Five harmful myths and stereotypes about sex perpetuated in film and TV

We examine some of the problematic things we learned about sex while watching the tube

1. Condoms are always kept in wallets

In almost every movie and TV show that includes a sex scene, the guy is always taking the condom out of his wallet. This is portrayed in media as normal, and the best place to keep a condom. However, Durex (AKA the condom company everyone knows) says that wallets are too warm for a condom as back pocket sweat can dry out the condom. Also, constantly unfolding and folding the wallet can create holes in either the condom itself or the foil wrapper. It’s better to put it in a metal tin, or a card holder.

2. Only vaginal sex is shown

Have you ever seen any sexual act other than vaginal sex being performed in movies and TV shows geared towards young adults? This offense occurs too often in YA novel-to-film adaptations, where you’ll see an obligatory thirty seconds of sex in someone’s bed. Nine times out of 10, the girl orgasms. Young adults who watch these scenes and are influenced by them expect an orgasm from vaginal sex. In reality, sex is made up of awkwardness, foreplay, and the struggle to get the condom on. For most women, vaginal sex doesn’t cut it. They need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. As many as 80% of women have difficulty reaching orgasms from only vaginal intercourse. Teens need to be shown what having sex actually looks like.

3. Taking a girl’s virginity is magical

Dear scriptwriters, a girl’s virginity isn’t some magical entity that requires worship. In every single movie or TV show where there’s a heterosexual couple and the girlfriend is a virgin, she becomes reduced to just her virginity during sex. This happened too often on Degrassi. When the guy finds out that his girlfriend is a virgin, it changes the game completely. He thanks her for letting him be her “first” and keeps on asking her if she’s sure she’s ready to give her “virgin status” up. Afterwards, non-awkward sex occurs in a hotel room with rose petals. High schoolers in movies and TV also always lose their virginity on prom night. This is some bullshit because who still has the energy to have sex after dancing to bad pop music for hours on end?

4. Male pleasure is always the goal

When was the last time you saw mainstream media show a guy going down on a girl? When scriptwriters want some variety from vaginal sex, they write a short blow job scene. To be fair to the director, it’s probably the easiest act for the actors to perform on camera without actually having sex. However, this concentration on male pleasure is unintentionally reinforced as the goal of sex. As a result, women might become scared to ask their partners to perform oral sex. We need to move away from this male-oriented focus and put the spotlight on the sexual needs of women.

5. Lube is never used

In real life, people know that, at times, sex is dry. Trying to insert a penis/finger/sex toy in a dry vagina or butthole can be uncomfortable or even painful without using lube. Lube makes sex both comfortable and pleasurable. In media, though, lube is nowhere to be seen. When a couple decides to get down and dirty, they strip off each other’s clothes and start having vaginal sex faster than you can find lube in your bedside drawer. If the sex is uncomfortable, neither parties express it. Even when they’re having anal sex, lube isn’t used. It’s not realistic to believe that an object can fit into a hole a centimetre wide. In the future, can lube be written into sex scenes so impressionable teenagers can at least have more pleasurable sex?