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The Prospector

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STDs, sex myths and facts you need to know

Special to The Prospector
El Paso was ranked the No. 6 city in Texas with the highest cases of HIV infection, AIDS cases and people living with HIV.

There’s lots of misinformation about sex, sexual health and sexually transmitted infections. Check out these myths and facts and test your knowledge on sexual health.

MYTH: You can get herpes from a toilet seat.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. So unless you and another person are sharing a toilet seat at the same time, the toilet is not likely the source of the infection. So while you might want to check to see if the seat is clean and dry before sitting, you can leave worries about herpes behind.

FACT: You can get HIV from getting a tattoo or body piercing.

There can be a risk for HIV or another blood-borne infection (like hepatitis B or C) if the instruments used for piercing or tattooing either are not sterilized or disinfected between clients. Any instrument used to pierce or cut the skin should be used once and thrown away.

MYTH: You can get HIV from a mosquito bite.

HIV is not transmitted by mosquitoes. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and elsewhere have shown no evidence of HIV transmission from mosquitoes or any other insects—even in areas where there are many cases of AIDS and large populations of mosquitoes.

FACT: You can get an STI just through oral sex.

During oral sex, you can give your partner your STI and you can get theirs. Not all STIs are transmitted through oral sex, but some are. For example, if your partner has a cold sore (oral herpes) and performs oral sex on you, you could become infected with herpes in your genital areas.

MYTH: You can use a condom more than once.

A condom should NEVER be used more than once under any circumstances.

FACT: Baby oil and Vaseline are okay to use with latex condoms

No. Oil-based lubricants (such as baby oil, Vaseline®, hand creams, Crisco) can break down latex and allow STDs/STIs to pass through. Instead, water soluble lubricants like K-Y Jelly®, Glide®, Aqualube®, most contraceptive jellies, saliva or even plain ol’ water are good lubricants to use with condoms.

FACT: Most women won’t have an orgasm through vaginal sex only.

Only about 30 percent of women reach orgasm through vaginal sex only. The other 70 percent need more manual or oral stimulation to achieve orgasms.

FACT: The average penis size is about 5 to 6 inches.

According to the Kinsey Institute, the average erect (hard) penis length of U.S. males is between five to six inches, and average flaccid (not erect or soft) penis length ranges between one to four inches.

FACT: Anal sex is not an activity just for gay men.

Anal sex is a sexual act that many people enjoy, both gay and straight, men and women. This activity has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Information provided by the American Sexual Health Association.

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STDs, sex myths and facts you need to know