Truth: Experts estimate thirty minutes of sex burns 85 to 150 calories. Theoretically, you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose a pound of body weight, so if you were using up 100 calories every time you had sex, you could lose one pound if you had sex 35 times. The problem is this: Most people are not having sex for thirty minutes. Instead, the average duration of sex is closer to five minutes. In fact, the biggest increase in your heart rate and blood pressure during sex only occurs for about fifteen seconds during orgasm, and then things quickly return back to normal.
Myth: There’s a 10-year difference between women’s and men’s sexual peaks
Truth: Men’s testosterone peaks at around age 18, but women’s estrogen levels peak in their mid-20s. Since low hormone levels have been associated with lower sexual drive, some have asserted that when your levels are at their highest, your drive must be at its peak. But if we believe frequency of sex to be the factor that matters most in sexual peak, then there’s no difference between men and women. Sexual desire constantly fluctuates in both, and is related to many more factors than age. Over the course of a lifetime, you will see your sexual desire and activity go up and down many, many times.
Myth: Sex can give you a heart attack
Truth: Having sex more often is connected to having a healthier heart. In one study, men who reported having sex twice a week or more had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The chance of having a heart attack while you are having sex is also very low. The Framingham Heart Study tells us that for men who do not have diabetes or smoke, the chance of having a heart attack during sex is one in a million. What if your heart has already had problems? The reality is that most people just do not exert themselves that much during sex. The physical exertion most people put in when having sex is similar to walking up two flights of stairs.
Myth: Don’t leave socks on when getting intimate
Truth: A sex study in the Netherlands did brain scans on men and women while their partners attempted to give them orgasms. Apparently, it was drafty in the scanning room, and a lot of study participants were complaining about having literal cold feet. When the participants were given socks to keep their feet warm, significantly more were able to have orgasms.
Myth: Oysters and chocolate are turn-ons
Truth: No study has ever shown any sexually enhancing effect from oysters. They do contain a lot of zinc, which sperm need to be healthy, but otherwise, scientists have found no special ingredient to suggest it has any sexually enhancing effects. Several studies suggest that chocolate is tied to lower blood pressure and better functioning of blood vessels, which could enhance blood-flow to the penis (important for erections). Chocolate can also stimulate a small release of mood-boosting phenylethylamine and serotonin into our systems, and you could argue that people who are in better moods may want to have more sex. That said, if a food makes a person thinks about sex—whether because it resembles intimate anatomy, as oysters might, or even because the person believes it might be an aphrodisiac—then that food might become an aphrodisiac. That’s the placebo effect.
Myth: Men think about sex every seven seconds
Truth: A recent study from Ohio State University published in the Journal of Sex Researcheffectively debunks this myth. Looking to tally up the true number of times men (and women!) actually thought about sex in a day, the university had 238 students keep track of their thoughts about food, sex, or sleep for one whole week. Men think about sex far less than you think, averaging about 19 sex thoughts per day instead of the nearly 8,000 thoughts per day that would be netted if men were really thinking about sex every seven seconds. Thoughts about food came in close second, with 18 thoughts per day, while sleep garnered 11 thoughts per day. As for the women? They averaged about 10 thoughts about sex, 15 thoughts about food, and 8.5 thoughts about sleep per day.
Myth: All women experience orgasm through intercourse
Myth: Sex can affect sports performance
Truth: This theory has been debated for many years, with coaches often telling their athletes to abstain from sex before big games or competitions. According to CNN, the idea comes from Ancient Greece and traditional Chinese medicine, with the prevailing thought being that not having sex would help “increase frustration and aggression, and boost energy.” However, recent research suggests sex has little impact on athletic performance—and could actually have a positive effect instead.
Myth: Having sex can cause a pregnant woman to go into labor
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This myth is so pervasive that even doctors will tell their full-term patients to give it a try. But not only does having sex near your due date not start labor, it may actually delay it, according to a study done by the Ohio State University Medical Center. Researchers found that women who were sexually active in the final three weeks of their pregnancies carried their babies an average of 39.9 weeks, compared to 39.3 weeks for women who weren’t having any sex. It’s not a huge difference but when you’ve got a seven-pound bowling ball pressing against your lungs, every day counts!
Myth: Women take longer to get turned on than men
“Women heat up like Crockpots while men are like microwaves” is a popular way to explain the supposed difference in how the genders respond to foreplay. The truth? It turns out that there is absolutely no difference in the time it takes men and women to reach peak arousal, according to a study done by Mc Gill University. The researchers used thermal imaging rather than relying on self-reporting, which may mean that if you think it takes you a lot longer to get turned on than it does your husband, the cause may be more mental than physical.