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Guest Blog: A Doctor Discusses 3 Sex Myths

Published: May 9, 2013

By: Dr. Jen McHardy

Over the centuries there have been many myths on how to avoid getting pregnant. This includes the ridiculous (i.e. you can't get pregnant if you do jumping jacks after sex) to those that you may be unsure about. Some of the myths that may seem more believable include:

  1. You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex. This is not true; in fact the chance of you getting pregnant the first time you have sex are the same as the 75th time you do it. Some people believe that a) virgin girls always have an intact hymen (the thin skin that stretches across part of the opening of the vagina) and b) this intact hymen keeps sperm out. The truth is that having an intact hymen does not prove that you are a virgin as it can be stretched by other activities (i.e. playing sports) and in terms of keeping sperm out it does not cover the cervix.
  2. You can't get pregnant while you are on your period. Though it is true that your chances of becoming pregnant are higher around the time you are ovulating (the time when an egg is released from the ovaries) it is also possible to become pregnant at anytime during your menstrual cycle.
  3. You can't get pregnant if you have never had a period. Everyone starts their periods at different ages, and though there are other changes that occur within your body around the time you will begin your period, you can not predict exactly when it will start. This is important to remember because before you even have your first period, you will ovulate and therefore be able to become pregnant.

While these three statements are examples of myths on how to avoiding becoming pregnant, there are effective ways of preventing pregnancy such as condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and IUDs (intrauterine devices). However these methods are NOT 100% effective. Abstinence is the ONLY 100% effective method in preventing pregnancy.

Dr. Jen is a family medicine physician. She is a former resident of Florida, and moved to Knoxville, TN for her family medicine residency, which she will complete in June 2013. Her interest in patient education led to her completing her Master of Public Health from Florida International University during her residency. Following graduation Dr. Jen will start a fellowship in emergency medicine. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs, baking, reading, and hiking.


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