Not like the movies: Sex myths on the silver screen

The Hollywood fantasy of fast cars, sweeping romance and great adventure is something we’ve all fantasised about at one point or another.   We know it’s not exactly real life (when was the last time you got to tap-dance with Ryan Gosling?), yet we can’t seem to shake the idea that sometimes life shouldn’t imitate art.

When it comes to sex in real life, are we setting ourselves up for disappointment by copying what we see on the silver screen?

Here are 5 of the biggest sex myths in Hollywood:

1.    No means yes

Remember that classic storyline of guy meets girl, girl isn’t interested and… guy keeps persisting and persisting until girl eventually gives in? We’ve seen it over and over from Ghostbusters to the Notebook, and it’s not a good look in real life.

One of the biggest things Hollywood gets wrong is consent. An enthusiastic ‘YES’ is essential when it comes to any sexual activity, whether you’re hanging out with a longer term partner or hooking up with a new one. This doesn’t always have to come in a verbal or spoken manner. It can be seen through body language and actions like excitedly touching, kissing, or responding to your touch.

The only way to know for sure is to ask. How else will your co-star know you’re ready for action?

2.    Silence is golden

Whether it’s a swelling orchestral piece, some cheesy pop song or even the occasional grunts and groans, your average sex scene is usually lacking in any sort of chat.

But sex needs discussion: Are you both up-to-date with your STI test? Where are the condoms? Faster! Slower! Do that again!

Constant communication with your partner, both verbal and non-verbal, is a great way to figure out your turn-ons and turn-offs and everything else in between.

3.    STIs? Never heard of them

Just because Jack and Rose didn’t stop to ask each other about whether they’d been tested for STIs (a TITANIC mistake!) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either!

With chlamydia being the most commonly reported STI among young people in Australia; it’s really important that sexy talk includes discussions about STI testing, condoms and contraception. Getting the serious business out of the way first means there’s more time for fun.

It’s also important to remember that no matter who you’re loving, STIs don’t discriminate. Condoms are essential for any sexual encounter. They’re the best way to protect against STIs and the only type of contraception that does so.

4.    In case of emergency! Condom breaks, STI checks and ECP

It’s hot, it’s heavy… it’s suddenly the morning after! When was the last time you remember seeing a movie where the main characters had to deal with the aftermath of condomless sex. When it does happen, it’s only to serve the comedic plot of the next Juno or Knocked Up. Sex is messy, so it might not always go to plan. Your condom might break in the heat of the moment, or you might have forgotten to use a condom, putting you at risk for STIs!

But never fear, most STIs are easy to treat, and early diagnosis can help you avoid some of the health issues that can result from an untreated infection.

Contact your local GP, sexual health clinic, or Family Planning clinic for next steps. They can advise you on STI testing and any other preventative measures you might take.   Most services are free or low cost, and all medical professionals are required by law to keep what you discuss private.

Click here to find an STI testing location.

If you’re worried about getting pregnant, the emergency contraceptive pill is available over-the-counter without a prescription at a pharmacy. It can be taken up to three to five days after sex (depending on the type of emergency contraception used).

5.    The great disappearing act

So what’s the number one problem with Hollywood sex scenes? Disappearing condoms!

Condoms in the movies, if they’re mentioned at all, are usually a punch line –balloon animals anyone? Despite the fact that 1 in 5 young people will have an STI infection in their lifetime, and STIs like chlamydia are on the rise, we seem to never see our leading characters take the time to make sure they’re being safe by including condoms in their steamy sex scenes.

Sex in movies appears to be more spontaneous than in real life. It might seem that jumping into bed without a thought to condoms is the reality. But more and more, people are taking care of their sexual health. They’re talking about it, getting tested, and, yes, using condoms! So wouldn’t it be great if a bit of our real life was reflected in the movies


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