We get the pros to debunk some of the myths we've been fed over the years. Perpare for the truth, the whole truth!
At Cosmo, we pride ourselves at being the ultimate sex experts, but sometimes, even we can muddle up fact with fiction. It's easy to figure out why that happens-with so many people refusing to talk honestly about sex ('He was so small...I can't believe we had it going all night... seriously, he came, like, multiple times...') it's hard to arrive at concrete answers that really tell us what's for real and what's a figment of an over active imagination.
Over the years, we've heard enough 'totally-out-there' myths that have become conversation starters, spilling over to 'Oh my God' moments. Time we did something about distinguishing fact from fiction. So we rounded up the experts and asked them to put to bed 12 of the most common myths about men and sex. What lies between the sheets comes out in the open here...only in Cosmo!
Big Feet= Big Penis
We know television has a tendency to make everything seem larger that life, and when it comes to sex, Hollywood takes it a step further by giving us huge doses of loose facts that translate into generalised myths.
Big feet means he's well endowed is one of the many popular ones that does the rounds on a night out with friends. But does a large shoe size really translate into an XL package? According to Dr Sanjay Chugh, that's completely untrue. "Your body size, size of limbs, thumb, face, shoulders or any other part of the body has nothing to do with the size of the penis," he says. A study at the University College London also showed no relationship between the two measurements and a report called Can Shoe Size Predict Penile Length? arrived at the same conclusion. So it's settled then-no more asking for random shoe sizes!
Men want sex all the time
According to Radhika Chandiramani, if men really did think about sex all the time, where would they find the time to worry about their promotions, cars, house loans, latest gadgets, bills, or who would win this week's football game? Of course they want sex, she explains, and women do too, but no one wants it all the time!
"It's an exaggerated myth," adds Dr Chugh, who says that while a man may want to think and fantasise about sex often, the demands of one's personal, social and professional commitments can play spoilsport, making it impossible in the real world. Believing this myth can also be harmful to your twosome. Expecting your man to act like a sex-crazy teenager puts pressure on him-and leaves you feeling hurt and insecure when he's too tired or stressed to be 'in the mood'. "Different people want different amounts of sex," explains Dr Prakash Kothari, and that depends not on just on sexual attraction, but also on age (a 17-year-old who's just landed his first girlfriend may want sex 24-7), libido levels, and lifestyle.
The average erection is eight inches long
Blame this one on porn where every single man is Mr Big (and every woman, willing!) In reality, experts say the average penis length is somewhere between four to six inches, erect! According to Dr Kothari, "Penile length and width differ from one man to the other." And a smaller penis doesn't equal less pleasure, either. "The sexual length of the vagina is about six inches long and only the outer region is packed with sensations," he says. "An erection which starts at two to three inches is enough to stimulate that area. Bigger the better is Godzilla logic; what really matters is strength and technique-after all, an archer is known for the way he throws his arrow." Dr Sameer Parekh and Dr Chugh agree, emphasising more on a guy's technique, than size.
Men Think About Sex Every Seven seconds
R-U-B-B-I-S-H, say our experts. "Whichever survey arrived at this conclusion is a bit like a bikini," laughs Dr Kothari. "It reveals only half the truth and never the vital statistics!" Radhika finds the myth ludicrous. "Whoever came up with that one?," she asks. "Research shows that almost 50 percent of men don't even think about sex as often as once a day, while the other half may think about it several times a day. And that's still several times a day, not every seven seconds!"
Men can't fake it
On the contrary, men definitely can fake an orgasm if they want to, say our experts. More proof the Great Male Survey carried out by askmen.com in 2008 revealed that 23 percent of respondents have faked an orgasm more than once. How is that possible? "As long as you're wearing a condom and put on a convincing performance, it's not so hard," reveals Karan, 31, who confesses to have faked an O a few times. But why would a man need to fabricate pleasure? The reasons could be many, including exhaustion, too much alcohol, and having too much sex too quickly (most men can only climax once or twice during a session before their energy is spent). According to Radhika, sometimes intercourse goes on too long and men feel under pressure or don't want to hurt their partner's feelings. Some anti-depressant medications also result in delayed ejaculation and performance problems. If you believe your partner occassionally fakes it, don't worry too much. If it's happening often, take a close look at your relationship- are you having problems that need to be addressed? A gentle, non-offensive chat may help in this situation.
Men don't enjoy foreplay
While a small majority of men will deny it ("They're worried they may get too turned on and ejaculate quickly," says Radhika), the majority of men really do enjoy foreplay. In fact, a recent survey revealed that a whopping 70 percent of men wished their partners would spend some more time 'warming them up' rather than just going straight to the finale. According to Dr Kothari, "Foreplay is to sex what warm up is to exercise-easy to omit, but crucial for best results. When it comes to sex, it's more pleasurable travelling than arriving anyway!"
That said, men have different pre-sex play needs than women. For instance, men are visual creatures, so just seeing you in sexy lingerie is a surefire libido trigger. Other things that get him excited include hearing how excited you are getting, and a little teasing before getting to main course.
Men like women with perfect bodies...
"It's the bond a couple shares and the quality of sex that eventually makes it satisfying for anyone, rather than the partner's physical appearance," says Dr Chugh. And what's a 'perfect body' anyway, asks Radhika. "The idea of 'beautiful' changes every few years," she says. "It moves from skinny to voluptuous, petite, tall, leggy, buxom...it's like saying women only like men with a perfect butt!" Plus, men are not as critical of our bodies as we are. "They admire the whole package," says Sheenah Hankin, author of Complete Confidence. A fun, sexy attitude is a bigger turn-on than a model-esque figure, any day!
Every man's sexual fantasy is a threesome
While threesomes often top the list of male fantasies, not every guy is keen on some mÃ©nage Ã trois action. "In fact, some might even be repelled by the idea," says Dr Kothari. "There are as many sexual fantasies as there are men," adds Radhika. "And like with any other fantasy, the levels of interest vary from person to person." Everybody has fantasies, concludes Dr Chugh. Some are carried out, others aren't and ultimately, they simply signal one's creative and imaginative ability.
Men are more promiscuous than women
Part truth, part not. According to Dr Kothari, men are poly-erotic, which means that they may find themselves attracted to different women-the star in a porn flick or a hot girl they see in a party, for instance. "Women, on the other hand, are a little more emotional when it comes to sex, and may prefer to have just one partner," he says. "But that doesn't mean men are more likely to cheat or have more partners than women. Out of 50,000 cases I have treated, there is absolutely no evidence to prove that." In fact, if some men tend naturally towards promiscuity, the same is true for a lot of women. New research published by Cell Press found that apart from some polygamous societies, women are just as likely to seek out just as many partners as men.
There's another scenario to consider: when polled about their sex lives, men tend to overestimate while women underestimate, due to societal pressures. It's also totally dependent on how attractive the people in question are. An attractive, sexually liberated woman is likely to have had more partners than a not-so-fab-looking guy of the same age, for instance.
Men reach sexual peak at 18, and women at 28
There is no one answer to this one. Some experts maintain that testosterone levels peak at 18 in men and women's oestrogen hits its high point in their mid-20s, while others claim all human beings see a surge in hormones' production when they hit puberty. Either way, age doesn't determine how good the sex is because peak hormones and peak sexual performance are not the same thing. "Heightened sexual pleasure is something an adult can aspire for in a long-standing relationship, and may achieve at any point in his or her life," says Dr Parekh, since great sex depends on skill, experience, and levels of attraction. Bottom line: feel free to try for a personal best-no matter the age.
Men may get addicted to porn
According to Radhika, occassionally surfing a sexy website, watching a pornographic movie, or looking at revealing pictures isn't an addiction. "It only turns into an addiction when there is an overuse or abuse of pornographic material, and the habit takes over your entire life." The symptoms of porn addiction are similar to any other: loss of control, compulsive seeking out of the habit despite the consequences, needing higher levels of stimulation over time for satisfaction, and experiencing withdrawal if access is denied. That said, anyone, not just men, can get addicted to porn, says Dr Chugh. "Addiction is gender agnostic, be it to porn, alcohol or drugs," he says. But the risk is low. Only 1 percent of all people who check out Internet porn will become addicted. Another interesting bit of info: a recent research found that 38 percent of addicts are married.
Having sex before a big event can affect his performance
Untrue! Whether he is participating in a boxing championship game or giving the speech of a lifetime, there's no proof that having sex before the 'big day' will ruin performance. In fact, it might even improve it-researchers have discovered that individuals actually perform better the day after sexual activity! "A feel-good sexual encounter relaxes and refreshes the body, nixing anxieties and nervousness," says Dr Sanjay Chugh. Dr Kothari agrees: "I know several atheletes who have had sex right before a big game and have brought home a gold medal." Things that do affect performance, though, are a poor night's rest. If he has a big day ahead, it's important that he gets to bed early and gets his 8-hours. As a former New York Yankees manager is reported to have put it: "It's not the sex that wrecks these guys, it's staying up all night looking for it."