SEX AWARENESS: U of C sex myths as debunked by Dr. Louise Milne

Myth: Two condoms provide better protection than one.


We refer to it humorously as “double-bagging.” That is something we do not recommend in any circumstances. The use of two condoms increases friction, which can lead to more breakage, and there’s more slippage. Using two condoms does not give you added protection, it puts you at higher risk.


Some students have been using them when their partner is allergic to latex, putting a sheep-skin condom over a latex condom. If you have a partner that’s allergic to latex condoms, then you should just go with the sheep-skin.





Myth: Vaseline is a good lubricant.


We see regular use of Vaseline, which we do not recommend. Always use water-based lubricants like KY Jelly. Any water-based lubricant can be used. Vaseline accumulates in the vaginal cavity and does not get absorbed, and can create health issues in the female partner.





Myth: Being “sexually active” means having penile-vaginal intercourse.


We get lots of patients who say they’re not sexually active. To them it means having penile-vaginal intercourse. In general, with any kind of sexual activity, there are health concerns related to that and they should be very open with their health care professionals if they want help.





Myth: Anal sex is safer than vaginal sex.


People are engaging in anal intercourse more regularly now. The biggest risk with anal intercourse is mucosal tears. With mucosal tears, there’s the risk of semen to blood contact. The transmission of things like HIV and hepatitis requires semen to blood transmission. People having anal sex are at much greater risk





Myth: Sex in hot tubs is riskier than elsewhere.


The biggest risk with hot tubs is sanitation: how clean the hot tub is. Hot tubs not treated on a regular basis become pools for bacterial growth. We see not necessarily STDs but a very common infection of pseudomonas folliculitis [an infection of hair follicles]. We see the transmission of things like mollescum [a skin infection] which can be sexually transmitted, but can also be picked up in other ways.


The other issue with hot tubs is that they raise the core temperature. Pregnant females are putting their foetus at risk, especially in the first trimester for congenital deformities, from this increase in core temperature. Anyone who is pregnant, should limit the amount of time spent in hot tubs.





Myth: Hot tub sex leads to STDs.


The transmission of STDs, to my knowledge, is not increased if intercourse takes place in a bathtub, a pool, an ocean, a lake. The risk of transmission not increased by being in a pool of water.


I guess you could ask, if you can get pseudomonas on the skin, could you also get it on the penis or vaginal tract. I’ve not seen it on either on the penis or the vaginal tract. It’s possible, but the pseudomonas growing in hot tubs typically infects the skin.





Myth: Hot tub use leads to impotence.


Males would have to spend a lot of time in the hot tub for there to be any issues. But we know for males who have undescended testicles, that if the testicles are in a warm area for any prolonged period of time, that can decrease sperm count.


For females, in terms of their ovaries, there’s no risk I’m aware of.

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