Myths and misconceptions about sexuality and gender

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Myths about Menstruation.

  • A woman is impure during menstruation. 
  1. She cannot take a bath or a head bath.
  2. She cannot cook or enter the kitchen
  3. She cannot go out and mingle in public settings.
  4. She should only eat little food or vegetarian food.
  5. She should douche her vagina with water and turmeric powder after every period.

Menstruation looks alarming and a little messy the first time. But it is NOT A SIN. IT IS A BIOLOGICAL PROCESS LIKE BREATHING OR PASSING STOOL THAT OCCURS DURING TEENAGE AND CONTINUES INTO THE MIDDLE AGES. It does not make a woman impure. It is not unsafe, infectious or contagious, and it does not require the woman to practice any of the above restrictions.

period stigma

Myths about Menopause

  • Menopause is the death of sexual urges

No, it isn’t. It means you can no longer get pregnant because your ovulation periods stop. But you can still have a healthy and satisfying sex life.

  • Menopause makes a woman mentally disturbed

No, it doesn’t. It causes hormonal fluctuations which may sometimes lead to increased emotionality. But the woman is mentally quite sane and functional. The only thing is she may be slightly more emotional, but that does not warrant the use of mentally disturbed.

Myths about Masturbation

  • Masturbation is wrong and shameful

Sexual urges are normal, and they naturally create a need for sexual release. It’s just like having hunger urges and needing to release those urges by eating. If masturbation is wrong and shameful, then so is eating.

  • Masturbation is only done by men

Masturbation is the act of providing sexual release without a partner by stimulating your sexual organs (penis, vagina or intersex organs). It can be done by males, females and intersex individuals to the same effect.

period stigma 1

Myths about Gender

  • Boys can be free, while girls need to be sheltered and protected

A man’s upper body is stronger than a woman’s, and a woman’s lower body is stronger than a man. On average, the man is significantly stronger but not enough that he can do much more than the woman in the event of danger. Also, women have stronger immune systems and higher distress tolerance than men.

  • Boys can go after careers, while women should attend to the household

Men and women are both equally capable of having accomplished careers and doing household chores. Neither needs to be given any preference over the other in those respects.

  • Boys must not show feelings and must be “strong”

Men have just as many emotions as women. Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, you will need to spend some time expressing your emotions before you can move on or get to work. Repressing emotions isn’t healthy for men or women. Neither is going overboard with emotions.

  • Girls must be accommodating, while boys can be aggressive and competitive

Once again, men and women are created equal in terms of their ability to compromise and express emotions. Neither is more or less capable than the other in terms of showing or controlling emotions. Limitations and standards of acceptability apply equally to both.

  • Gay men are not manly enough and gay women are not feminine enough

Sexual orientation has nothing to do with how masculine or feminine you behave. You can have all the traditional gender characteristics and still have same-sex attractions.

Myths about Sexual Orientation

  • It is a choice

A straight person cannot choose to have same-sex attractions. Similarly, a gay person cannot choose to have opposite-sex attractions. It is true that no gay gene has been found, but sexual orientation is a developmental process that occurs subconsciously during adolescence. Once it is formed, it cannot be changed at a conscious level.

  • Gay people look gay and straight people look straight

Just like masculinity or femininity, looks have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

  • Being gay is a disease

Being gay is a developmental conclusion. That’s how you developed. During your developmental years, you explored same-sex attractions because you felt them more strongly, and so that became part of who you are, and now it cannot change. A disease means that there is something wrong with you. But if you’re gay, there is nothing wrong with you. Even animals show homosexual behaviors. It’s a subconsciously developed behavioral pattern. It’s not wrong or right. It just is what it is.

  • Gay behavior can change

Many in the past have been subjected to gay-to-straight conversion therapies. Most of them could not change, and the ones that did change said that they still occasionally had same-sex attractions. While it’s true that there is presently no evidence for a gay gene, there is plenty of evidence that once developed, trying to change sexual orientation is not only fruitless but also extremely torturous.

  • Gay people are self-obsessed and sex-crazed

Although this does happen, being self-obsessed or sex-crazed is not inherently connected with being gay. It can just as well happen to non-gay people.

  • Marriage cures homosexuality

No, it doesn’t. Marriage is typically the union of a man and woman. It has no effect whatsoever on a subconscious developmental result that occurred during formative years such as sexual orientation. Homosexuals who are forced into heterosexual marriages live in misery and also end up causing misery for their spouses.

It’s okay to be gay!

About the author:

Samarth Shetty has an MA in psychology from IGNOU, and have 10-12 years experience in several specialized mental health fields such as schizophrenia rehabilitation and LGBT counseling. Currently, he practices mainly as a life coach, but occasionally ventures into other modes of service such as seminars, workshops, and internships. He also participates in outreach programs for general sexual awareness, gender equality, LGBT rights, and awareness as well as stigma removal.

Co-author: Kunal

Kunal is a writer and a thinker. He has authored “4 weeks – the beginning”, (which is available on Amazon) as well as co-authored two IEEE research papers. He has also given a TEDx talk titled “childish fantasies”. Kunal secured a degree in computer science and an internship from Silverline Counselling and Learning Center. Psychology as a subject has always been close to Kunal’s heart. To that end, he has switched career paths and is currently a masters student in psychology at IGNOU and an editor/coauthor at

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