturbate because they fear it will hurt them, stop menstruation, retard breast growth, make them infertile, rupture the hymen or adversely affect their capacity for sexual enjoyment later in life.
Like boys, some girls also feel that the urge to masturbate is a sign that they are “abnormal” in some way. These disturbed feelings may manifest themselves in the form of psychosomatic symptoms like headache, giddiness, shivering and breathlessness. Some girls even worry, that masturbating could make them pregnant. And if this feeling coincides with missed periods, which sometimes happens in the early menstruating years (because the hormones take time to adjust), they may even get neurotic and contemplate suicide. Sometimes it’s the tension and worry that bring on amenorrhea.
However, the manual stimulation of the clitoris or by any other soft object like a towel does not cause damage. Nor will manual stimulation of the vagina rupture the hymen.
Finally, there is nothing abnormal about masturbation unless it interferes with normal daily activity or becomes an obsession, what is abnormal is its unnatural suppression.
Myth #2: Is It Abnormal To Have Sexual Fantasies?
From adolescence on, fantasies become the order of the day or become the order of the day or are kept a closely guarded secret is the fear of being met with disgust and contempt. In girls, they are at first usually romantic fantasies about dating idolized figures like film stars, pop singers, models, teachers, doctors etc. Sometimes, they are more explicit or ‘bold’ involving situations such as stripping, violent sex and rape.
Among boys, the fantasies are more structured. They may feel mentally “size up”, feel and enjoy the parts of a girl’s body, and they often go the extent of fantasizing the whole sexual act.
Such “pastimes” involve the fantasizing teenagers with acquaintances or friends in intimate sexual activities, which dreamer would find unthinkable in reality, and certainly embarrassing, even hurtful, to reveal. In a girl, any fantasies that involve her father or a father figure are nearly always severely suppressed.
It is natural for teenagers to fantasize about those in their immediate environment (family school, college and neighborhood) because of their limited exposure the outside world. In fact, to some extent, fantasizing is helpful is shaping a healthy sexuality provided the young boy or girl is not obsessed with them to the extent that they interfere with normal life. Sexual fantasies are no more dangerous than any other kind of day dreaming which also shows an upsurge in adolescence.
Myth #3: Genital Discharge Adversely Affects One’s Health
From puberty on, most young men naturally have nocturnal emissions (wet dreams). This often happens when the mind has been sexually stimulated during the day, or on the other hand, because of an accumulation of sperm that need to be released. Often, it is a combination of both. This induces a secretion of the prostate gland, a secretion which serves as a nourishment, a vehicle and a safely cover to the sperm. Many teenagers feel this discharge is abnormal and that it makes them weak and ill. This again, like the mourning of the loss of semen in masturbation, is not called for, since this emission is just a glandular secretion.
In women, the nocturnal emission is not as profuse. It is much less, of a more watery consistency and manifests itself as a slight wetness. Manu girls feel embarrassed about it and some even say they feel weak. Actually, it is sign of a healthy sexuality.
Myth #4: The bigger the pennies/vagina, the greater the sexual satisfaction
Many boys and girls have spent tense, tear ridden early teenage years worrying about the adequacy of their sexual organs. Many young girls, after their first painful, even disastrous sexual experience, spend miserable months or even years try to cope with the illusion that their vagina is ‘too tight’ or ‘too small’ to accommodate the penis. Most fears arise from ignorance about the working of the genitals. As with the male penis, during sexual stimulation the vagina also undergoes definite changes. The muscles of the vaginal opening relax secrete the vaginal fluid which serves as lubrication an, in proportion to the sexual stimulation, the depth of the vaginal cavity increases. Worry (arising from fears about the size of vagina) will not allow these changes to take place. The resulting nervousness and anxiety render the vaginal muscles rigid and impenetrable. This leads to painful intercourse, setting the stage for vicious cycle.
Among boys, most worries concentrate on the length, shape and other dimensions of their penis, the more powerful the sex drive and the greater the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. In fact, an abnormally large penis can cause women more sexual discomfort than pleasure. Also, penis which is small in the flaccid state increase in size for more than larger genitals during an erection. Besides, it is the upper third of the vagina that is most sensitive, and the upper two third that dilates to hold the penis firmly. The lower third of the vagina, the orgasmic platform’, does not dilate and so sexual satisfaction is unaffected if the penis does not reach there.
What’s more, it’s not the vagina that is the primary center for the woman’s sexual sensitivity; it is the clitoris, located at the junction of labia.
myth #5: The First Experience Is Always Painful
Many girls get the impression from books, friends and relatives that the first sexual experience is extremely painful. The fact is that most first experiences are hasty and lack adequate foreplay. This inhabits sufficient vaginal lubrication and makes entry into the dry vagina painful. Besides, inadequate foreplay makes the girl less responsive and receptive and the teenage boy, in an attempt to assert his masculinity or dominance, may use force, making it even more painful for the girl. The vagina only becomes ready to accept penis at a fairly advanced stage of sexual arousal and this is some time after it gets lubricated. An understanding partner can help to minimize the pain to a great extent.
Myth #6: Sexual Enjoyment Can Be Enhanced By Stimulants Like Drugs And Alcohol
Millions of teenage boys have wasted heir parents’ money buying various drugs in the hope of increasing phallic length, and the duration and frequency of the sexual act, in general, to enhance their sexual prowess.
Women are not as interested in aphrodisiacs because, with them, emotions play a major role. Besides, most women see themselves as passive partners in sex. However, some girls do take drugs to increase their desire. The role of most aphrodisiacs is doubtful as desire has much to do with the state of mind. Some, like Spanish fly and mescaline, do work, but their side effects are hazardous, sometimes even fatal.
Drugs apart, many teenagers use alcohol as a sexual stimulant. In small quantities, alcohol does help reduce inhibitions and anxiety and thus heightens sexual arousal. But in larger doses because of its lulling effect on the nervous system, it decreases the sensitivity of the sexual organs and, later, the capacity to maintain an erection.
Myth #7: Menstruation Is Dirty
In earlier times, a menstruation girl was expected to hide herself lest she contaminate everything she touched, get near the crops and damage them or even sour the milk. She was also not allowed to bathe wash her hair, swim, exercise or have sex.
Today, although, these practices are rare in cities, the feelings, consciously and subconsciously, persists, that there is something ‘dirty’ about menstruation. And mothers, who have grown up in ignorance, often manage to convey these feelings even to their own teenage daughters.
The myth about menstruation being ‘dirty’ arises from ignorance, even among educated city dwellers, about what it signifies. From puberty on, every 28 days, a women’s uterus prepares its lining to receive a fertilized egg. If an egg is fertilized, it implants itself in the wall of the uterus, marking the start of pregnancy. If the released egg does not get fertilized, however, the lining begins to shed itself. The falling hormone levels lead to changes in the blood vessels of the linings and the cellular debris is then discarded along with some blood, through the vagina. That is what menstruation is all about an, far from being dirty, it is a mark of womanhood and signifies a woman’s capacity to become a mother.
Myth #8: Kissing Makes A Girl Pregnant
A 15 year old girl was quite unnerved when a boy she was just beginning to like kissed her. Her parents had instilled in her that “associating with a boy in that way” could make her pregnant. When she coincidentally miser her periods (perhaps due to the tension) she got so paranoid she even considered suicide.
The fact is that kissing never made anyone pregnant, if it did, we would have had a population explosion on our hands some centuries ago. Artificial insemination apart, the only way a man can make a woman pregnant is through sexual intercourse with contraception (or without food proof contraception).
Myth #9: A deep friendship with a person of the same sex makes you a home sexual
During adolescence there is a tendency to ‘gang up’ with friends of the same sex before entering into a healthy heterosexual relationship. At this time teenagers also develop a belonging with the peer group than with parents and elders in the family, its natural assertion of an emerging self identity. Many teenagers may then single out one person (of the same sex) whom they identify with, this is a healthy step in the progress to heterosexuality. In most cases, it is a passing phase. Of course, if this interest and closeness does not eventually transfer itself to the opposite sex, and if it is accompanied by aroused sexual feeling towards the friend, it calls for professional counselling.