6 Misconceptions About Sex

How much of what you think you know about sex is true?

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Considering that a lot of our earliest sex education comes from eavesdropping on older siblings or watching HBO at unsupervised friends’ houses, it’s no surprise that there are tons of misconceptions on the topic. 

Blue balls? Broken hymens? Popping your cherry? We’re covering all of the topics you’ve always wondered about but were too embarrassed to ask.

Take, for example, the misconception that sex is a great calorie burner. In one 2013 study, 21 heterosexual white couples from Montreal, mostly in their early twenties, tracked their energy expenditure in two situations: during sex, and during 30-minute exercise sessions of “moderate intensity” on the treadmill. 

Researchers found that during sex, the women burned an average of 3.1 calories per minute, while the men burned 4.2. On the treadmill, the women averaged 7.1 calories, and the men averaged 9.2. In other words, they burned twice as many calories doing a moderate treadmill workout as they did having sex.

Granted, it was a small study that looked at a very narrow demographic. The number of calories someone burns during sex depends on everything from age and body composition to the type of sex they’re having. But as Dr. Debby Herbenick, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the Indiana University School of Public Health, told Insider, “It would be incredibly difficult for people to change sex in such a substantial way that it would be equivalent to a workout.”

In this episode of Misconceptions, join us on an illuminating journey to learn the truth about sex. You can watch the full video above, and make sure to subscribe to Mental Floss on YouTube for new videos every week.