IN THEIR COMBINED four-and-a-half years as a health and sex educators in Portland high schools, Bianca Taveras and Amanda McLaughlin have heard them all: an empty Doritos bag can be used as a substitute condom, you can't get pregnant if you do it in a hot tub, douching with Coca-Cola after sex is a surefire way to end an unwanted pregnancy. Although they work hard each week to dispel them, the myths persist, say the educators, because kids today face the same problem getting accurate information that they've always had: Everyone is just too embarrassed to talk about "it." Well, not the Mercury—we're shameless! So hold onto your Doritos bags, kids, and let's set the record straight on the myths that make Taveras and McLaughlin roll their eyes.
FACT: Wearing tight jeans and tighty whities will not lower your load to the point that you're effectively infertile. Smoking lots of weed and drinking excessive amounts of Mountain Dew to harness the so-called "semen-sapping power" of Yellow No. 5 will fail. Also don't ride your bike to the point that it hurts your balls, because that will just hurt your balls—not make you infertile. No matter how much you abuse your swimmers, says Taveras, the little guys are very good at what they do. That means the whole "pull-out method"? Not a good idea.
"It's only about 70 percent effective," says McLaughlin. And, adds Taveras, "It takes a lot of discipline—which most guys, especially young guys, just don't have."
Having sex with the lady on top is also no substitute for a condom or the pill. Gravity is a powerful universal force able to bend the very fabric of space and time, and yet? It somehow fails to stop babymaking. Peeing afterward is also not a panacea against pregnancy.
The most dangerous myths our educators hear concern venereal disease. Unprotected oral and anal sex won't get you pregnant, but you can still get STDs that way. Also, regardless of how well Magic Johnson is doing, HIV/AIDS hasn't been cured.
But perhaps the biggest myth Taveras and McLaughlin hear is this: The pill is 100 percent effective. It's not.
"It's only 92 to 99 percent effective, and human error plays a huge part in that," says McLaughlin.
And if this little exercise has proven anything, it's that when it comes to sex, human error abounds.