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Myths and Facts

There are many things people believe about sex and people’s bodies that are not true. Some of these myths can be harmful.

All women have the right to accurate information about their bodies. We have listed 10 common myths about sex and bodies, and the facts about them below.

10 myths about sex and bodies

Photo of a woman in a wheelchair reading on a laptop.


Myth 1: People with disability are asexual and do not have sex.

Fact: The idea that people with disability are asexual and not sexually active is a common view among people without disability that is discriminatory and not true. Just like all other women, women with disability have a range of sexual desires and differ in the ways they choose to express their sexuality. 


Myth 2: Anyone who dates a woman with disability must be amazing, or very caring.

Fact: People who date women with disability are often held in high esteem. This can come from an underlying attitude that women with disability are not worthy of a respectful romantic relationship. It is called the halo effect and is not accurate. Women with disability have a right to be in respectful romantic relationships. You don't have to be grateful for that right.


Myth 3: The contraceptive pill always makes you gain weight.

Fact: While some women say that the pill has made them gain weight, this is unlikely to happen to most people. The pill can cause a number of other side effects, however, that you should be aware of if you are planning to take it.

Tip: You can learn more about types of contraception and possible side effects on the Safer Sex and Contraception page.

Myth 4: You can catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from a toilet seat.

Fact:
Sexually transmitted infections can't live outside of the body for a long period of time—especially not on a cold, hard surface like a toilet seat.

Myth 5: People who use wheelchairs can’t have sex.

Fact: People who use wheelchairs and who have physical disability can have sex, it may just need to be done differently.

Myth 6: You can’t have sex or get pregnant when you have your period.

Fact: It may be messy but you can have sex when you have your period and lots of people do! It is less likely you will get pregnant while you have your period, but it is possible.

Myth 7: All vaginal discharge is bad.

Fact: Having some clear discharge come from your vagina can be normal, especially in the lead up to your period. If you experience discharge that is clumpy, coloured, uncomfortable or has a bad smell, you should see your doctor.

 

Myth 8: It is easy to tell if someone is gay or lesbian.

Fact: You can’t tell what someone’s sexuality is by how they look, talk or act.  

Tip: You can earn more about how people express their sexuality on our page Gender and Sexuality.

Myth 9: If a woman dresses up to look ‘sexy’ she is asking to be sexually harassed or assaulted.

Fact: Sexual harassment, sexual assault or violence is never the fault of the victim.

Myth 10: Everyone has a right to have sex in romantic relationships.

Fact: Not everyone in a relationship is having sex. Sex is a very personal thing that should be agreed upon every time it happens. Even if you are in a long-term relationship, it is never OK for your partner to have sex with you without your consent.

Get Help!

If you have experienced sexual assault, violence or abuse you can contact 1800RESPECT for counselling, referral and support. Call 1800 737 732 or chat to someone online (external link).

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

Important Resources

Publications
WWDA Position Statement 4: Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Information from WWDA about the rights of women and girls with disability to make decisions about their bodies, sexual health and relationships.
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1800RESPECT
A 24-hour confidential information, counselling and support service. Phone or chat online now.
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External website
Sexuality and Disability
A website that answers questions a woman with a disability might have about her body, sex, relationships, children and more.
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Family Planning Alliance Australia: services
A website where you can find your local family planning service.
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Where to next:

External website
Contraception Australia
A website with all the information you need to know about the contraception options in Australia.
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Amaze
A website with a series of fun, animated videos that give you all the answers you want to know about sex, your body and relationships.
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Centre for Sexuality: Sex Myths
Finding the facts about sex can be difficult. This guide tries to clear the confusion when it comes to sex and healthy sexuality.
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Videos
Women's Health: Not Dumb Questions Series
A YouTube video series answering the questions that young women have but are too afraid to ask.
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The Royal Women's Hospital
A website with lots of useful information and downloadable fact sheets about women's health.
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Your Fertility
A website with resources to help you learn about and track your fertility.
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