Hi, my name is Camryn and I’ll be discussing some myths surrounding sexual reproductive organs. A lot of young people are unsure about how their reproductive organs work and how sexual acts can impact the anatomy of the body after they occur. Sexual education in schools doesn’t teach kids the complete anatomical structure of their bodies and its multiple functions. These myths exist for everybody.
The first myth I’ll be discussing is the myth that the vagina stretches after being penetrated. The myth is, “The more sex you have, the “looser” you’ll be.” This is completely false. The vagina is a muscle, just like your biceps, triceps, and quadricep muscles. If you stretch or pull a muscle, eventually it will heal and go back to its normal state. It’s the same concept for the vagina after being penetrated. The vagina is a tightly folded elastic muscle — like a mouth. When sexually aroused, the muscle tissue relaxes (Trabasso). It is also thought that the myth of a “loose vagina” was conjured up to shame people with vaginas for their sex lives. Only two things can alter the elasticity of a vagina: age and childbirth. Frequent sexual penetration will not cause a “loose vagina” (Healthline). The myth of having a loose vagina was developed out of spite for people who have had sexual interactions with multiple partners, rather than one constant partner. This myth has been debunked, but unfortunately still persists.
The second myth I will be discussing is that if a person misses their period, other people may automatically assume that they’re pregnant. Although pregnancy does lead to missed periods, it is not the only cause of a missed period. Physicians have labeled a missed period amenorrhea and have categorized it into two different categories: primary and secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea is when someone hasn’t started their period yet by the age of 15. Secondary amenorrhea is when someone who’s had their period stops getting their period for three months or more (Healthline). There are in fact several times in a person’s life when irregular periods are to be expected besides pregnancy: puberty (when a person first starts having periods), while breastfeeding, and perimenopause (the transitional stage before menopause). There are often underlying reasons for people not having their period on time or “on schedule”. A number of underlying causes can include: stress, being underweight, obesity, PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), hormonal birth control, chronic diseases, thyroid issues, or early perimenopause (Flo Health). There are some concerns that come with a period that has been missed for a few months, along with other symptoms — but it doesn’t automatically mean someone is pregnant. However, if you think you may be pregnant, you can take an at-home pregnancy test or visit your local health clinic or doctor to get a pregnancy test.
The last myth that I will address is the myth that erectile dysfunction and infertility are the same for people assigned male at birth (AMAB). This is untrue. Erectile dysfunction is when someone has difficulty getting and maintaining an erection for sexual activity. Infertility is the inability to reproduce. Erectile dysfunction and infertility can be typically associated with people with penises who are older, but it can occur in a much younger demographic as well. There are a few theories as to why a younger demographic may have erectile dysfunction: drug use and smoking, depression and taking antidepressants, an unhealthy relationship with porn or performance anxiety, sedentary lifestyle, anxiety, stress or heavy consumption of alcohol.
Just as erectile dysfunction has many causes, infertility does as well: diabetes/cystic fibrosis, alcohol and drug abuse (especially steroids), an anatomical or physiological change associated with a genetic disorder, injury or surgery to testicles, exposure to radiation, a condition that causes sperm to back-flow into the bladder called retrograde ejaculation, or gonorrhea, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases. Another possible cause of infertility could occur for transgender, non-binary, or other gender expansive individuals taking “feminizing” hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which could include anti-androgens, estrogen, and potentially progesterone (Cleveland Clinic). The “feminizing” HRT may also cause erectile dysfunction in the user. Taking testosterone is another form of hormone replacement therapy that can also work as a treatment for infertility.
Despite erectile dysfunction being a possible symptom of infertility, it does not mean they are the same thing. Each condition has a range of potential causes, which may overlap. If you have concerns about erectile dysfunction or infertility, I would consult your personal doctor about what you’re experiencing and what might be the source(s)
There are many more myths that exist about reproductive anatomy — so many that this blog could go on forever! I’m just here to let you know a few popular ones that are well-known, and that I’ve heard myself. I hope you’ve become a little more informed as a reader and spread this knowledge to other people who might think these myths are true.