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IU Physicians Discuss Common Sex Myths

Dr. Rachel Vreeman

Dr. Aaron Caroll and Dr. Rachel Vreeman have teamed up for their third book busting medical myths. And this time, they’ve taken on myths about sex in a book called “Don’t Put That in There! And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked',” says host Barbara Lewis.

Interview highlights 

Barbara: Men want it more, way, way more. I think everyone has heard that men think of sex every 7 seconds.

Rachel: It’s an impressive number, and, in fact, it's pretty much impossible. If you were thinking about sex every seven seconds, that’s really as much as you’re breathing, most of the time. While people do think about sex and in fact some research suggests that over half of men think about sex at least once a day, or even several times a day, it doesn’t come anywhere close to every 7 seconds.

Barbara: Have they ever measured how often women think of sex?

Rachel: Absolutely. And while statistics do report, slightly lower percentages in terms of how often they’re thinking of it, it’s not nearly as different as you might think.

Barbara: Let’s talk about aphrodisiacs. Oysters, chocolate… and bananas?

Aaron: There’s lots of myths and lots of things that people say that things will make it more likely for them to be aroused. And part of it has got to be some type of placebo affect. And the idea that you think you’re going to be more aroused, that might happen... That's great if it works for you, and it's great if you think it works for other people, but what they're really getting at is: If I gave this to somebody else, and they weren't already predisposed to becoming more aroused, would this make it more likely that they would? And that never works. 

Barbara: You shouldn’t have sex before a big game.

Rachel: This seems to be a really common idea. People have a lot of rules about what their athletes should be doing before a game, or how they should prepare before a big competition. First of all, the average encounter takes far, far less energy than most people would think... It's about the equivalent of climbing two sets of stairs. And no one would say that an athlete should make sure they don't climb up the stairs before a big game. Another worry is that it will somehow use up your testosterone. Or it's a better thing if you let that frustration or testosterone or energy build up because then you might be more aggressive in your game. A study actually suggests that testosterone levels are higher for men who have engaged in sexual activity the night before than men who didn't. 

Dr. Rachel Vreeman is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, as well as the Co-Director of Pediatric Research for AMPATH

Dr Aaron Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine; an editor for The Incidental Economist; and writer for The New York Times' "The Upshot."

More information on their new book: "Don't Put That in There! And 69 Other Sex Myths Debunked".