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Sexual Health Facts That You May Not Have Known About

Sex has been around forever, but we're still only just starting to understand it. Perhaps you’ve been told that wearing two condoms makes for double the amount or protection, or maybe, you once heard a rumour going around secondary school that you could still get STIs from dry-humping and grinding.

As part of the Let’s Talk About Sex campaign, we’ve set out to debunk a list of common sex-related misconceptions that have been around for so long.

“The cold sore virus can’t spread to the genitals”

False. It is known that cold sores on the mouth or face are known to be caused by a virus called HSV-1, whilst genital herpes is caused by a variant called HSV-2. However, what people don’t realise is that some cases of genital herpes are also caused by the HSV-1 strain.

So basically long story short, don’t give oral sex if you’ve got a cold sore on your mouth, and if you do, use a dental dam or a condom.

“Wearing two condoms does not offer double the amount of protection”

True. Commonly coined as “double-bagging”, using two condoms instead of one actually increases the chance of pregnancy.

Why you ask? Wearing two condoms creates more friction, therefore making it heightening the chances of the condoms breaking.

It’s much better to just use one at a time.

“You can’t catch some STIs from hand jobs or fingering”

Wrong! Although not very common, it is still possible. STDs such as Trichomoniasis can be spread via hand-to-genital contact, or by sharing an unwashed sex toy.

To add to this, having open wounds or cuts on your hands and fingers can increase the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission.

You can prevent this from happening and practice safer sex by wearing latex gloves.

“You can get STIs from dry-humping and grinding”

This is only true if you’re both naked and your genitals come into contact. So if you do decide to follow R. Kelly’s words of wisdom, make you sure bump n’ grind either with clothes on, or wearing protection.

“Shaving your pubes off will surely get rid of crabs”

Sadly, this is not true. These clingy little buggers thrive anywhere on your body that has hair. So even if you settle on acquiring yourself a new crotch carpet, they can relocate to your beard, armpits, eyelashes etc.

Best thing to do is to treat them with insecticide cream, shampoo or lotion, which you can get from your local GP or pharmacist.

“I don’t have to worry about Syphilis, it’s long gone”

According to a recent medical journal, the number of cases of Syphilis has hit its highest level since 1949. Newly diagnosed cases of this STD has nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016, and with symptoms such as vision problems, lesions, sores and potential death if left untreated.

However don’t panic – it’s quite rare for syphilis to get to such a late stage nowadays.

“HIV can become manageable if treated early”

This is true! The earlier, the better. Even though it is a life-long disease, there is medication available which can help to reduce the viral to almost undetectable levels. This makes it very difficult for someone with HIV+ to pass the disease on to a HIV- partner.

However, it is important to remember that HIV is nothing to be ashamed of, and it isn’t a death sentence. Don’t be afraid to get tested as early diagnosis will put you in the best position if you are HIV+.

Don't forget, you can get free condoms and safety alarms from our Advice Centre, so make sure you grab them. If you have any worries, concerns, questions or curiosities about anything related to sex and sexual health, you can contact our Advice Centre by email or by popping in to the Helpdesk. 

Sex, relationships and contraception are not things you need to feel embarrassed or shy about - the chances are that whether you speak to a medical professional, or staff in the Advice and Support Centre, we’ve heard your query from someone else before!