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Myths around sex

Sex & sexual health | Staying safe

Sex is everywhere around us. On TV, in films, on the internet, in advertising and many people seem to spend a lot of time talking about it. This can give you the impression that everyone is having sex and knows exactly what they’re doing. This isn’t true.

Oct. 25, 2022

There are lots of myths around sex. Here are just a few:

  • Everyone wants to have sex
  • Everyone knows how to have sex and what to do
  • You’re not really lesbian, gay, straight or bi until you’ve had sex
  • If there’s no penetration, then it’s not sex
  • It’s not sex unless you have an orgasm
  • Men are either ‘tops’ (insertive) or ‘bottoms’ (receptive)
  • Butch (‘masculine’) girls only have sex with femme (‘feminine’) girls
  • If you’re trans your sexuality must change when you begin living as your authentic self and begin transitioning
  • Sex between two men is always anal sex
  • Lesbians always use sex toys
  • Only gay men get HIV
  • Lesbians can’t get sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

None of these statements above are true. When it comes to sex, everyone is different, and it’s up to you and your partner/s to figure out what you like together.

Your feelings matter

You might decide that sex isn’t for you right now. You might define as asexual and not be interested in sex at all. Only you know what you’re ready for and what you want.

You don’t have to find a label or decide if you are more ‘feminine’ or more ‘masculine’. All you need to do is Be You. Remember that there’s no need to rush into sex. Take your time and wait until you feel ready.

If you’re worried about how to have sex with someone of the same gender, or you or your partner/s are non-binary or agender, take things slowly and experiment together.

Sex education at school might only have covered sex between people of opposite genders, but don’t worry. Sex between people of the same gender, of no gender or non-binary people isn’t really that different.


If you are not ready for sex, or not comfortable with doing something sexual, say ‘NO’.

The age of consent to any form of sexual activity is 16 for people of any gender or sexual orientation.

For more information, visit our page on consent. Or for advice about sexual violence and domestic abuse, you can contact Galop, the national LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity.

"If someone gets angry with you for saying ‘no’, they are not the person for you."